Social Studies Methods (EDU 308)

CSUS-UCD Collaborative

Summer, 2006

Instructor: Jeanne Pfeifer, Ph.D.. Room: AS #2368/72) and computer lab (#2362)


Web page:

phone: (916) 278-5542

Required text:

Ellis, Arthur K. (2006) Teaching and Learning Elementary Social Studies, 8th Ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

California Department of Education. History-Social Science Framework, K-12. (Including Standards.)

Statement of Purpose:

The underlying assumptions of the social studies methods course are embedded in constructivist philosophy. In this approach, students are thought to learn best when they are involved directly in authentic experiences. The experiences are planned and mediated by the teacher such that students gain in-depth understandings of their own lives within a diverse society and of today's world.

Teachers must plan carefully and thoroughly for such activities to take place successfully. They must take into account student characteristics and prior experiences in order to create meaningful experiences. Most likely, in this problem-centered approach, students become engaged from multiple perspectives, thus instruction and learning are "integrated." During the actual instructional event, teachers may spend much of their time as coaches and facilitators (rather than center stage disseminators of knowledge). Anticipated outcomes for the learners are in-depth conceptual knowledge, critical thinking processes, social skill development and positive self-esteem.

From the CCTC:


Teaching History-Social Science in a Multiple Subject Assignment

Candidates for a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential demonstrate the ability to teach the state-adopted academic content standards for students in history-social science (K-8). They enable students to learn and use basic analytic thinking skills in history and social science while attaining the state-adopted academic content standards for students. They use timelines and maps to give students a sense of temporal and spatial scale. Candidates teach students how social science concepts and themes provide insights into historical periods and cultures. They help students understand events and periods from multiple perspectives by using simulations, case studies, cultural artifacts, works of art and literature, cooperative projects, and student research.

 Course Objectives: Students will:

  • participate and analyze their experiences with a variety of instruction strategies (e.g. simulations/role playing, dramatics, concept development, student research activities, case studies, cooperative learning, graphic organizers and activities using primary sources, cultural artifacts including works of art and literature).
  • identify a variety of instruction strategies (activities) for teaching social studies which are appropriate for students from diverse backgrounds and with varying needs, interests and learning styles.
  • locate, discuss, analyze and evaluate a variety of social studies teaching resources.
  • design lessons (using maps, timelines, and hands-on/minds-on) in developmentally appropriate ways.
  • Plan a resource unit which incorporates resources and activities that promote active student involvement. Unit must include attention to:
    • critical thinking processes
    • multicultural perspectives
    • concept development
    • integration with other subjects
  • Identify and develop a variety of techniques for assessment that are consistent with instructional strategies and objectives/standards.
  • Incorporate technology into social studies learning
  • Identify different views of social studies e.g. Disciplines/concepts; citizenship; critical thinking; values/moral education..


1. Because of the compressed time and only seven class sessions, students are expected to attend and participate in all classes. Please see instructor if you must miss for unforeseeable circumstances. Absence will result in a lowered grade. (35 points)

2. Integrated Unit: You may collaborate with other class members. Be sure it is clear who contributed what to the unit. The thoroughness, number and depth of lessons should increase with the group size. Each class meeting should allow you to produce a part of your resource unit portfolio. (45 points)

A. Annual plan with unit topic indicated

B. Unit Plan (use format provided)

  • state standards
  • objectives
  • essential/unit questions
  • associated disciplines/concepts
  • concept analysis
  • a variety of resources (include literature and field trips)
  • a sequenced list of authentic activities/lessons with a brief description of lesson yet-to-be developed
  • assessment strategies

C. Lesson Plans--at least one developed by each team member (e.g. if 3 group members, 3 lessons; if 5 group members, 5 lessons). (Use format provided.) Including the following lessons---but not limited to:

  • Student involved (Project-based and/or hands-on/minds-on)
  • Map lesson and
  • Timeline lesson

3. "What else is social studies?" project. (20 points) Powerpoint presentation last class meeting.

