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Increasing Rigor in the Social Studies Classroom


Increasing Rigor in the Social Studies Classroom May 17, 2012 Social Studies Department Chairperson Meeting Rigor, Rigor! What is Rigor? Rigor, We hear it all the time! – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Increasing Rigor in the Social Studies Classroom

Increasing Rigor in the Social Studies Classroom
  • May 17, 2012
  • Social Studies Department Chairperson Meeting

Rigor, Rigor! What is Rigor?
  • Rigor, We hear it all the time!
  • What is Rigor?

Defining Rigor What it looks like
  • Academic rigor can be defined as the set of
    standards we set for our students and the
    expectations we have for our students and
  • Rigor includes our basic philosophy of learning
    we expect our students to demonstrate not only
    content mastery, but applied skills and critical
    thinking about the disciplines being taught.
  • Rigor also means that we expect much from
    ourselves, our colleagues, and our institutions
    of learning.

Outcomes of Rigor
  • Clear expectations define what students should
    know and be able to do.
  • Higher test scores.
  • Improved writing skills.
  • Attaining the benchmarks at each grade level.
  • Utilizing higher ordered thinking skills.

Rigor in the Classroom
  • Develop a set of best management practices for
    promoting academic excellence through rigor in
    the classroom.
  • Develop strategies for establishing instructional
    goals for academic excellence and for documenting
    progress toward these goals.
  • Assess our current understanding of rigor in the

Components of Rigor
  • -Assists students in fulfilling predetermined
    outcomes and competencies by challenging them
    with high expectations.
  • -Essential components of rigor in the classroom
  • Content acquisition
  • Critical thinking
  • Relevance
  • Integration
  • Application of concepts
  • Long term retention
  • Responsibility

  • What strategies do you use with your students to
    analyze the following
  • Textbooks
  • Poems
  • Documents
  • Speeches
  • Lyrics
  • Readings

Introduction to SOAPStonE!
  • What is SOAPSTonE?
  • A strategy that can be used to analyze speeches,
    letters, political cartoons, posters, photos,
    artist representations, or almost ANY other
    primary source.
  • It will help the student build skills in
  • Developing arguments
  • Analyzing points of view
  • The situation/context
  • Bias
  • Change over time
  • The overall goal is to help the student better
    understand the time period and people of it by
    examining their points of view and drawing
    connections between all of them.

Part of SOAPSTonE includes
  • Strategy questions addressing
  • Speaker
  • Occasion
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • Subject
  • Tone
  • Evidence (new one!)

Who is the Speaker?
  • Remember that it is not enough simply to name the
    speaker. What can you say about the speaker based
    on references to the text?
  • Identifying the speakers values, biases and
  • Can the speaker be trusted?

What is the Occasion?
  • Discuss and record both the larger occasion, that
    is, those issues or ideas that must have made the
    speaker think about this issue, as well as the
    immediate occasion.
  • What specific set of circumstances prompted the
    writer to write?

Who is the Audience?
  • At whom is the text directed? Its not enough to
    say, Anyone who reads it. You will want to
    identify a certain audience by describing some of
    its characteristics.
  • Who will hear or read the message?
  • Is the audience open to the message?
  • What are this audiences biases/values?

What is the Purpose?
  • The purpose could be a personal one, decide what
    the message is and how the author wants this
    audience to respond.
  • What is the main purpose (argument)?
  • Why was the document produced?
  • What change do they want to accomplish?

What is the Subject?
  • What is the focus of the piece?
  • What is the topic of this text?
  • What is this work about?
  • What is the main topic of the document?

What is the Tone?
  • Try to choose a description of the tone that fits
    the piece as a whole. Include specific words or
    phrases from the text and explain how they
    support your statement.
  • What feeling or attitude does the document
  • What is the authors attitude and what emotions
    do they rely upon within their argument?

What is Evidence? (new one)
  • What evidence does the speaker give to prove
    his/her argument?
  • (Taking it to the next level, step!!!)
  • Use this stem sentence To prove the idea that
    _______, the speaker (says, points out, shows,
    etc. ) _____________________.

