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Articles: Social Studies

Schools in Washington, including Marysville-Pilchuck School District, are required to educate students about the culture and history of the state’s indigenous nations.

Despite recent controversies, most K12 U.S. history textbooks now devote more space to viewpoints outside of the white-European male narrative, historians say.

“The whole approach to historiography has changed,” says Luess Sampson-Lizotte, vice president of humanities & science product development at Pearson. “It is a little broader and more inclusive of multiple perspectives of the American story.”

American history could be in trouble. Decades of reliance on contentious textbooks and rote memorization have driven students away from the subject, despite its influence on contemporary issues.

Evan Long, an NCSS presenter, will speak on the C3 Framework and brain-targeting teaching. One C3 project garnering strong interest is the New York State Toolkit, a free open source K12 social studies curriculum based around the C3 inquiry and on which Long assisted as a graduate student.

Injecting “social responsibility” lessons into social studies classrooms better prepares students to become informed citizens eager to participate in a democracy. Educators will learn about the many ways to reach this goal at this year’s National Council for the Social Studies conference.

DOGONews posts thousands of articles about current events and worldwide news that are written for—and in some cases, by—children.

Eighth-graders have made no academic progress in U.S. history, geography or civics programs over the last five years, according to the latest test results from “The Nation’s Report Card,” released this past August by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Since January, 19 states introduced legislation to require students take basic history exams. (Click to enlarge)

More states adopted legislation this term requiring high school students to pass a U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate, according to a June report from the Education Commission of the States.

Since January, 19 states introduced legislation based on the Civics Education Initiative, a project from the nonprofit Joe Foss Institute with a goal of requiring all high school students to pass a 100-question test on basic history and civic facts prior to graduation.

New York City students are getting a taste of carpentry and other trades through a partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) focused on refurbishing historical buildings.

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar challenged NPS’ New York regional department about five years ago to gather ideas to increase involvement with local communities that were not engaged with urban national park sites.

New York City students may soon learn formal lessons on climate change as a proposed curriculum continues to win endorsements from leading environmental groups.

Two groups, the Alliance for Climate Education and Global Kids, have been encouraging the New York State Department of Education to add climate change to the city’s K12 curriculum.

The effort, centered on Resolution 0375-2014 now before the New York City Council, was endorsed in February by The Natural Resources Defense Council.

Featured in Boston’s new history curriculum, this donated photo from Discovery Roxbury shows an integrated classroom at the city’s David A. Ellis School in the 1930s.

Though known as a cradle of American history in colonial times, Boston was also a hotbed of desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s.

Boston Public Schools has mandated a new curriculum to teach students about the civil rights movement in the city. The History of Boston Busing and Desegregation curriculum marks the 40th anniversary of the decision—which was controversial in 1974—to desegregate city schools and allow children to be bussed outside of their neighborhoods.

Students served by Oakland USD’s Office of African American Male Achievement have increased GPAs compared to their peers.

Oakland USD created the Office of African American Male Achievement to develop a sense of pride and identity in the black male student community, in hopes of raising achievement and eliminating harmful discipline policies. Now, other large districts across the nation are following suit to close achievement gaps and to help this population reach college- and career-readiness.

Social studies teachers are using controversial news events to drive part of the curriculum in today’s classrooms. Above, an educator at last year’s annual conference discusses the importance of primary sources, such as artifacts, diaries and newspapers, to bring history alive in elementary schools.

Studying controversial events can show students how past events and current conflicts are connected. Examining these stories also can foster critical thinking skills and hone the ability to debate. But such discussions can be a minefield for educators trying to navigate touchy topics.

Administrators striving to align instruction with the Common Core have an ever increasing range of curriculum programs from which to choose.

Several new social studies programs focus on keeping students abreast of current and archived news while other materials spotlight America’s history.

Critical Exposure is a nonprofit after-school program that trains District of Columbia Public Schools students to use photography and advocacy to make real changes in their schools and community.

High school students gain skills in documentary, photography, leadership and advocacy as they critically examine their schools and communities, and document issues that affect their lives. The photos are shared with the public through travelling exhibits in galleries and libraries. They are also shown to public officials as a means of advocating for policy changes in the community.

Louisiana students will be learning more about the Battle of New Orleans, the final major battle in the War of 1812, this school year.

Students in Louisiana will commemorate the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans with a new curriculum created by the education team at the state’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

High schools will soon have access to a free curriculum based on the Academy Award-winning film and memoir 12 Years a Slave.

The National School Boards Associaton is partnering with New Regency entertainment, Penguin Books and the filmmakers to give public high schools copies of the 2014 Best Picture winner, the book it’s based on and a study guide. Talk-show host Montel Williams is coordinating the distribution of the movie.

The town of Hopkinton, Mass., has served as the starting point for Boston Marathon since 1924. Now, Hopkinton Middle School is incorporating the town’s historical connection with the iconic race into a new curriculum called “Desire to Inspire.”

“From the early preparations in March to the event in April, every year our community and our students become very enthusiastic about the marathon,” says Debra Pinto, a Hopkinton Middle School physical education teacher.

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