Education 425

EDUC 425:  Curriculum, Instruction, and Teaching:  Social Studies Connections 

Prerequisite:  Admission into the Elementary Teacher Education Program 

Co-requisite:  EDUC 430

Credit Hours: (3)

Teacher candidates will plan, develop, implement, and evaluate social studies lessons and instructional units that are appropriate for elementary-aged children and align with state and national standards.  Using historical inquiry as an instructional focus, teacher candidates will learn how to teach to the curiosity of learners and provide authentic learning experiences that engage students as well as develop their critical thinking skills.  Teacher candidates will also examine curricular materials to detect and avoid bias in order to create safe, equitable learning environments for all students. 


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Using social studies as a focus, students will develop integrated learning activities across curricular areas and implement appropriate assessment and intervention techniques for individual and classroom instruction.  Special emphasis will be placed on developing students’ competencies in designing and implementing instructional strategies that are based upon sound theoretical and research based underpinnings.  

This course will also address the following broad areas: 

  • Critical Literacy
  • Empathy and Perspective Taking
  • Inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning
  • Introduction to the Backward Design approach to curriculum planning, development, and assessment
  • Organization of the social studies curriculum


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course format includes large and small group discussion, individual and group presentations, journal article and textbook reading, demonstration lessons, role plays and simulations, interactive note taking, and practical applications.  Because the course is taught as a co-requisite with EDUC 430, students will also develop, implement, and evaluate a unit plan specifically for their early field experience placement. 


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objective, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standards 1b. Pedagogical Content, 1c. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Teacher Candidates, 1d. Student Learning for Teacher Candidates, and 1 g. Professional Dispositions

Objectives below also address the following standards:

§  Association for Childhood Education International [ACEI] standards in Standards #2, #3, #4

§  International Society for Technology Education, National Education Technology Students for Teachers [ISTE/NETS-T] standards in Standards #1, #2, and #3

§  National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS] standards in Standards #1 (Subject Matter Standards) and  #2 (Pedagogical Standards)

§  Virginia Department of Education [VDOE] Teacher Licensure standards including:  Virginia General Curriculum:  VGC [8VAC20-542-110] and Virginia Professional Studies:  VPS [8VAC20-542-80]

Having successfully completed this course, the teacher candidate will:

1.      Define social studies and describe Virginia Social Studies Standards and national standards appropriate to the elementary school curriculum. (ACEI 3.1, NCSS I, II; VGC 1a; VPS 2a)

2.      Understand the key concepts and generalizations in history, geography, civics, and economics appropriate for teaching elementary social studies.  (ACEI 2.4; NCSS IB.1, 2, 3, 4; VGC 2c [1a-d]; VPS 2a)

3.       Apply a variety of instructional strategies for the teaching of elementary social studies to diverse learners. (ACEI 3.2, NCSS II.1, 2)

4.       Conduct thoughtful and engaging inquiry based lesson plans using original historical documents, artistic and literary forms, role plays, and simulations to enhance students learning as well as strengthen critical thinking skills.  (ACEI 3.3, 3.4; NCSS II. 3, 5, 6)

5.       Display competencies in creating multicultural and democratic classrooms necessary for developing effective citizenry.  (NCSS IA. IV, V, X)

6.       Evaluate curricular materials in order to detect and avoid bias and utilize instructional strategies that promote empathy and perspective taking in order to create inclusive learning environments. 

7.       Identify the needs of all children and develop and adapt appropriate instructional materials to meet their needs, including the use of hands-on activities, artifacts, graphic organizers, computers, and other media to enhance learning.  (ACEI 3.2, NCSS II.1, 2; VPS 2a)

8.       Plan, teach, and evaluate effective lessons in social studies, focusing upon engaging students in reflective inquiry, hands-on learning, and a growing understanding of social responsibilities and character education.  (ACEI 3.5, NCSS II.4, 5, 6)

9.       Use various tools (i.e., maps, graphs, primary sources, etc) and technologies for organizing, analyzing, and interpreting social studies information. (ISTE 3b, 3d; VPS 2a)

10.   Use a variety of formative, summative, and self-reflective assessment techniques in the planning and implementing of elementary social studies instruction. (ACEI 4.0; NCSS II.7; VGC 1g; VPS 2a)

11.   Utilize appropriate and creative use of instructional technology, media, and materials as tools to enhance student learning.  (ISTE 1, 2; VPS 2a)


Assessment Measures

  • Class participation in discussions and small and large group activities
  • Individual projects
  • Lesson and unit planning
  • Reflective writing
  • Teaching demonstrations 
  • Key NCATE Performance Assessment: Work Sample Unit Plan


Review and Approval

Revised April, 2009