Course Schedule




Class Activity and resources

Readings-after class

Assignments: Homework


June 26, (M) 12:30-3:30


1. What is Social Studies?

2. Reflection: What are the attributes of meaningful, well-planned social studies lessons?

3. Syllabus: What will we be studying this summer?

Brainstorm components of Social studies

Anthropology Boxes


Ellis: Chapters 1, 12

H/SS Framework pp1-31; skim 32-115, read carefully the grade level you are targeting and page 75 and 115

(Bring H/SS Framework to class next class meeting. )



June 28 (W)


What is an annual plan?

How do you know what to teach and how can you fit it all in? How do we mesh the standards and the framework?

How can you locate children's literature related to your unit?

How do you locate resources for your unit? For you as the teacher? For your students?

What is a unit?

Annual Planning,

2nd grade 1, 2, 3

5th grade 1, 2, 3


Identifying Unit Choose teams, grade level and themes.

Ellis: Chapter 5: Unit Planning

Resources by grade level and standards:

Frameworks online: (pdf)


Searching the web for resources, evaluating resources.

Reflection: What are the advantages and disadvantages of an annual plan? Why start with resources in designing units?

Create an Annual plan for your grade level, indicate on which unit you will be working.

Choose and list a minimum of 10 selections of children's literature related to social studies and unit topic.

Begin locating resources for unit.


July 10 (M)


1. How do we know what to teach in social studies? What are concepts?

2. Locate primary sources, Web quests relevant to your unit/lessons or for your grade level.

(Works of art and literature)

(Resources continued)

What Happened at Lexington Green?

What are primary sources?

Concepts and thinking processes in this lesson?



Ellis: Chapters 6, 8 and 9 .

Lexington Green resources: 6 accounts

Examples of Themes

What are primary sources?

  • Identify grade level concepts
  • Continue locating resources for your unit.

Reflection: How would you support second language learning in the artifact lesson? In the Lexington Green unit? How do the artifact lesson and Lexington Green lesson prepare? Why did I choose these lessons for you to sample?

  • List student and teacher resources pertinent to your unit;
  • Locate primary sources for your unit,
  • Begin Unit Plan

Resource Planning Guide

rubric for resources


July 12 (W)


What should K-1, 2-3,4-5,6-8 know about timelines? Maps?

Building Units: HLQ, Role playing, simulations, Inductive reasoning, inquiry etc.

Graphic Organizers

House on Maple Street: Using literature as a graphic organizer

graphic organizers introduced

Lesson plan template

Ellis: Chapters 3 (skim and use for reference), and 10 (Maps)

Generate essential questions for one topic in your unit.

Graphic Organizer examples:

Discussion: How can technology become "value added for social studies instruction? If a teacher is not "comfortable" with certain strategies (e.g. "not my style", can (should) he/she become effective with these strategies?

Discuss the following items in your groups. You may use division of labor for the actual writing of the lesson. If your group is large, you should be developing a lesson per person. The lessons should make sense for your unit.

  • Create a developmentally appropriate timeline lesson
  • and map lesson
  • Write out a concept analysis of at least one concept from your unit (use map, time lines or primary sources activities as a model.)
  • Continue filling in your Unit Plan
  • Plan at least one lesson that has hands on/mind on (with primary source materials.) Pay particular attention to the types of questions you ask.
  • Be sure to include a variety of strategies/activities.
  • develop a graphic organizer for your unit (concept based)


July 17 (M)


Begin "What else is Social studies project?"

Choose topics

Begin research

Character Ed Civic Duties Current Events Global Educ. Humanities Literacy & SS Social Action




Ellis: Chapters 11, 13, 14


Continue working on unit/lessons

Continue research on "What else?"


July 19 (W)


How does the state department of education evaluate social studies?

How will you assess your students and your teaching?

Using different models of assessment, developing rubrics

Short History

C.L.A. S. Assessment


Ellis: Chapters 7

Learning Styles and Strategies

Cooperative learning activities



  • Describe how you will assess your unit.
  • Include a unit rubric
  • Include assessment strategies from Ellis



July 24 (M)



Share: What else is social studies powerpoints.



What information from the presentations might you use in a) your units and b) at your grade level in other units?



July 26 (W)


Share units    

Turn in entire unit plan including lesson plans: map, timeline and hands-on/minds-on.