Tuesday, December 9, 2014


“Memorizing facts and faces has failed us.  It’s time to concentrate on thinking and deep understanding.” 
 --S.G. Grant – C3 Contributor, SCDN meeting, 
Albany, NY  Sept 2014. 

Hooray for the C3 Social Studies Standards which concentrate on thinking almost as much as they do on history. They have 65 references to thinking and these are the adjectives they use : 

5 Ways to Foster THINKING in your research assignments:
  • Inspire Curiosity – Compelling minds want to know, understand and use this knowledge
  • Identify the “gold” in your content and get STUDENTS to uncover and discover… (rather than you ‘covering’)
  • Ask questions which cannot be answered by mere facts – Get to the WHY, so what, what if, how….
  • Use the LENSES of understanding: Geography, economics, civics, and historical lenses
  • Require a project to assess understanding... How can students demonstrate this understanding?  
While planning an assignment on “local history” I suggested a teacher package the final product as the creation of a Landmark or Historical Marker to denote the significance of a person, event, or place.  (Build an argument or evident-based claim for a marker) Students could even advocate for a real sign, which gets the students to Civic Action.   

What’s funny is that within the C3 actually note there is “dichotomous” thinking that is required in civics.  That’s what fuels politics, as we know all too well.   So, here’s the dichotomous thinking for Landmarks – Could we fold this into our curriculum?  What a hoot.


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