Social Studies Signal

Social Studies Signal

Dec. 2021-Jan. 2022


Updates from the Ohio Department of Education

Social Studies Instructional Strategies and Support on INFOhio

The Department has completed a review and posted draft versions of the instructional strategies and supports that Ohio educators vetted before the pandemic. The documents are available on INFOhio: 

January Social Studies Office Hours

Social Studies Office Hours will occur on Jan. 18 from 2:30-4 p.m. Office hours are a time for social studies educators across Ohio to connect with the Department's social studies consultants to ask questions and receive needed support. Educators can join the office hours via Microsoft Teams. Click here to join the meeting.

News from Other Organizations

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

To commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17) or support instruction at other points in the year, several institutions provide instructional resources and programs for various grade levels to teach students about Dr. King's life, impact and legacy. 

Shine a Light on Antisemitism Initiative   

Shine a Light is a national initiative to raise awareness about antisemitism through education. To support this initiative, Facing History and Ourselves has shared teaching ideas and lesson plans to "support students in thinking critically about antisemitic ideas and messages and learn how to confront the contemporary manifestations of this ancient hatred." 
Facing History and Ourselves also will offer a mini-course beginning in January called Brave Classrooms: Taking on Antisemitism in Schools.

Ohio Center for Law-Related Education Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education seeks volunteers for its winter civics education programs online. Volunteers will need a working internet connection, a computer with a camera and microphone and familiarity with or willingness to learn the Zoom software. Interested volunteers can learn more about the OCLRE programs on its website. Please direct questions to OCLRE at or call 614-485-3510. 

Kids Voting Ohio Mock Elections Program

The Kids Voting Ohio Mock Election is free to educators and gives students a chance to learn the importance of voting and civic involvement in an engaging and fun way. In early November, students in grades 2-12 learned about the voting process from registering to vote, learning about issues and candidates and casting their votes.
Kids Voting Ohio will offer another round of mock elections in the spring. If your school is interested in participating, follow this link to register.

University of Cincinnati Economics Center $martPath Program

$martPath is an engaging, interactive and easy-to-use way for elementary and middle school teachers to embed relevant and fun economic and financial education in their classrooms to boost students' financial literacy. And the best part? It's free! 
Developed by leading practitioners working hand-in-hand with teachers, The $martPath Platform provides simple, fun lessons that bring economic and financial education to life in the classroom. Through grade-appropriate, curriculum-aligned, interactive lessons, $martPath units teach students about personal financial responsibility (such as saving, prudent spending and prioritizing needs and wants). 
Sign up for free.

Professional Learning Opportunities

2022 Summer Professional Development Opportunities in Social Studies

The Council of State Social Studies Supervisors created a document to communicate the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators. Many of the listed offerings are free or low cost. Options highlighted in yellow are programs where 2022 updates are not yet available. The council will update the document through the spring of 2022. Please email Stefanie Wager at with any questions, comments or additions for this list.

Accessing Inquiry for Students with Disabilities through Primary Sources Online Workshop

Emerging America, a Collaborative for Educational Services program, offers a workshop beginning in January on Accessing Inquiry for Students with Disabilities through Primary Sources. The workshop partners with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. The workshop cost is $195 for collaborative members and $230 for non-members.

2022 Stanford History Education Group Professional Development

The Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) announced its 2022 professional development institutes. Offerings include institutes focused on assessing historical thinking, civic online reasoning and strategies for reading like a historian with younger students. The institutes do have a tuition cost, but SHEG offers a limited number of scholarships for teachers that can verify current employment at Title I schools. 

National Consortium for Teaching About Asia Professional Development Programs 

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) will offer educators free, virtual professional development in spring and summer 2022. The East Asian Studies Center at The Ohio State University provides further details about this professional development opportunity. 

Native Knowledge 360° Workshop Series

In January, the National Museum of the American Indian begins a three-part webinar series entitled Indigenous Women: Artists and Activists. The webinar series is part of the Museum's Native Knowledge 360° Teacher Workshop Series. Registration is free and supported by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative.

Summer Residential Programs at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

George Washington's Mount Vernon is accepting applications for a free, five-day immersive professional development program at Mount Vernon during the summer of 2022. The Mount Vernon website offers more details about the programs available. Applications close on Jan. 17, 2022.

Other Social Studies Resources, News and Information

Virtually Transport Students to Historic Presidential Sites with the Presidential Primary Sources Project

The Presidential Primary Sources Project presents live, interactive discussions and uses primary source documents to understand our nation's presidents. The programs are free and provided through a partnership between Internet2, the National Park Service, and the National Archives. 

Research: Political Discussions Focused on Consensus, More Comfortable, Less Divisive For Students

From North Carolina State University:

A new study found more U.S. high school students felt respected in a political discussion designed as a deliberation – where the goal was to reach consensus – than in a group debate, and their views also moved closer toward agreement. Students engaged in group debate were generally more polarized after the activity.

Read more about the findings of this study on North Carolina State University's website.

The resources in this newsletter are free and have been reviewed using the Department’s Social Studies resource filter against established criteria. Copies of the completed filter forms are available upon request. Inclusion in this newsletter does not represent a recommendation to use a resource. Many quality resources are available beyond those included here. Educators should use their professional expertise to determine the suitability of any particular resources for use in their districts, schools or classrooms.

Send comments/questions to:

Justin Leach, Social Studies Consultant, Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies

Linda McKean, Social Studies Consultant, Office of Learning and Instructional Strategies