Can SOAPSTonE be used for this?
Republican Party 1860 Abraham Lincoln
Northern Democratic Party 1860 Stephen A.
Southern Democratic Party 1860 John C.
Constitutional / Whig Party 1860 John Bell
Benchmarks Connection to Pacing Guide Middle
  • 7TH GRADE CIVICS - 2nd Nine Weeks Grading
  • Content Benchmarks
  • SS.7.C.2.9 Evaluate candidates for political
    office by analyzing their qualifications,
    experience, issue-based platforms, debates, and
    political ads.
  • 8th GRADE US HISTORY 4th Nine Weeks Grading
  • Content Benchmarks
  • SS.8.A.5.1 Explain the causes, course, and
    consequence of the Civil War (sectionalism,
    slavery, states' rights, balance of power in the
  • SS.8.A.5.4 Identify the division (Confederate and
    Union States, Border states, western territories)
    of the United States at the outbreak of the Civil
  • SS.8.A.1.6 Compare interpretations of key events
    and issues throughout American History.

Benchmarks Connection to Pacing Guide High
  • 11TH GRADE US History 1st Nine Weeks Grading
  • Content Benchmarks
  • SS.912.A.2.1 Review the causes and consequences
    of the Civil War. (Tested Benchmark)
  • Skill Benchmarks
  • SS.912.A.1.1 Describe the importance of
    historiography, which includes how historical
    knowledge is obtained and transmitted, when
    interpreting events in history.
  • SS.912.A.1.2 Utilize a variety of primary and
    secondary sources to identify author, historical
    significance, audience, and authenticity to
    understand a historical period.
  • SS.912.A.1.4 Analyze how images, symbols,
    objects, cartoons, graphs, charts, maps, and
    artwork may be used to interpret the significance
    of time periods and events from the past.

Incorporating SOAPSTonE
  • Introduce it after content lesson is taught,
    knowledge acquired.
  • Whole group first.
  • Start with a short document.
  • 1-2 steps (closure activity, bellringer on
    following class day).
  • Complete 4/5 times together before using it as an
    independent activity.

Lets do one together and Lets SING!!!
  • 1860 Election Song
  • Lincoln and Liberty OCCASION
  • Hurrah for the choice of the nation!
    AUDIENCE Our chieftan so brave and so true
    PURPOSE We'll
    go for the great Reformation
    SUBJECT For Lincoln and
    Liberty too! TONE     
  • We'll go for the son of Kentucky
    (Make connections to the overlying issues) The
    hero of Hoosierdom through The pride of the
    Suckers so lucky For Lincoln and Liberty too!
  • Our good David's sling is unerring, The
    Slaveocrat's giant he slew Then shout for the
    Freedom-preferring For Lincoln and Liberty too!

Group Activity
  • Read and Analyze one of the four 1860 National
    Presidential Election Platforms with your group
  • Use the SOAPSTonE strategy for your assigned
    Primary Source Document.
  • Choose a group leader to present your analysis in
    a few minutes.

  • Republican Party
  • Northern Democratic Party
  • Southern Democratic Party
  • Constitutional Party

Would this map been helpful?
1856 Election
Making those connections The Election of 1860 in
Modern Context
  • In recent memory, the most comparable situation
    to the election of 1860 was the presidential race
    between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Both
    elections followed similar patterns and the
    issues each candidate was presented were
    comparable. Bush won the election although Gore
    received the majority of the popular vote. Just
    like 1860, the Electoral College was the deciding
    factor. Oddly enough, both Lincoln and Bush
    inherited a war within a year of their
    inauguration. However, one major difference was
    the swap in States political affiliation in the
    elections. In 1860, the South voted primarily
    Democrat while the North was almost entirely
    Republican. These values have seen radical
    changes since then.
  • Next step, perhaps, teach a lesson on the
    Electoral College.

Final thoughts on incorporating SOAPSTonE in the
  • Increasing the rigor
  • Making the connections
  • Big picture (The significance of the election of
    1860)ramifications / results / connecting the
  • Raising the stakes
  • EOC connection
  • Writing tool using the completed chart
  • Deep analysis
  • Stepping stone

Helpful websites
  • Library of Congress
  • National Archives

Thank you for your cooperation!