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Tool: Planning social studies instruction

There are many different views about social studies and how to teach it in an elementary classroom. Teachers are often uncertain how to focus their teaching and how much attention to give social studies as a part of their curriculum. Before you begin planning and teaching, use the following questions to help you clarify your purposes for social studies instruction. Once you have identified and recorded your course goals, you can begin to plan your year, your units and even your lessons.

What are our social studies goals?

What are the state social studies standards for my grade level?


What goals does my district's curriculum prescribe for social studies at my grade level?


Is there a set scope and sequence for social studies at this grade level?


What goals do I have for my social studies units?


What knowledge and skills will my students need to review?


What new understandings and skills should become the focus of this year's social studies?


How will my teaching help my students become well-informed, active citizens?


How can I get my students to engage with current events on a regular basis?


What does my district expect in the areas of character development, service learning and personal student goals?


Michigan teachers can check for the Grade Level Content Expectations with this link.