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Social Studies

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News & Announcements

  • Just Released!  High Impact Instructional Strategies for the Social Studies Classroom Modules:  These modules represent a few high impact instructional strategies for the social studies classroom.   While there are numerous teaching strategies for effective social studies instruction, the research on high-impact instruction in social studies (in terms of a positive impact on student learning) focuses primarily in two areas: historical thinking, and civic knowledge and skills for citizenship. History education researchers tend to focus on how students analyze multiple historical documents and develop historical arguments, while civic education researchers focus on students’ evaluating information about public issues from multiple sources and viewpoints and develop reasoned judgments (Barton, K.C. & Avery, P.G., 2016, p. 1002). In addition to instructional strategies, each module provides examples that can be used in the classroom, as well as resources for further learning.

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Academic Standards

Preparing students for the 21st century cannot be accomplished without a strong and sustaining emphasis on the social studies. The social studies provide cornerstone skills that are the key to opening doors for a more diverse, competitive workforce and responsible citizenry.

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Curriculum Support

Article IX, Section 16 of Colorado's constitution states, "Neither the general assembly nor the state board of education shall have power to prescribe textbooks to be used in the public schools." However, CDE can still serve as an advisor to help districts and schools adopt, adapt, develop, or use the materials of their choice.

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Instructional Support

Instructional support is grounded in CDE's shared approach to Best, First Instruction as well as practices and strategies supported by professional organizations and scholars at the leading edge of social studies education.

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There are many opportunities to connect and grow as a professional educator with the larger Social Studies education community.

Noteworthy News

  1. The Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year Award  The National History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country. The 2021 award honors outstanding elementary or secondary school teachers. Nominate a teacher today!

  2. United States Senate Youth Program  Colorado’s United States Senate Youth Application Now Available!  The application for Colorado high school juniors and seniors to participate in the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program is now available.  For more information, visit this webpage:

  3. Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study A new study finds that social studies instruction in elementary school improves student's reading scores!  Here are the 2 key points from the study:
  4. Resources for Teaching About the Constitution. Constitution Day is recognized every year on September 17th. On December 8, 2004, Public Law 108-447 was signed into law, requiring schools receiving federal funds to inform and instruct all students on the importance of the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. Colorado is taking an active role in complying with this law and the education of students across the state.  Constitution Day resources from the Census Bureau.
  5. Civics as a Graduation Requirement  In 2004, the Colorado State Legislature passed a bill requiring all high school students to pass a course in civics.  This is the only state graduation requirement.  Specifically, the law states, "Satisfactory completion of a course on the civil government of the United States and the state of Colorado ... shall be a condition of high school graduation in the public schools of this state.  Here is the full text of the law: CRS. 22-1-104.

For further assistance, please contact:

Stephanie Hartman, Ph.D.
Social Studies Content Specialist
P 303.866.6577 | C 720.498.2084