Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

February 2014


Ohio Online Field Test Portal for social studies and science is now available

The Ohio Online Field Test Portal provides information on the next generation of assessments for students and families, teachers, test administrators and coordinators, and technology coordinators. Teachers can familiarize their students with the formats of the different ways they will be assessed on the next generation of assessments. Keep in mind that the content of the items are not necessarily aligned to the new standards and have not been vetted through the item review process. They are used simply to demonstrate the various electronic formats that students will be using. Access to access the “Item Tutorials” must be through Mozilla Firefox web browser.  Go to the Ohio Department of Education home page and hover on TOPICS in the red horizontal menu bar, and click on Testing. Next, on the Testing page under Topics, click on Next Generation Assessments. Now, scroll down to Related Websites and click on Ohio Assessment Portal. Click on Ohio Online Field Test Portal. Click on Students and Families, then Student Training Site.  

Quality Review Rubric for social studies available for lesson or unit alignment

The Ohio Department of Education will soon provide a Phase 3: Instructional Toolkit. This will include the Quality Review Rubric for teachers to use when reviewing lessons or units for alignment to Ohio’s New Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies. The rubric contains four dimensions that can be used in the review process. The Phase 3: Instructional Toolkit may be accessed through the social studies landing page when it goes live. It will include instructional webcasts on the rubric. Teachers can download the rubric by clicking here.

Dual Alignment for the 2014 Ohio Graduation Tests for social studies

The Ohio Graduation Tests for social studies in 2014 are dually aligned between the 2002 Academic Content Standards for Social Studies and Ohio's New Learning Standards, with the focus on American History and Modern World History. However, in order to maintain the test requirements (blueprints) of the social studies Ohio Graduation Tests, there will be a few questions from the following 2002 benchmarks (that are also aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards) on the 2014 spring, summer and fall Ohio Graduation Tests: People in Societies A-C; Geography A-C; Economics A-B; Government A-B; Citizens Rights & Responsibilities A-B.

Blueprints and Test Specifications for Ohio’s new assessments now online

The Ohio Department of Education has released a set of draft test specification documents for the next generation of Ohio-developed social studies assessments. These documents provide the components, item types, blueprints, and item specifications to help educators and the general public better understand the design of the new summative assessments. End of Year (EOY) assessments are used for the second part of the summative assessments for social studies. While high school American history and American government might be semester courses, the wording will be End-of-Year in these documents.

There have been corrections made to the test specifications for American Government and for Grade 6 social studies. Please use the documents which are marked as “Rev. November 2013).” To access them, click here.

Celebrate African American History Month with resources from our nation’s capital

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African-Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Visit http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/. More resources are at the bottom of the newsletter.

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies is now accepting session proposals

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies is now accepting session proposals for the 2014 Ohio Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference. The theme of next fall’s conference, Civic Literacy: Taking Informed Action reflects the council’s work to assist Ohio’s teachers in their efforts to prepare students for new the state level testing and their roles as citizens.  The theme also recognizes the push for social studies teachers to integrate nonfiction reading and writing into classrooms and the council’s work to restore world history to a required course for graduation in Ohio (Senate Bill 96). Click here to access the Conference Proposal Form or visit the Ohio Council for the Social Studies website for more information.  Proposals must be submitted by March 31.  Free conference registration is available for the first 10 practicing classroom teachers who submit an accepted session proposal.  

Ohio Council of Social Studies accepting nominations for outstanding teacher or leader award

The Ohio Council of the Social Studies invites teachers and administrators to nominate teachers for annual awards.  The OCSS offers four annual awards. These include:

  • The Dr. James Sheehan Pre-Service Teacher Award, for outstanding pre-service commitment and performance;
  • The Emerging Social Studies Leader Award, for student teachers or teachers within the first three years of teaching who demonstrate outstanding dedication, skill, intelligence, and caring in the practice of their art;
  • The Outstanding Social Studies Teacher Award honors social studies educators who demonstrate outstanding dedication, skill, intelligence, and caring in the practice of their art;
  • The Social Studies Leader Award honors a group or an individual in Ohio for service promoting social studies principles. Leaders may be administrators, political leaders, or other professionals who have made a significant contribution to the field of social studies.

