SSE 5750: Social Studies Curriculum Transformation

Spring 2013

Course Description: 
This course enables students to transform social studies instruction by incorporating recent scholarship and innovative teaching strategies in the middle grades and 9-12 social studies classes they teach.  Topics will be addressed in ways designed to facilitate synthesis of academic learning and classroom experience.  Topics are also aligned with advanced professional standards. 

Course Goals: 
This course will enable students to provide professional leadership in curriculum development within a school or region, develop teaching strategies that promote critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills, and develop teaching strategies for diverse learners.  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 grades (6-9) and secondary (9-12) courses in the current North Carolina Social Studies Curriculum Framework.

Required Texts:
Stephanie Steffey and Wendy J. Hood, If This Is Social Studies, Why Isn’t It Boring? (York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers, 1994).
Mark Grabe and Cindy Grabe, Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006).
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).
Theda Perdue, Cherokee Women: Gender and Culture Change, 1700-1835 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).
Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi: An Autobiography (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1970).

Grading Scale: 
A         90-100
B         80-89
C         70-79
F          0-69

Critical analyses - 25%
Blackboard discussions - 25%
Unit plans - 25%
Historiographic essay - 25%

Assignments and Field-based Experiences: 
1) Blackboard discussions will be symposia where the assigned readings are discussed and students demonstrate mastery of the theory and skills learned from the literature.  Topics and assignments will be posted by Monday of each week.  Each student should (a) post at least one substantive (150-word minimum) observation of each book or series of articles by noon each Thursday, and should (b) respond to at least one of your classmates’ initial posts no later than noon on Saturday.  These Discussion Board observations are separate from the critical analyses described below.  The initial posts and responses should be substantive critiques (either positive or negative but always polite and professional) and not simple summaries or “I agree/I disagree” statements.  You may, however, incorporate your own personal experiences and observations into your critiques and responses.

Bear in mind that a significant portion 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 grade for the course.  You should also pay close attention to the deadlines for each Discussion Board post.  Late submissions may also result in a substantial reduction of your grade.

2) Each student will write a 500-word critical analysis for each book or series of articles assigned.  Where appropriate, you should clearly state the thesis, summarize important supporting arguments and secondary facts, and conclude with an evaluation of the validity of the author’s argument.  In some cases specific instructions for how to evaluate these works will be posted to the Assignments section of Blackboard. Please check this section each week. These essays should be submitted via email to according to the schedule in the Assignments section of Blackboard. 

3) To prepare you for the capstone project and to fulfill the requirements for a field-based experience, each student will write four, detailed unit plans based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study’s common core and essential standards.  These unit plans should include the concepts examined in this course; instructions for writing the unit plans will be posted to the Assignments section of Blackboard.  Where appropriate, you should integrate these concepts into your own classes, collect samples of student work (to be included in your capstone project), and evaluate the usefulness of these ideas and activities in a reflective essay.  (Note: The capstone project will not be completed in SSE 5750, but you should design these unit plans with that portfolio in mind.)

4) Also in partial fulfillment of the capstone project, each student will write an historiographic essay.  It is designed to demonstrate one’s depth of understanding and application of content knowledge in the specialty area.  Instructions for this exercise will be posted to the Assignments section of Blackboard.

Make-up Policy: 
Writing assignments must be turned in on the date due.  Students will lose ten percentage points for each calendar day the assignment is late.  Due dates for assignments in this class are, for the most part, nonnegotiable.  If you cannot submit assignments on time, you must provide me with convincing documentation explaining why you need an extension of the deadline.  If for any reason you cannot participate in the Blackboard discussion on a given week, you should contact me immediately to provide a detailed explanation for why you are unable to participate and to receive an alternative assignment.  All assignments must be submitted to receive credit for the course.

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:

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 sent to my university email account.  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.  If you have trouble with your email account or believe that you are not receiving information from me or the other students, please contact me as soon as possible to rectify the problem.

Students with Documented Disabilities: 
Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments should speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor during the first two weeks of class.  All discussions will remain confidential.  This syllabus is available in alternative formats upon request.  For assistance, please contact Mary Helen Walker, Office of Disability Support Services, D. F. Lowry Building, (910.521.6695) or visit the Office of Disability Support Services website.

Withdrawal from the Course: 
The last day you may drop this course with a grade of “W” is Friday March 1, 2013.

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.

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.

Course Schedule:

Week 1 (January 7-13) Teaching the Social Studies: Stephanie Steffey and Wendy J. Hood, If This Is Social Studies, Why Isn’t It Boring? (York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers, 1994).

Week 2 (January 14-20) Technology: Mark Grabe and Cindy Grabe, Integrating Technology for Meaningful Learning, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006).

Week 3 (January 21-27) Technology: Peter E. Doolittle and David Hicks, “Constructivism as a Theoretical Foundation for the Use of Technology in Social Studies,” Theory and Research in Social Education 31 (Winter 2003): 71-103.

Andrew J. Milson, “The Internet and Inquiry Learning: Integrating Medium and Method in a Sixth Grade Social Studies Classroom,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30 (Summer 2002): 330-53.

