Core Talk: Your finger in the wind for C3 implementation stories at NCSS!


(Your NCSS 2014 Core Talk Team presenting their Friday Poster Session)


Greetings from Boston, home of this year’s National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference!

We want to kick-off our first report-out from NCSS 2014 with a hearty thanks to everyone who joined us for our  Poster Session, Core Talk: News and Insights into Standards-Based Learning on Friday morning of the conference!  We had a standards-enthusiastic time swapping policy stories, discussing PD models and meeting everyone who was able to visit.  We look forward to catching up with anyone who could not attend throughout the rest of the conference and the rest of the year as we travel to conferences throughout the country!

As we attended our first slew of NCSS sessions, we’ve put out our “feelers” to amass implementation stories, best practices, “misfires” and resources after the first full year of instruction with the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies.  To refresh your memories: the C3 Framework outlines an approach to social studies structured as an arc of student-driven inquiry.  This framework is not a substitute for content standards, but rather guides the progression of content by helping students form questions, apply discipline-specific lenses (history, geography, economics, and civics), analyze their resources, and draw conclusions before acting upon those conclusions.  Thus far, our primary take-aways from C3 in the states and classrooms are (* drum roll, please*)…

  • Several states have or are amidst the process of re-writing their content standards based on the C3, these states include: Kentucky, Connecticut, Illinois, and Hawaii.
  • New York State is almost a “pilot” example of a state  fusing its content standards with the C3 framework to form C3 and CCSS-aligned Social Studies blueprints. In partnership with C3 authors, EngageNY and its cohorts created the NY Social Studies Framework featuring blueprints that will include…
    • A one-page lay-out for the full arc of inquiry that contains compelling questions, relevant content standards, scaffolded supporting questions, and guidance for integrating “informed civic action” into the inquiry arc
    • 6 of these blueprints per grade level for every grade level K-12 with anticipated completion next summer
    • A library of fully open-source C3-aligned resources in PDF and MS Word formats (this element got a round of applause…)
  • Implementing the full C3 inquiry arc does whittle down the amount of shear content a teacher can cover.  For teachers whose jobs/accountability models do depend on covering a certain quantity of content, full C3 implementation has proven tricky so far
  • There are ways to differentiate and scaffold inquiry. Sometimes asking students to simply “explore” a question proved overwhelming. For instance, one psychology session demoed a system wherein students choose among potential answers to a compelling question and research the available answers separately, which helped mitigate the completely open-ended nature of the inquiry

We can’t wait to keep the C3 and standards revelations coming from NCSS 2014!  Until then…

…stay classy, Standards Enthusiasts!

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