Click here for award descriptions and the online nomination form.  The deadline for nominations is March 31.  

Develop leadership skills in social studies education with the Ohio Council of the Social Studies

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies will be holding elections this spring for the following positions: secretary, treasurer, middle school representative, higher education representative, regional representatives from the northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest regions of the state. Please contact Anne Baldwin, at abaldwin@reyn.org if interested for running for one of the open Ohio Council for the Social Studies executive board positions by March 31.

The Newseum offers programs on the Civil Rights Movement 

The Newseum offers several options for teachers looking to plan a field trip around Martin Luther King Jr. or the civil rights movement. For grades 7 to university, the Newseum offers a class focused on the role of the First Amendment in the Civil Rights Movement called Making a Change.” In February, it will offer a special Civil Rights Movement edition of its “Front Page Frenzy” game for elementary school students grades 3-6, featuring reproductions of historic front pages from the era. Classes are free with admission and must be reserved in advance online. The Newseum also has several exhibits on the topic: “Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement,” “1964: Civil Rights at 50,” and a display about the black press in its News History Gallery.

For those who cannot visit in person, the Newseum offers a number of free online resources and lesson plans related to the Civil Rights Movement for middle and high school educators. Its Digital Classroom offers an eight minute version of the Newseum-made documentary film “The Press and the Civil Rights Movement” with an accompanying video guide, as well as the Making a Change: The First Amendment and the Civil Rights Movement module. This module features an interactive timeline of Civil Rights Movement events with historic front pages, photographs, and newsreels; a media map comparing newspapers’ front page coverage of six key Civil Rights events; and standards-aligned lesson plans. To access content on Digital Classroom,  click here. On the main website, teachers can download more free lesson plans analyzing King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and newspaper coverage of the movement. Teachers can also see a selection of newspapers covering Civil Rights events in 1963, and a collection of photos from Freedom Summer in 1964.

The Ohio Historical Society offers Teacher-In-Residence program

The Ohio Historical Society has created a new Teacher-In-Residence program as an innovative way for Ohio social studies teachers to participate in professional development.  The program will take place June 16-27 at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.  Teachers will go behind the scenes to learn about the Ohio History Center, experience hands-on historical thinking activities, and collaborate to create unique educational projects.  The program is designed to provide educators with the knowledge, tools, and atmosphere to participate in enlightened thinking, engaging activities, and immersive learning that will ultimately be transferable to their own teaching methods.  For more information, contact Joy King at jking@ohiohistory.org or visit: http://www.ohiohistory.org/education/teacher-in-residence-program

Street Law's Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers

Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society will sponsor two sessions of the annual Supreme Court Summer Institute, June 19-24 and June 26-July 1. The Institute is open to secondary level social studies teachers and supervisors, who will spend six stimulating days on Capitol Hill and inside the Supreme Court learning about the court, its past and current cases, and how to teach about them from top Supreme Court litigators and educators.  Participants will visit the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the justices announce the final decisions of the term and attend a private reception at the Court.  For full information and to apply online (under the “Registration Info” tab), go to www.streetlaw.org/scsi_apply. The application deadline is March 17.

Teaching Tolerance issues nationwide call to teachers for award

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project is accepting applications for its 2014 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching – an award that recognizes five teachers from across the country who excel at promoting respect, acceptance and appreciation for the nation’s growing diversity. All K-12 teachers within the United States are invited to apply for the award. The deadline for applications is Jan. 12. To qualify, educators must demonstrate excellence in research-based classroom practices aimed at reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and creating an equitable school environment. The awards will be presented in July during a three-day event in Montgomery, Ala. Each winner will be awarded $2,500. Teaching Tolerance will film these teachers in their classrooms, allowing them to share their teaching methods with educators across the nation. The winners will also participate in an intensive workshop in Montgomery and work together on a collaborative project to be shared with the nation’s teachers. Click here for more information.

Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference for high school juniors

The annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference program targets rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualities of “free spirit.” Students will travel to Washington, D.C., June 21-26, to participate in an all-expenses-paid journalism conference at the Newseum. The conference is designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism. Students who are high school juniors in the 2013-2014 academic year are eligible to apply. Fifty-one students, representing each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., will be accepted to attend the conference. The deadline to submit an application to the conference program is Feb. 1. Scholarships will be awarded to students who successfully complete the program and will be paid to the students’ colleges and universities of choice in the fall of 2014. Click here for more information.

State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission research contest

The State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission announces a research contest open to any Ohio student ages 13 to 18 and in grades 7 through 12. The contest boasts $10,000 in cash prizes. The research project may take the form of an essay, a web site, a podcast, or a Power Point presentation.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category. First place winners will each receive $3,000, second place winners will receive $1,500, and third place winners will each take home $500. Contestants must not reveal their identities on the essay, Power Point, podcast or web site. This is to ensure “blind review” by the judges. Projects will be judged on accuracy and clarity in presenting historical events, persons and places, quality of assessment of the issues raised in the prompts, understanding of the larger context surrounding the events being examined, and cogent style and creativity of the final product. The deadline for submission of entries is Jan. 31, 2014. An awards ceremony is planned for April 4, 2014. Click here for a complete list of rules and to enter the contest.

National History Teacher of the Year award

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is now seeking grades 7 – 12 social studies/history teacher nominations for 2014. One teacher from each state will be named the state winner, awarded $1,000, and automatically entered into the National History Teacher of the Year selection process. The National History Teacher of the Year receives $10,000 and is flown to New York City, along with two students, for an awards ceremony in the teacher’s honor. Visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy to learn more and nominate a teacher.

National WWII Museum launches new website

The National WWII Museum is proud to announce the launch of a grand new website  offering visitors a way to browse parts of our oral history and photograph collection from their own hoes. The oral history collection was begun by the late Dr. Stephen Ambrose, while he was still teaching history at the University of New Orleans. When he and his colleague at the University of New Orleans, Dr. Gordon "Nick" Mueller, launched the effort to establish a museum honoring the American veterans of D-Day, they began collecting artifact and archival collections such as uniforms, weapons, souvenirs of war, military and personal correspondence, and in the largest numbers — photographs. These photographs range from those produced as official Navy or Army photographs to those taken with small, Brownie cameras. For more information, click here.

2014 National Conference on Geography Education will be held this summer in Memphis

Join hundreds of educators (K-12 and university) and geography professionals from around the world this July 31- Aug. 3, for the 2014 National Conference on Geography Education. Attend the 2014 conference in Memphis to exchange ideas, research, resources, and best practices in geography education. This conference will mark the 99th annual meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education. The council is dedicated to expanding and improving geography education in U.S. schools and contributing to the development of highly qualified geography teachers. Attend the 2014 conference and connect with your geography education community. Click here for more information on the conference.

National Council for the Social Studies offers 2014 Professional Development Series

The National Council for the Social Studies is  presenting its 2014 Social Studies Professional Development Series. These extensive webinar and workshop offerings focuses on the C3 Framework, Common Core Strategies, Technology Integration, Using Primary Sources, Geographic Connections, and Grant Writing in preparation for the 2014-15 school year. Attendees can receive a certificate of attendance upon request for your professional development needs.  Click here to see the full list of workshops .


Social Studies Passages
There are 53 reading comprehension passages on socials studies on everything from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to flooding in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Sort passages by U.S. history, world history, civics and government, and many more domains. Click here.

A Lesson on Change
This is a film taken the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 5, 1968 in an elementary school classroom in Columbus City Schools. It was never released until January 21, 2013.

Updated Elections in Action Lessons Now Available
Whether covering this spring's primary elections or already thinking ahead for the midterms in November, the latest version of Mikva's Elections in Action curriculum is now available! Click here to access the online form to complete in order to request a free pdf copy of this unit. 

Picturing Modern America
Picturing Modern America contains interactive exercises designed to deepen students’understanding of common topics in the modern America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, build students skills in analyzing primary sources, and generate questions that students can pursue by searching in American Memory and other sources. http://cct2.edc.org/PMA/

Send comments/questions to:

Dwight Groce, consultant, Office of Curriculum and Assessment, Ohio Department of Education, 25 S. Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or dwight.groce@education.ohio.gov