Bruce E. Larson, “Comparing Face-To-Face Discussion and Electronic Discussion: A Case Study From High School Social Studies,” Theory and Research in Social Education 31 (Summer 2003): 347-65.

Week 4 (January 28-February 3) Multiculturalism: Christine Woyshner, “Political History as Women’s History: Toward a More Inclusive Curriculum,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30 (Summer 2002): 354-80.

Toni Fuss Kirkwood, “Teaching About Japan: Global Perspectives in Teacher Decision-Making, Context, and Practice,” Theory and Research in Social Education 30 (Winter 2002): 88-115.

James A. Banks, “Multicultural Education: Historical Development, Dimensions, and Practice,” Review of Research in Education 19 (1993): 3-49.

Week 5 (February 4-10) A Midwife's Tale: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).

Week 6 (February 11-17) Cherokee Women: Theda Perdue, Cherokee Women: Gender and Culture Change, 1700-1835 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).

Week 7 (February 18-24) Coming of Age in Mississippi: Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi: An Autobiography (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1970).

Week 8 (February 25-March 3) NCCSS Annual Conference:  Attend at least two sessions of the North Carolina Council for Social Studies Annual Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Thursday and/or Friday.  Please send me official registration documentation from the conference to prove that you actually attended these sessions.  See the link above for a registration form and information about the conference.  Please consult the Assignments section of Blackboard for an alternative assignment if you are unable to attend the conference.

Week 9 (March 4-10) Classroom Management:  Joel Roache and Ramon Lewis, “Teachers’ Views on the Impact of Classroom Management on Student Responsibility,” Australian Journal of Education 55 (November 2011): 132-46.

Wendy Drewery and Maria Kecskemeti, “Restorative Practice and Behaviour Management in Schools: Discipline Meets Care,” Waikato Journal of Education 15 (2010): 101-13.

Ernest Solar, “Prove Them Wrong: Be There for Secondary Students With an Emotional or Behavioral Disability,” Teaching Exceptional Children 44 (September/October 2011): 40-45.

March 11-17: Spring Break

Week 10: March 18-24: Complete unit plans and historiographic essays.

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 required for all graduate social studies education students in both the Master of Arts and Master of Arts in Teaching programs.  It enables preservice, lateral entry, and experienced teachers to incorporate recent scholarship and teaching methods into their own classes.  Specifically, this course equips students to meet the following master’s degree standards:  A, B, D, E.

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.

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.
  • Study a broad range of teaching strategies and select instructional techniques appropriate to the goals and objectives of a given lesson.
  • Develop the ability to locate and use a broad range of resources.
  • Develop the ability to design lessons that develop the skills of inquiry, decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
  • 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.
  • Examine classroom management theory and skills consistent with current professional standards.
  • Exhibit a theoretical and working knowledge of media and technologies in order to make them an integral component of social studies instruction.
  • Develop a professional attitude toward the teaching profession, the school, and the community.

Instructional Strategies: 
This course will employ online teaching methods that include discussion, cooperative learning, and discovery learning.  Discussion boards on Blackboard and formal writing assignments will be used extensively.

Bibliography of Relevant Readings:

Stephen E. Gottlieb, “In the Name of Patriotism: The Constitutionality of ‘Bending’ History in Public Secondary Schools,” The History Teacher 22 (August 1989): 411-495.

Thomas R. Guskey, “Cooperative Mastery Learning Strategies,” The Elementary School Journal 91 (September 1990): 33-42.

James Hartley and Ivor K. Davies, “Preinstructional Strategies: The Role of Pretests, Behavioral Objectives, Overviews and Advance Organizers,” Review of Educational Research 46 (Spring 1976): 239-265.

Beau Fly Jones, Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar, Donna Sederburg Ogle, and Eileen Glynn Carr, eds., Strategic Teaching and Learning: Cognitive Instruction in the Content Areas (Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development [ASCD] ; Elmhurst, Ill.: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory [NCREL]).

Bruce Joyce, Marsha Weil, and Emily Calhoun, Models of Teaching, 6th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000), 283-361.

Chen-Lin C. Kulik, James A. Kulik, and Robert L. Bangert-Drowns, “Effectiveness of Mastery Learning Programs: A Meta-Analysis,” Review of Educational Research 60 (Summer 1990): 265-299.

Wilbert J. McKeachie and James A. Kulik, “Effective College Teaching,” Review of Research in Education 3 (1975): 165-209.

Mark Otten, James W. Stigler, J. Arthur Woodward, and Lisle Staley, “Performing History: The Effects of a Dramatic Art-Based History Program on Student Achievement and Enjoyment,” Theory and Research in Social Education 32 (Spring 2004): 187-212.

Jon E. Pedersen and Annette D. Digby, eds., Secondary Schools and Cooperative Learning: Theories, Models, and Strategies (New York: Garland Publishing, 1995).

Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, “A Role-Playing Exercise for Development and International Economics Courses,” The Journal of Economic Education 27 (Summer 1996): 217-23.

Cynthia Weston and P. A. Cranton, “Selecting Instructional Strategies,” The Journal of Higher Education 57 (May/June 1986): 259-288.

    Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2013