A central mission of public schools since their creation in the mid-1800s, civic education today includes the beliefs that students need to be aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; read, write, and think deeply; and act in ways that promote the common good. The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (2013) encourage the development of knowledgeable, thoughtful, and active citizens through a focus on inquiry. C3 emphasizes the development of solid questions, application of discipline-specific knowledge and skills, making reasonable claims supported by evidence, meaningful expression and action rising from those claims. Note that C3 wholly defers content standards to the states.
The Massachusetts History and Social Science Framework details the academic content, concepts, and skills in history, geography, economics, and civics & government essential to all Americans. Dozens of teachers and administrators, college and university faculty, and staff of museums, historical societies, libraries, and archives developed the standards as a comprehensive tool for planning history and social science curriculum. The framework sets out standards, concepts, and skills for each grade from pre-K to grade 7. Two-year sequences of U.S. History and World History are taught at each district’s discretion between grade 8 and grade 11, with grade 12 electives in economics and in American government. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is in process of revision with new standards likely in 2018.
Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts (ELA) and Literacy (Pre-K – 12): Incorporating the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects – 2011
The CCSS standards were developed by a broad collaboration of educators and experts from almost every state in order to provide a clear, consistent, and challenging national framework to prepare students for college and career. The kinds of critical thinking skills that the CCSS emphasizes for history and social studies–evaluating written sources, thinking with historical depth, integrating content analysis with written work–are all central to Emerging America’s inquiry-based approach to history education. Our professional development and online resources aim to give teachers explicit strategies and practical tools to help students to become discerning readers, writers, listeners, and speakers of history as they achieve the CCSS.
Download “Primary Sources and the Common Core State Standards,” by Rich Cairn. Teaching with Primary Sources Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, Fall 2012. Library of Congress. Also find exemplary lessons.
These curriculum standards from the National Council for the Social Studies provide a framework for selecting and organizing knowledge and modes of inquiry for purposes of teaching and learning to meet the goals. The NCSS Standards establish a set of principles by which content can be selected and organized to build a viable, valid, and defensible social studies curriculum. Features:
- Ten Themes represents a way of organizing knowledge about the human experience in this world.
- Learning Expectations at early, middle, and high school levels describe purposes, knowledge, intellectual processes, and democratic dispositions that students should exhibit in student products.
- Essential Social Studies Skills and Strategies represents the abilities involved in the thinking, reasoning, researching, and understanding that learners engage in as they counter new concepts, principles, and issues.
- Products describes what and how students will demonstrate acquired learnings and provide teachers with a vehicle to assess student achievement.
- Snapshots of Practice provide educators with images of how the standards might look when enacted in classrooms.