SSE 5500: Advanced Social Studies Curriculum and Instructional Methods

Fall 2012


Course Description:  This course, which may use lecture, workshop, and demonstration formats, has several related components.  It reviews history and social science content, introduces strategies for promoting active learning, and enables the student to integrate both into effective instructional plans.  Students will also develop instructional technology competencies required for professional effectiveness. 

Course Objectives:  Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of social studies as a curriculum area, proficiency in each of the content-area competencies required for state licensure, familiarity with adopted texts and supplementary materials, and commitment to continued professional development.  Students will be able to design instruction appropriate for middle school (6-9) and secondary (9-12) courses in the current North Carolina Social Studies Curriculum Framework.

Instructional Strategies:  This course will employ a combination of in-class and online teaching methods that may include direct instruction, discussion, cooperative learning, and discovery learning.  Discussion boards on Blackboard will be used extensively as well as in-class teaching demonstrations and self- and peer-evaluations.

Required Text:  Donald R. Cruickshank, Deborah Bainer Jenkins, and Kim K. Metcalf, The Act of Teaching, 6th ed.

Grading Scale: 
A            94-100
A-            90-93
B+            87-89
B            84-86
B-            80-83
C+            77-79
C            74-76
C-            70-73
F            0-69

Teaching philosophy 5%
Long-range objectives 5%
Lesson plans 10%
Teacher-made assessments 5%
Classroom management 5%
Microteaching 30%
Participation 40%

Blackboard Discussions, Assignments, and Class Meetings:  Blackboard discussions will be symposia where the assigned readings are discussed and students demonstrate mastery of the skills learned from the literature. Each student should post a substantive (no less than 200 words) analysis (do not simply summarize the reading) on a topic of interest from each chapter by 11:59 p.m. each Friday.  You should respond to at least two of your classmates’ initial posts no later than noon on the following Monday.  These responses should also be substantive critiques (either positive or negative but always polite and professional) and not simple “I agree” or “I disagree” statements.  Bear in mind that 40 percent of your final grade rests on these online discussions.  I expect them to reflect the type of discussions we would have in a normal face-to-face seminar setting.  I will, from time to time, guide the discussion in a particular direction, post additional observations to which you should respond, and generally moderate the overall content and quality of our conversations.  You, however, are primarily responsible for making online discussions a beneficial part of your learning experience.  You should study the material, analyze the content, and challenge each other with your own observations and experiences.  Class members who do not meet the minimum participation requirements each week will be marked absent.  Having more than one absence may result in a substantial reduction of your final grade.

Students will write a brief (250-500 word) essay describing your teaching philosophy and why you are pursuing a career in education. You will also write instructional objectives, long-range plans, unit plans, and lesson plans using the Common Core State and North Carolina Essential Standards (, along with a variety of instructional strategies. You will demonstrate your ability to assess students, create grading systems, integrate technology into your classrooms, and develop classroom management plans.  You will also be required to critique the work of your classmates, offering support and helpful suggestions for improvement.  Students will make field observations in local public schools and will practice critical teaching skills through microteaching exercises. 

The aforementioned writing assignments are the “nuts-and-bolts” exercises that will provide you with a basic foundation for success (or survival) in the classroom.  I feel it is imperative that you follow the instructions for completing these assignments with great precision and to my satisfaction.  Therefore, if you do not complete each assignment to my satisfaction I will return it to you with suggestions for improvement.  You should then make the necessary corrections and resubmit the assignment within 48 hours of my sending it to you.  (In other words, check your email often.)  Each resubmission will result in a ten-point reduction in your grade for that exercise.  (For instance, if you submit the assignment correctly the first time you will receive an A.  If I must return the original exercise and you resubmit it once, then you will receive a B.  If I must return it to you again and you submit the assignment a third time, you will receive a grade of C.)  All assignments must be completed—even if they are late.  Any student who does not turn in an assignment will receive a substantial reduction of your final grade.

The class will meet face-to-face three times – during Weeks 6, 8, and 10 – for teaching demonstrations.  Each student will present a lesson to the class, which will be videotaped, and then we will critique each presentation.  It is imperative that you attend each of these sessions in order to receive the full benefit of your classmates’ observations.  Having more than one absence may result in a substantial reduction of your final grade.

