[THVInstitute13] Social Studies Tool Kit for Dutchess County Educators
Keep Creativity in Common Core:
Bringing History to Life
Social Studies can be a difficult subject for many students. Maintaining an
interest in history requires educators to bring the past to life, sparking
curiosity beyond the pages of a textbook. Regional historic sites and
museums provide students the opportunity to build connections between
abstract concepts and tangible historic evidence. Knowledge of an area’s
history inspires a sense of ownership and encourages students to look
deeper into the world around them.
Even if field trips and excursions are not a possibility, bringing local history
into the classroom is essential. Designing lesson plans that incorporate
regional history and align to Common Core standards may seem like a
daunting task, but with some inspiration and creativity, educators will be
able to motivate young ambassadors of regional history.
Use the IMAGE approach. This is a ―game-plan‖ based on the idea that
standards should not be the starting point of lesson design. Build on your
own inspiration—if something excites you, chances are it will have the same
effect on your students.
Visit historic sites, parks and museums. Take a second look at streets, old buildings,
farms, interesting architecture– you never know what stories they can tell.
Walk with a curious eye, and encourage students to do the same by pointing out the
unique aspects of the familiar.
Maps, brochures, guidebooks, artifacts, photographs, etc.
Have an arsenal of primary sources and visual aids to bring into the classroom. History
comes to life when it is brought out of black and white text on a page and made tangible.
These materials may be used in future lessons and across subjects.
Encourage students to save brochures and souvenirs from visits to historic sites,
museums, parks, and other places of interest. These items can be added to a class
collection that may be used for entertainment, independent discovery, or future lessons.
Assess & Adapt
Take a look at your materials, research the subject, and see where it fits in your
Will you use it to enhance learning about a certain time period?
Does the site or its history illustrate an important historic concept?
Can the materials be used to teach a skill (research, writing, etc.)?
Once you decide on a direction, gather more information and resources related to the
Fill in the gaps.
Your lesson idea will most likely meet a number of Common Core Standards already.
Many of the Standards are benchmarks and skills that occur naturally when conducting
traditional lessons and activities.
Look through the Standards, and consider other activities, projects, and assignments
that meet them.
List everystandard met.
Do not sacrifice your own classroom goals, social/behavioral goals, and individual
Bring the subject to life with confidence and excitement.
Focus on student engagement, not meeting standards.
Encourage site visits outside of school to further regional exploration.