Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Ohio Social
Studies Signal

Articles from September 2013


Remember requirement to observe Constitution Day on Sept. 17

Each year, on Sept.17, schools nationwide take part in observing the day in 1787 that the U.S. Constitution was signed. Educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to plan an education program celebrating Constitution Day.

Here are some suggestions to consider when planning Constitution Day events:

  • Invite teachers, parents and other community members to participate in the planning process;
  • Engage students in meaningful activities aligned to the school’s curriculum and Ohio’s New Learning Standards;
  • Plan programs with the current course of study in mind, connecting the topics and themes of Constitution Day to age-appropriate activities and grade-level content;
  • Although Constitution Day is a once-a-year event, continue the study and discussion of our rights and responsibilities as U.S. citizens throughout the school year.

The following resources may be useful in planning Constitution Day events and activities:

  • The National Archives and Records Administration celebrates Constitution Day by presenting related activities and lesson plans;
  • Federal Resources for Educational Excellence features information from more than 30 federal agencies on teaching and learning with topics including the U.S. Constitution;
  • The National Constitution Center is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the U.S. Constitution, its history and its contemporary relevance;
  • The Library of Congress preserves valuable federal records including documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention of 1774-1789;
  • U.S. Department of Education's Constitution Day website.
  • Center for Civic Education website.

Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s Law and Citizenship Conference is Sept. 22-23

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education’s Law and Citizenship Conference will be held on Sept. 22-23 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin, Ohio. The conference offers interactive and engaging workshops for teachers of civics, government, law and related subjects. Teachers will take home ready-to-use lessons and resources and be prepared to spark lively classroom discussions and sharpen students’ analytical skills. Additionally, the 2014 Mock Trial case will be released at the conference. For more information, click here or contact Tim Kalgreen at tkalgreen@oclre.org.

Ohio Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference Sept. 30-Oct.1

The Ohio Council for the Social Studies annual conference will be held Sept. 30-Oct.1 at the Quest Business and Conference Center in Columbus. This year’s theme, Global Vision, Local Action, is a reflection of the council’s efforts to help teachers and educational professionals in the field and to advocate for changes at the state level to ensure that we are “Educating Ohio’s Citizens for Tomorrow’s World.” Click here for more information about this year’s conference and to register.

Facing History Back to School refresher workshop Sept. 12 at John Carroll University

Facing History is offering a back to school workshop for teachers on Sept. 12 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at John Carroll University. Teachers will be sharing new resources, reintroducing old favorites and helping each other think about how to begin the school year with Facing History’s content. For more information, click here.   

Facing History offers workshop on anti-Semitism Oct. 9 in Beachwood

Facing History will hold an interactive workshop on the history of anti-Semitism on Oct. 9 at the Maltz Museum in Beachwood. This workshop will draw largely from the publication, A Convenient Hatred: The History of Anti-Semitism and the Maltz Museum's exhibit, "The Dreyfus Affair.” For more information, visit here.

Ohio YMCA Youth in Government - civic engagement at its best

YMCA Youth in Government is a youth-led, experiential learning opportunity for students in grades 8-12 that encourages personal growth and lifelong, responsible citizenship. Each April, the program hosts a three-day conference, bringing students from all over Ohio together in Columbus to participate directly in a simulation of the legislative and judicial process. Visit www.ohioymcas.org to learn more. For more information or to schedule an onsite visit contact Charlie Myers at cmyers@ohioymcas.org.

Know an excellent Ohio teacher or student in economics/financial literacy?

The H.K. Barker Center for Economic Education at the University of Akron is committed to recognizing excellent teachers and students in Northeast Ohio for their performance and commitment to the study of economics and/or financial literacy. You can nominate a teacher or student for this award here.  

Looking for meaningful professional development in economics or financial literacy?

The H.K. Barker Center for Economic Education at The University of Akron is sponsoring a variety of professional development events (face-to-face and online) that allow participants to earn contact hours and graduate credit. In fact, those participants that complete the face-to-face workshops earn a free stipend, a certificate of completion and many useful resources. For additional information and to register, visit here.

Holocaust education program provides first-person perspective for students

The Face to Face Holocaust education program conducted by Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood gives students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor, son or daughter of a survivor, or a liberator and hear their personal story.  The three-hour sessions are available on many Tuesday and Thursday mornings and some Wednesday mornings from October through May. The Face to Face fieldtrip may be used as a supplement for literature, writing or social studies classes.  For more information and to learn about the cost of the program, please contact Louise Freilich at face2face@shaareytikvah.org or at 216-765-8300, ext. 140. 