Communication Policy:  Be sure to familiarize yourself with all Blackboard functions and let me know if you have trouble with any of them.  All written assignments should be emailed to me at  Email, Discussion Boards, and the Announcements section of Blackboard will be the primary means of communication in the course.  Students should regularly check their University email accounts and the Announcements section of Blackboard for information about the course. It is the students’ responsibility to consult these sources and be aware of any announcements or revisions to the course schedule.

Attendance and Make-up Policies:  Please consult the section on Class Attendance Policy in the catalog ( for official University policy.  Assignments must be completed on the date due.  Students may lose ten percentage points for each calendar day the assignment is late.

Withdrawal from the Course:  The last day you may drop this course with a grade of “W” is Friday October 12, 2012.

Grade Notification:  To protect the confidentiality of student records, I will not discuss grades via the telephone or email.  Please see me personally or consult Braveweb or Blackboard if you wish to know your grades.

Students with Documented Disabilities: Any student with a documented learning, physical, chronic health, psychological, visual or hearing disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor as early in the semester as possible (preferably within the first week).  All discussions will remain confidential.  This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.  Please contact Disability Support Services, DF Lowry Building, Room 107 or call 910.521.6695.

Religious Holiday Policy:
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays; we must be careful not to inhibit or penalize these students for exercising their rights to religious observance.  To accommodate students’ religious holidays, each student will be allowed two excused absences each semester with the following conditions:

  1. Students, who submit written notification to their instructors within two weeks of the beginning of the semester, shall be excused from class or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holy day of their faith.  Excused absences are limited to two class sessions (days) per semester. 
  2. Students shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.
  3. Students should not be penalized due to absence from class or other scheduled academic activity because of religious observances.  

A student who is to be excused from class for a religious observance is not required to provide a second-party certification of the reason for the absence.  Furthermore, a student who believes that he or she has been unreasonably denied an education benefit due to religious beliefs or practices may seek redress through the student grievance procedure.

Academic Honesty: Academic misconduct in any form will not be tolerated.  It is your responsibility to recognize and understand the various types of academic misconduct, including plagiarism.  Please consult the Academic Honor Code in the Student Handbook or at UNCP’s Division of Student Affairs website ( for official guidelines regarding the definition and handling of academic misconduct. You may also consult the American Historical Association’s website for more information regarding plagiarism:

Course Schedule:

IMPORTANT: This class will not meet face-to-face until Week Six.  Please consult Blackboard for specific instructions for each assignment.

Week 1 (August 21)
Topic: Effective Teachers
Readings: chapters 1, 10, 11
Assignment: teaching philosophy due; discussion board

Week 2 (August 28)
Topic: Classroom Management
Readings: chapter 12; James S. Cangelosi, “Thinking About Teaching Students to Cooperate,” in Classroom Management Strategies: Gaining and Maintaining Students’ Cooperation (New York: Longman, Inc., 1988), pp. 14-41.
Assignment: classroom management plan due; field observations; discussion board

Week 3 (September 4)
Topic: Long-range Planning
Readings: chapters 4, 6
Assignment: long-range objectives and plans due; discussion board

Week 4 (September 11)
Topic: The Students We Teach
Readings: chapters 2, 3, 5
Assignment: field observations; discussion board

Week 5 (September 18)
Topic: Instructional Alternatives: Presentation/Direct Instruction, Independent Study, and Individualized Instruction
Readings: chapters 7, 8
Assignment: lesson plans for presentation/direct instruction, independent study, and individualized instruction due; discussion board

Week 6 (September 25)
Topic: Teaching Demonstrations
Assignment: present a five- to seven-minute introduction of presentation/direct instruction for teaching demonstration

Week 7 (October 2)
Topic: Instructional Alternatives: Discussion, Cooperative Learning, Discovery Learning/Constructivism
Readings: chapters 7, 8
Assignment: lesson plans for discussion, cooperative learning, and discovery learning/constructivism due; discussion board

Week 8 (October 9)
Topic: Teaching Demonstrations
Assignment: present a 10-12 minute lesson that builds on the previous teaching demonstration

Week 9 (October 16)
Topic: Evaluating Student Learning
Readings: chapter 9
Assignment: teacher-made assessments due; discussion board

Week 10 (October 23)
Topic: Teaching Demonstrations
Assignment: present a 10-15 minute lesson using one of the following instructional alternatives: discussion, cooperative learning, or discovery learning/constructivism

UNCP Master’s Degree Standards: 

A. Instructional Expertise 

The candidate demonstrates instructional expertise by applying the theoretical, philosophical, and research bases for educational practice in P-12 settings to improve student learning.

