By Steve Armstrong

July 24, 2014

Connecticut educators have worked for nearly a year to create social studies framework documents in social studies. We have had a dedicated team of elementary, middle, and high school educators, as well as university faculty on our framework team. We have used the C3 as our ‘foundational’ document throughout this process. Our goal is for our state framework document will be approved by the state Board of Education at their October 2014 meeting.

We are creating separate framework documents for each grade, K-12. In grades K-4, all four major disciplines of the C3 (history, geography, economics, and civics) will receive equal emphasis. In grades 5-12, our writing team has decided that in grade/subject there will be one “focus discipline” and three “supporting disciplines”. Our team feels that this will help the teachers as they teach individual courses. High school U.S. history, for example, is a history course, but we have provided ways to integrate civics, economics, and geography into that course. On the other hand, we are proposing that the grades 6/7 “World Cultures” course have geography as its focus discipline, with history, economics, and civics as supporting disciplines. 

It Connecticut social studies is not mandated in the elementary schools, nor is there any state-
wide social studies test. As a result, the teaching of social studies is extensive in some schools and virtually nonexistent in others. This creates a challenge in creating frameworks that are meaningful to both groups of schools. In addition, we are aware that many elementary studies teachers are not specialists in social studies; we are suggesting themes and questions that these teachers can be comfortable with.

The frameworks that are being created in Connecticut are both robust in content and point to inquiry as a major mode of instruction. We had a workshop in late June with 42 museum educators from Connecticut museums and historic sites and another in early July on the frameworks that attracted 95 teachers; another 70 have signed up for similar workshop in August. Social Studies in Connecticut is one the move!