Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

January 2014


Quality Review Rubric for Social Studies available for lesson or unit alignment

The Ohio Department of Education will 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.

Advanced Placement for U.S. history has been redesigned

The redesign of the AP U.S. History course and exam accomplishes two major goals. It maintains AP U.S. History's strong alignment with the knowledge and skills taught in introductory courses at the college level. It also offers teachers the flexibility to focus on specific historical topics, events, and issues in depth. The redesigned course begins in fall 2014, and the first AP exam based on the redesigned course will be administered in May 2015. Click here for more information.

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 OGT, 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 OGTs: 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 New 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.

Part-time Program Director for the Ohio Council on Economic Education is sought

The Ohio Council on Economic Education (OCEE; www.ocee.org), a statewide non-profit organization and an affiliate of the Council for Economic Education (http://www.councilforeconed.org), is seeking a part-time Program Director to work a flexible 25 hours/week. The Program Director collaborates with seven Ohio university-based Centers for Economic Education and other like-minded organizations (e.g. Ohio Department of Education, Federal Reserve Bank, Ohio State Treasurer’s Education Staff, Ohio Council for the Social studies) to create, promote, deliver, and manage professional development and interdisciplinary school-based programs that have economic, financial literacy and/or entrepreneurship concepts as their foundation.  In addition, the Program Director works with the OCEE President and its Board of Trustees to identify and solicit sources of grants, corporate sponsorships, and donations to fund educational programs and operating expenses. For more information, contact Julie Heath,

President of the Ohio Council on Economic Education at heathja@UCMAIL.UC.EDU

The Transatlantic Outreach Program offers study tour for educators

Since 2002, the Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) has sought to find the best and most qualified social studies educators and give them the opportunity to experience Modern Germany in the most dramatic way possible: in person. Eligible applicants include from the United States and Canada include: social studies teachers (grades K-12), social studies methods professors, curriculum coordinators, and principals/assistant principals. The Transatlantic Outreach Program pays for most domestic and international transportation fees, hotel accommodation fees, two meals per day while abroad and any mandatory fees. The application with attachments must be postmarked  on or before February 3, 2014. Click here for more information.

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.

Youth for Justice: social responsibility meets technology

Youth for Justice, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education, empowers students to speak out about local issues and develop meaningful solutions to address problems. Youth for Justice is adaptable for use with students in grades 3 through 12. Students document the process and present their projects locally the chance to share their work via a ‘Virtual Summit’ this spring. Questions and requests for more information may be directed to Director of Programs Jared Reitz – jreitz@oclre.org.

Teach historic documents, help students feel part of “We”  with We the People

Teachers are welcome to observe, at no charge, the We the People high school state competition on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Ohio Statehouse. We the People is a nationally recognized curriculum focused on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Students study the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the documents and discuss current day relevance. The simulated congressional hearings provide an authentic, performance-based assessment. Interested teachers should contact Tim Kalgreen at tkalgreen@oclre.org.

Professional development opportunity: teaching the appellate process

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education will host a Moot Court professional development session on Feb. 13. Moot Court helps students understand the appellate process as they learn to apply the law to the facts of a case and prepare written briefs and oral arguments. The program aligns with Ohio’s New Learning Standards for social studies and English/language arts. For more information and to learn how you can incorporate Moot Court in your classroom, contact tburch@oclre.org.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's 2014 Creative Writing Contest

High school juniors and seniors are invited to enter the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 2014 Creative Writing Contest and win prizes in Cleveland Fed’s 2014 Creative Writing Contest. The topic is 100 Years of Change: Once Upon a Time Before TV. What do students think the most significant advancement has been during the last 100 years?  Students win prizes by writing an essay, play, short story or poem on the topic. December 2013 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Federal Reserve Act, which created the nation's central bank.  Submissions must be postmarked on or before Feb. 28. Please 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.


United States Holocaust Memorial & Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial & Museum is now offering six lesson plans full of resources designed to complement visits to the exhibition State of Deception (currently in Chicago), with new strategies for introducing and analyzing propaganda, considering its potential consequences, and taking action when problematic messages threaten. Click here to learn more. 

World History for Us All

This site provides units, lesson plans and resources over the span of human history.


Library of Congress: Primary Source Sets

The Library of Congress currently provides 29 sets of materials on various themes on U.S. history. Each set includes a teacher’s guide and primary sources.


Historical Thinking Matters

This website focuses on key topics in U.S. history that are designed to teach students how to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives.


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