I’m excited to share the product of a project I was working on all last year: The New York Social Studies Toolkit, which consists of 6 “inquiries” at each grade level ranging across the Social Studies disciplines. While I’m generally quite skeptical of anything coming our state ed, I think this work is a little different. The work was led by SD Grant, Kathy Swan, and John Lee, all brilliant professors and the lead writers of the C3 Framework. More significantly, these inquiries are authored by New York State teachers drawing on the real experiences of their classrooms, and were refined with feedback after being tested in classrooms across the state. I was humbled to be the 11th grade writer, though could not possibly take credit for any of the finished products, which were the result of a collaborative process with all involved.
These inquiries are in many ways unlike any other curriculum product I’ve seen. While publishers often brag about “teacher-proof” curriculum, I have often joshed that these inquiries are “admin proof.” They cannot simply be handed to a teacher who is told to do them. There is no scripting. These are in many ways minimalist sketches of a sequence of lessons that demand adaptation and decision-making by thoughtful, professional teachers.
The inquiries are designed in many ways like an accordion; a basic version of each one could be done in a few periods, but all contain enough depth to be extended to a full multi-week unit through using the suggested resources or through additions teachers will make themselves.
Perhaps my favorite smart feature is that they are all available as both PDFs and Word documents. If you like what you see, you can just print out the PDF and all the documents needed students are there to be copied. If you have ideas for improvement, you can directly change the word document for yourself.
I’m curious to hear thoughts and feedback. If you like them, please share them with your colleagues and networks. If you don’t, please let me know.
All the inquiries are available here: http://www.c3teachers.org/inquiries/. Choose from the drop down menus to see them all. Here are direct links to the ones I worked on:
Hope everyone has had a great start to the school year.