2013-2014 Liberty Fund Seminars

The Ashbrook Center and Liberty Fund are joining together to offer a series of six colloquia during the 2013-2014 school year for teachers of American history or government. These colloquia are designed to explore the meaning of liberty in the U.S. Constitution by focusing on a series of consequential presidencies and on the theme of American Exceptionalism.

Seminars run Friday through Sunday afternoons. Attendees are required to read a set of primary source documents and to engage in formal and informal conversation with up to 20 colleagues over the course of the weekend. Participants will receive a $425 stipend to cover the cost of travel. Food and lodging are provided. For seminar dates and additional details, click here.  

First Freedom Center video and essay contest

The First Freedom Center is sponsoring an essay and video contest for high-school students an opportunity to explore the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom. 

Participating students must register online by Nov. 18 and the essay and accompanying materials must be postmarked by Nov. 25. Winners will be announced on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on April 13, 2014. For more information, including topic, guidelines and other important details, click here

Holocaust and Human Behavior Online Course

How is history shaped by hatred, indifference, and denial, as well as by caring, compassion, and responsibility? Using Facing History’s unique sequence of study, teachers will explore the range of choices that led to the failure of democracy and ultimately the murder of millions of Jews and other targeted groups. The seminar investigates the complexities of human behavior, judgment, memory, and how individuals can make a difference in the world today. This online course will take place from Oct. 10 – Dec. 12. Apply online here.   

First Freedom Student Competition

The First Freedom Student Competition is a first-semester national essay and video contest. It offers high-school students an opportunity to compete for $2,500 awards as they examine the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom, and then, by written essay or video production, present their evaluation.  The competition is open to students in the United States and U.S. territories, and to American schools and American home-schooled students worldwide.  Students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. The online student registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 18. The postmark deadline for mailing the entry and its accompanying materials is Nov. 25. Winners will be announced on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, 2014.  For more information, including topic, guidelines and other important details, click here

Choices in Little Rock online course

In 1957, nine black teenagers faced angry mobs on their first day of school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their attempt to desegregate Central High School ignited a crisis that historian Taylor Branch described as “the most severe test of the Constitution since the Civil War.” Using the resource, Choices in Little Rock, participants examine ways to engage students in the issues raised by the U.S. civil rights movement and their implications for today.  This online course takes place over seven weeks, from Oct. 10 – Dec. 4. Apply online here

Web Resources
National Council for Geographic Education free webinars

The National Council for Geographic Education offers a number of free webinars to help promote geographic literacy in the schools.   


IWitness is an online application for educators and students, giving them access to watch, search and learn from over 1,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. IWitness is unique by bringing educators and their students (ages 13-18) together at the intersection of Holocaust education and the development of critical multi-literacies for the 21st century. The 1,000 plus video testimonies available within the IWitness application are part of an archive of nearly 52,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses maintained by the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation, established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg.

Lesson plans on Prohibition available

Bring the people, places and history of the Prohibition era alive with new, interactive lessons from Bill of Rights Institute. In "The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," students will learn about the background of the 18th Amendment, the individuals who fought for and against Prohibition and its eventual repeal. They will use their new knowledge as well as their drawing skills to get classmates to identify and define key terms in a game of Prohibition Pictionary. Finally, they will learn about the roles of historical figures from the era by taking on their identities for a dinner party. Use any or all of these hands-on, modular activities to teach this important part of our history. Download them for free today.

The Avalon Project: Yale Law School

This Avalon Project website offers full text documents of American law, history and diplomacy.

Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

This site from the U.S. Government Printing Office provides learning tools for K-12 students and teachers. The resources can be used to teach how our government works. It also links to other government educational sites.

Best Practices for teaching history in middle and high school classrooms

From the National History Education Clearinghouse, a project of George Mason University and Stanford University History Education Group, this website on best practices offers strategies for teaching historical interpretation, using primary sources, examples of historical thinking and teaching with textbooks.

Bridging World History

The World History Traveler is a thematically-organized interactive that helps teachers and students learn more about the patterns and processes that make up world history. Designed for use as both professional development and classroom materials for AP-level courses. Teachers can download content overviews, selected readings, bibliographies, activities and more from the 26 units available.

Video from the Bicentennial of the Constitution Available on YouTube

An Introduction to the Political Philosophy of the Constitution, a 1987 video produced by the Center for Civic Education as part of the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, is now available on YouTube. In the video, Professor Duane Smith speaks about some of the basic ideas underlying the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Learn more

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