Are social studies and history being pushed aside to make room for Common Core?
With the new Common Core State Standards, teachers actually have more time to focus on topics for which they have struggled to find time in the past - such as the upcoming presidential election, the focus of this month's StationBreak. Though the K-5 literacy standards are not discipline specific, they do require that students begin building the skills they will need for college and career through Common Core's emphasis on close reading and informational text. Middle school and secondary teachers will find that their role is more important than ever because of the Common Core emphasis on disciplinary literacy as a vital skill for college and career.
This issue of StationBreak highlights resources for teaching about the presidential election and support for implementing Common Core ELA and literacy standards for history/social studies.
"Colonial Williamsburg" series to air on AETN
Electronic field trip teaches about election process, provides interactive experience
Every year AETN airs the Electronic Field Trip (EFT) Series created by Colonial Williamsburg, the nation's largest living history museum. This year the EFT season kicks off with "The Will of the People" airing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, and replaying at noon that day. Students will learn about the presidential campaign of 1800 via Thomas Jefferson who will explain the origins of the country's election procedures through his story telling. They will get to hear historians answer questions asked by peers from across the country during the live broadcast.
Electronic field trips are interactive for subscribing schools. Students can call in to ask questions during the live broadcast, email historians, participate in message boards and vote online. Primary source documents, teacher guides, and more are available online for subscribing schools.
A different electronic field trip will air each month on AETN. The 2012-2013 season includes the premiere of three brand new EFT programs: "Colonial Idol," "Research Rescue Squad," and "The Global Economy." For a complete list of the program dates and descriptions or to subscribe, visit the Preview Page on the organization's website.
Using primary and secondary sources with AETN/PBS LearningMedia (AETN/PBS LM)
The Common Core literacy standards for history and social studies place a great deal of emphasis on students' ability to work with primary and secondary sources. Interpreting historic documents and texts as a historian would by weighing writers' points of view and potential bias is part of the disciplinary literacy necessary for college and career readiness.
Students will learn from watching the Colonial Williamsburg EFT that not everyone in America has always had the right to vote. AETN/PBS LearningMedia (AETN/PBS LM) contains an electronic version of the original 19th Amendment to the US Constitution - Women's Right to Vote and The Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Clips of interviews with past presidents discussing pardoning powers, separation of power, and secrecy are other primary sources of interest on AETN/PBS LM.
- These video clips about presidents' photographers will lend themselves well to discussions about photos as primary sources. For scaffolding purposes, it is useful to note that roughly the same skills necessary to analyze photos are needed to analyze text.
Lesson plans from AETN/PBS LearningMedia
These AETN/PBS LearningMedia lesson plans were created as stand alone resources. However, because the election of 1800 helped determine many of our electoral processes, viewing Colonial Williamsburg's "The Will of the People" could serve as a good preliminary activity for any study of the presidential campaign.
- Primaries and Caucuses - How do Parties Choose a Candidate? (7-12)
- Understanding the Electoral College (9-12)
As Thomas Jefferson explains in the EFT, the election of 1800 was the first in which the media played a role. Its role raised some of the same questions as those presented in "A Race to Watch: Campaign 2012, The Role of Technology and the Internet," a lesson plan about how electronic media will play a special part in the upcoming election.
Other Related Lesson Plans:
- If I Were President (K-2)
- Who do You Think Should be President? (4-8)
- Analyzing the Candidates in the 2012 Presidential Election (9-12)
AETN/PBS LM provides short videos that explain some of the basics of the presidential election process:
- Inside the Voting Booth (Grades 3-8) Students will learn a variety of facts about voting, including voter discrimination and times in history that prove one vote does make a difference, as well as how kids can be involved in an election.
- 2012 Political Map Center (Grades 6-12+) Students can use this map, which includes an electoral college calculator with historical data going back as far as the 1964 election, as well as a variety of data pertinent to making election predictions.
Professional Development Support
The course entitled "IDEAS - CCSS English Language Arts #1: Disciplinary Literacy Overview" is an excellent resource for teachers of all grade levels. In this course, Carol Massey of the Arkansas Department of Education gives an overview of the ELA and literacy in history/social studies and science/technical subjects. She discusses the meaning of disciplinary literacy, its importance for creating college and career ready students, and how it can be achieved through the Common Core Standards.
Also on ArkansasIDEAS.org:
- ASCD - "Common Core and Literacy Strategies: History and Social Studies" (Course)
- Annenberg Media - "Primary Sources: Workshops in American History" (Series)
AETN/PBS LearningMedia PD videos:
- "Teaching with Informational Text in the Elementary Grades"
- "Using Questioning to Build Comprehension of Expository Texts"
AETN's "Election 2012" Debate Schedule
AETN works to provide Arkansans with complete, balanced coverage of the 2012 local and national elections. Tune in for "2012 Presidential Debate" series on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Monday, Oct. 22, at 8 each night. The "Vice Presidential Debate 2012" will air Thursday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. Local election debates will air as follows:
- "1st Congressional District" – Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.
- "2nd Congressional District" – Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m.
- "3rd Congressional District" – Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
- "4th Congressional District" – Thursday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m.
- "Election 2012 Debates Ballot Initiatives" – Friday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.