National History Day & the C3 Framework

The alignment between NHD and C3 creates unique opportunities when a curriculum actively leverages both. Students need to see how skills are interconnected and rely on each other when applied to a "real world" task. Regardless of whether a school uses traditional or standards-based grading, NHD and C3 are powerful tools for doing inquiry based learning and teaching historical thinking skills.

C3 Proficiency Scales: Round 2

Not all standards are equal. Some standards are foundational, some are extensions, some are inextricably linked when they come to life beyond the curriculum documents. This is where teachers and content experts need to add their experience and expertise to the discussion. Engaging with curriculum makes teachers better at their craft and offers significant insight that curriculum experts alone may miss.

Standards-Based Grading Assessment Design

How can we make frequent and spiraled assessments in a standards-based grading system work while retaining the joy of teaching and learning? It's not easy, but can be accomplished if we redefine what assessment looks like. Here are a few things I have learned that helped me make standards-based grading work with in a social studies classroom.

Teaching the complexity point in AP World

The AP history complexity point, which many teachers call the "unicorn" point, can be frustrating to teach and assess; especially considering AP exam data shows how rarely it is awarded to students. However, teaching it is still possible, adds value to student learning, and can be an opportunity for fun in the classroom. Throughout the year I have a list of topics that I call "guaranteed complexity points." Here are two of them.

Moving Towards Standards Based Grading in History

I no longer teach at a school that uses standards based grading. However, I believe in the spirit of it; how it honors growth over time, includes clearer and more visible learning objective, offers opportunities for better feedback, and generally supports learning over GPA outcomes. (That's a tall order to sell, I know). So, I have been reflecting on how to integrate the best parts of SBG into a traditional grading system.

Teaching the Document Based Question

The DBQ is not about teaching content, nor is it about finding the "right" answer. It's about giving students the knowledge and skill to construct an argument after questioning and analyzing sources. I don't want the DBQ to become a research essay, nor should it be a content dump where the document citations serve as nothing more than window dressing. This is neither its purpose not its potential.

Strategies for Inquiry in Social Studies

"Doing Inquiry" can be easy, and does not always have to involve huge projects. Embedding small protocols and activities that introduce the various components and stages of inquiry help scaffold towards the larger projects that empower students and enrich traditional curriculum. I've learned that inquiry should not be a "special activity" but a frequent, even daily, classroom routine. Here are some strategies I have found success with.