In January, 2010, National Council of the Social Studies and the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) convened a meeting of national organizations in civics, economics, geography, and history, to discuss working together on Common State Standards for Social Studies. That meeting concluded with agreement on a common definition of social studies that acknowledges the importance of the individual disciplines, affirms how and why they are connected, and includes the “literacies” outlined by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
“The social studies is an interdisciplinary exploration of the social sciences and humanities, including civics, history, economics, and geography in order to develop responsible, informed and engaged citizens and to foster civic, global, historical, geographic, and economic literacy.” (from NCSS)
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction defines disciplinary literacy as the confluence of content knowledge, experiences and skills, merged with the ability to read, write, listen speak, and think critically in a way that is meaningful within our content area.
The following foundations, taken from the DL Foundations document, shape disciplinary literacy in the social studies classroom:
- Academic learning begins in early childhood and develops across all disciplines.
- Content knowledge is strengthened when educators integrate discipline specific literacy into teaching and learning.
skills including reading, writing, speaking , listening and critical
thinking improve when content-rich learning experiences motivate and
demonstrate their content knowledge through reading, writing, listening
and speaking as part of a discipline literate community.
Suggestions to add to the above definition of DL in Social Studies (received from classroom teachers):
- Social Studies needs to be first or it won't drive the curriculum.
- ...by using their skills to think like a historian, such as...
- Must include:
-Cause and effect
and secondary source analysis
- This definition does not thrill me. It sounds superficial. What does it mean?
- Making connections as wella s drawing conclusions from the events, behaviors, and pattens of the past and present to prepare for the needs of future societies, local, national, and global.
Research, discussion and response are authentic
opportunities through which we engage students to make connections to social
Definition should include doing social studies.
Needs active verbs. Making connections to texts.
Students must have hands on experience working
with (reading, analyzing, debating…) relevant texts and responding to them.
Real world purpose – writing and other
Creative problem solving with a real world
application exhibited through readers, writing, speaking, presentation and
Techniques to learn and practice literacy
involvement: argumentative writing, analysis of primary sources, research,
reading for purpose
Unpack: “authentic opportunities”; Unpack:
Techniques; Unpack: engage
Engage – what does it mean to engage?
Hands on opportunities
“Creating the foundations of informed