Social Studies Signal

Social Studies Signal

March 2023- Social Studies Signal Newsletter


Updates from the Ohio Department of Education

Ohio Materials Matter: Ohio educators share best practices for adopting materials

Join EdReports and the Department on March 9 at 3:30 p.m. for a statewide webinar to hear from local school districts and educational service centers supporting high-quality instructional materials through smart adoption practices. Panelists will share best practices, strategies and resources that have helped them plan and implement a successful adoption.

Register here for this webinar to explore ways that instructional materials can be used to ensure every student has access to a high-quality education. Additional information about this webinar and the entire statewide series for districts and schools can be found on the Ohio Materials Matter Professional Learning webpage.

Send questions about the webinar to

Ohio Teacher of the Year Nominations open Feb 1- March 31

More than an award, the Ohio Teacher of the Year program offers a way to elevate the teaching profession by identifying exceptional teachers as leaders and celebrating their inspiring dedication to student success and public education.

The nomination period for the 2024 Ohio Teacher of the Year is open Feb.1 through March 31.
Candidates for Ohio Teacher of the Year must:
  • Hold a valid Ohio Professional Teaching License or a Career Technical Teaching License;
  • Be currently completing their 10th year or more of teaching; and
  • Be employed full-time in a state-approved public school, community school or career-technical center.
Candidates also must work directly with students at least 50% of the time, have received no previous Ohio Teacher of the Year recognition and plan to continue in active teaching status.

Anyone may nominate a teacher. School administrators, colleagues, community members, parents or students may submit a nomination for one or multiple teachers from a district or school building. (Self-nominations are not accepted.) 

Nominate a teacher Feb. 1-March 31. 

For more information, visit the Ohio Teacher of the Year webpage. Direct questions to Angela Dicke, Ohio Teacher of the Year state program coordinator.

Traveling African American children’s literature exhibit available to schools

The Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum at Miami University is making available to schools a traveling exhibit based on children's picture books. Telling A People's Story: African-American Children's Illustrated Literature explores the art in children's picture books through the lens of African American history and cultural identity. Thanks to a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, more than 70 venues across the country have hosted the panel exhibition.

Ohio public schools can rent the exhibit for free to display to students, especially elementary school students, for as few as two weeks. Schools can pay $200 to have the exhibit shipped or pick up the exhibit by courier for free from the preceding venue. The exhibit consists of 12 panels that are easy to set up. Miami University also offers teacher resources to incorporate the exhibit into classroom lessons.
For more information about hosting this exhibition, click here or contact Jason E. Shaiman, curator of exhibitions for the art museum.

Enter National Education Center for State Courts Civics Education Essay Contest by March 22

The National Center for State Courts is hosting an essay contest for students in grades 3-12. Contestants can win cash prizes for answering one of two writing prompts based on student grade level. This year both prompts address freedom of speech.

Complete rules, entry requirements and other details are available on the Civics Education Essay Contest webpage. Entries are due March 22.

Call for proposals: OCALICONLINE 2023

The Department and OCALI invite educators to be part of the premier autism and disabilities conference Nov. 14-17. The OCALICONLINE 2023 call for proposals is open now. Conference organizers are accepting proposals for panel discussions, facilitated discussions, research posters, demonstrations and traditional lectures. Find complete details here. The proposal deadline is March 31.
Presenters will join thousands of autism and disability leaders from throughout Ohio, across the nation and around the world for four days of online active, engaged learning, networking and planning. Sessions focus across settings of home, school, community and workplace and cover a variety of topics that range from academic supports, behavior, literacy, policy and legislation, mental health, Multi-Tiered System of Support, peer engagement, leadership and many more.

Video series explores place-based local history projects

The video series, “Place Based Local History Projects,” examines how educators are using place-based history projects in the classroom. These projects help teachers engage students in the hands-on exploration of the history in their own communities. In addition to an overview of what place-based history projects are, the series highlights two projects from Ohio classrooms. The featured projects allowed students to discover missing pieces of Black history in their communities.
The video series was created by the Broadcast Educational Media Commission, the Department and WOUB Public Media as a part of the Multimedia Grant project.

Office Hours with Ohio Department of Education Program Specialists

Ohio educators can schedule office hours directly with Ohio's Social Studies and Financial Literacy consultants, Justin Leach and Linda McKean, using the Microsoft Teams Bookings links below: 

News from Education Organizations

March is Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum publish a website that commemorates and encourages the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Additionally, the National Museum of American History presents a variety of programs in March to commemorate Women’s History Month.

Facing History and Ourselves Expands Teaching Resources Library

Facing History & Ourselves recently published two, free inquiry-based lesson plans: “We the People: Expanding the Teaching of the US Founding” and “Angel Island Immigration Station: Exploring Borders and Belonging in US History.” 

Professional Learning Opportunities

Register Today for the 2023 Teaching Financial Literacy Conference

Registration is open for the H.K. Barker Center for Economic Education's 2023 Teaching Financial Literacy Conference scheduled for July 6-7, 2023, in Akron, Ohio. Sub-themes for the conference include: 
  • Credit & Debt
  • Insurance & Risk Management
  • Budget & Financial Planning
  • Investing 
  • Informed Consumer 
  • Entrepreneurship 
  • Economic Education 
  • Ohio's New Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement
  • Educator Licensure 

2023 Civics for All of US Teacher Institute with the National Archives

The National Archives invites teachers working with grades 3–12 to apply for the inaugural Civics for All of US Teacher Institute in Washington, DC, from July 17–21, 2023. This five-day institute will include hands-on sessions featuring strategies for teaching civics with primary sources, special tours and activities in the National Archives Museum, guest speakers and site visits to different landmarks and museums in the nation’s capital. Each participant will receive a stipend to help cover travel and other expenses. Learn more here and apply by 03/31/23. 

NCSS and C3 Teachers Announce the 9th Annual IDM Institute

The 2023 IDM Summer Institute | Social Studies will be online July 17-18. Sponsored by C3 Teachers and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the workshop will assist teachers in learning about inquiry-based teaching and learning and the Inquiry Design Model (IDM). Participants will engage in hands-on learning by designing inquiry-based lesson plans.

2023 Summer Professional Development with the Gilder Lehrman Institute

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History invites teachers to explore the American presidency further with their 2023 Summer professional development offerings See the complete list of 2023 Summer PD opportunities here.  

Teaching American History Seminars  invites educators to participate in conversational seminars that explore themes in American history and self-government by studying original historical documents. Upcoming seminars include: 

Other Resources, News and Information

Address Rising Antisemitism with Resources from the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center

What is antisemitism, and why does it matter today? In this new interactive lesson from the Nancy & David Holocaust & Humanity Center, students will develop an understanding of Jewish identity and historical and contemporary antisemitism. Students will watch testimony from local survivors, analyze visual imagery and examine sources relating to laws and propaganda to understand antisemitism throughout history. The Holocaust & Humanity Center invites educators to download the lesson here and learn more on their curricular resource page

New Personal Finance Resource from NextGen Personal Finance

Next Gen Personal Finance is an endowment-funded nonprofit that provides personal finance curriculum and professional development – at no cost.
NGPF has created a crosswalk document that aligns its free curriculum with Ohio's Learning Standards for Financial Literacy. This planning resource links to individual lessons and supplementary resources aligned to each standard. Each lesson includes a discussion prompt, engaging content, hands-on activity, and an exit ticket. Educators must create a free NGPF Teacher Account to access the answer keys and assessments.
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