[THVInstitute13] Social Studies Tool Kit for Dutchess County Educators
Senior at Marist College
B.A. Psychology/Special Education
Adolescent History Education
Minor in Hudson River Valley Regional Studies
Public History Concentration
Open Space Institute Barnabas McHenry Award in Historic Preservation:
Social Studies Toolkit
• The Standards do not dictate curriculum. They
are expectations for student growth.
• Education is NOT “one size fits all.”
• You know your students, community, and school.
• You know your strengths and weaknesses as an
• Students benefit from confidence, creativity, and
• Don’t work to meet the Common Core Standards, make them
work to meet YOUR standards.
Assess and adapt
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
Figure out what sparks your interest, and what your
students will respond to, the rest will fall into place.
Maps, brochures, guidebooks, artifacts,
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 visit sites and add materials to a class collection.
Assess and adapt
Take a look at your materials, research the subject, and
see where it fits in your curriculum.
Once you decide on a direction, gather more information
and resources related to the specific domain.
Fill in the gaps.
Your lesson idea will most likely meet a number of Common Core
Many of the Standards are benchmarks and skills that occur naturally
when conducting traditional lessons and activities.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts
to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2a Introduce a topic clearly and group
related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting
(e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2b Develop the topic with facts, definitions,
concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples
related to the topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2c Link ideas within categories of
information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for
example, also, because).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2d Use precise language and domain-
specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2e Provide a concluding statement or
section related to the information or explanation presented.
Look through the Standards,
and consider other activities,
projects, and assignments
that meet them.
Don’t sacrifice your own
and individual student
List every standard met.
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
Each group will receive a set of Common Core Standards
Reading Informational Text
Use the brainstorming template to outline a creative and unique social studies lesson based on
an historic site, museum, or other place of interest. Use a site that you or members of your
group have visited, or discover a new site in the map guides and booklets provided.
• Choose anywhere that interests you.
• Write as many details as you can about various interesting aspects of the site– landscape,
architecture, residents, location, events, etc.
• Make a materials wish list. What would you ideally want to have in order to teach about
this site? Artifacts, documents, costumes, videos, etc.
• Narrow the scope of the lesson– focus on skills and concepts that students should walk
away with. How will you teach it?
• Look through the standards and see which you have met.