B. Knowledge of Learners
The candidate incorporates knowledge of the nature of the learner, learning processes, variations in learning abilities and learning styles, and strategies for evaluating learning into the planning, delivery, and evaluation of instruction.

C. Research
The candidate uses research to examine and improve instructional effectiveness and student achievement.

D. Content Knowledge
The candidate demonstrates advanced depth and breadth of knowledge and skills in the academic discipline and in education. 

E. Professional Development and Leadership
The candidate engages in continued professional development and provides leadership at the classroom, school, and community levels, and within the profession.

Conceptual Framework:  UNCP is committed to preparing professional educators who are committed, collaborative, and competent.  These educators should be committed to the mission of public schooling, committed to high standards for their students and themselves, and committed to their profession.  They should collaborate with the professional educators with whom they work, collaborate with students’ families, and collaborate with others in the community of learners, such as representatives from businesses, civic organizations, and nonprofit groups.  Finally, this program prepares professional educators who are competent.  They should possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to perform their entry-level and advanced roles and responsibilities in the public schools effectively.

Relationship of Course to UNCP Master’s Degree Standards:  This course is the first of a two-course sequence for social studies education students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.  It prepares students to plan and implement instructional activities.  Specifically, this course equips students to meet the following master’s degree standards:  A, B, C, D.

Specific Competencies:  To assist the social studies licensure candidate in learning to become an effective professional teacher, students will:

  • Acquire the ability to use facts, concepts, and generalizations from the several social sciences to provide insights into the political, social, and economic behavior of people and the societies they create.
  • Develop constructive attitudes toward diversity, change, conflict, and uncertainty.
  • Develop the ability to formulate appropriate objectives and use a variety of effective instructional strategies, resources, and assessment techniques for year plans, unit plans, and daily lesson plans.
  • Become familiar with a broad range of teaching strategies and develop the ability to select instructional techniques appropriate to the goals and objectives of a given lesson.
  • Develop the ability to present a coherent and well-designed lesson to students and to assess the effectiveness of that lesson and the instructional strategies used.
  • Develop the ability to locate and use a broad range of resources.
  • Acquire the ability to design lessons that develop the skills of inquiry, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • Develop the ability to use various formal and informal evaluative devices, including teacher-made and standardized tests, and to assess the effectiveness of a given body of instruction.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the contemporary place of social studies in the secondary school curriculum, with particular attention to the current North Carolina Social Studies curriculum, and be familiar with recent trends and their significance for social studies educators.
  • Develop classroom management skills consistent with current professional standards.
  • Exhibit a working knowledge of media, computer hardware, CAI, CMI, authoring programs, and peripheral devices and the ability to make them an integral component of social studies instruction.
  • Develop a professional attitude toward the teaching profession, the school, and the community.

Bibliography of Relevant Readings:

Airasian, P. W. (2001).  Classroom Assessment.  New York: McGraw-Hill.

Canter, L. (1996).  First, the Rapport—Then, the Rules.  Learning, 24(5), 12-14.

Cruickshank, D. (1990).  Research that Informs Teachers and Teacher Educators.  Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa.

Ehrenberg, R., Goldhaber, D., and Brewer, D.  (1995, April).  Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 48(3), 547-561.

Ellis, A. (2001).  Teaching, Learning and Assessment Together: The Reflective Classroom.  Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Haertel. E. (1999).  Performance Assessment and Education Reform.  Phi Delta Kappan, 80(9), 662-667.

Sharp, V. (2005).  Computer Education for Teachers.  Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Slavin, R. E. (2002).  Educational Psychology: Theory into Practice.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Wagner, T. (2001, December 5).  The case for “New Village Schools”: Education Week, 21(14), 42, 56.

Werner, E. E., and Smith, R. S. (1994).  Overcoming the Odds: High-Risk Children from birth to Adulthood.  Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Woolfolk, A. (2003).  Educational Psychology.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Publishers.

Zahorik, J. (9187).  The Effects of Planning on Teaching.  The Elementary School Journal, 71, 143-151.

    Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012