Social Studies

Summaries of the Support Materials (K-12)

Support Materials are ready-to-use instructional and assessment materials to support teachers in implementing described teaching activities. These materials include graphic organizers and other charts to help students organize their thinking and rubrics for assessing student achievement. Support Materials can be used as-is, or saved and manipulated to suit individual needs. Support materials can be accessed through the Critical Challenges to which they apply, or by searching “Support Materials” or directly from this chart.

Collecting Information (SM)

  • Assembling Information
  • Comparing Information
  • Assessing Evidence
  • Recording Our Ideas
  • Character Profile
  • Location Profile

Collect and organize information under a number of headings or themes.

Committing to Action (SM)

  • Things I Could Do
  • Assessing “Things I Could Do”

Consider which of several plausible actions is the one action they will commit to undertake. For example, students might consider which classroom chore to take on.

Comparing Differences (SM)

  • How Much Alike?
  • Assessing “How Much Alike?”
  • Comparing Similarities and Differences
  • Comparing Versions

Record observations about the commonalities and differences between two people, objects, places or events. For example, students may compare changes in their physical features, from the time they were a baby to the present day, or differences in daily life in two communities or two time periods.

Comparing Significant Events, Ideas or People (SM)
  • Comparing Significance
Compare and rank the significance of events, ideas or people.

Concept Attainment (SM)


Identify the features that distinguish two concepts by sorting teacher-prepared examples of each concept and articulating their differences.

Concept Maps (SM)


Establish relationships between ideas and concepts and make causal connections.

Considering the Merit (SM)


Represent a degree of responsibility or culpability.

Considering Options (SM)

  • Options Checklist
  • Assessing Options
  • Comparing Two Options
  • Examining Each Option
  • Assessing Evidence
  • Meeting Specifications

Consider the merits of one or more possibilities in light of a set of criteria. For example, students might judge which of two sources of information is more helpful by considering factors, such as Are the sources up-to-date (i.e., new information)? Do they provide the information needed? Is the information easy to find? Alternatively, students might judge which of two modes of travel is more effective by considering speed, cost, ease of travel and other factors.

Creating a Pie Chart (SM)


Represent a degree of responsibility or culpability.

Creating a Press Release (SM)

  • Press Release Outline

Develop an effective press release.

Defining Terms (SM)

  • Generating Definitions

Develop tentative definitions of various terms on a common topic and refine definitions after receiving additional support or clues.

Determining Relative Importance (SM)

  • Identifying Important Elements
  • Assessing the Importance Ratings

Consider the relative importance of various components or factors found in products, options or steps.

Developing Effective Arguments (SM)

  • Supporting My Position
  • Assessing Effective Arguments

Develop a persuasive presentation in preparation for a debate or prior to writing a letter or creating a poster to convince others about an issue.

Exploring Worldview (SM)

  • Analyzing Worldview
  • Personal Worldview Questionnaire
  • Selecting Artifacts
  • Clues for Identifying Worldviews

Collect information about one’s own worldview and that of others, including finding the implied worldview in artistic works and other historical artifacts.

Four Corners Discussion (SM)

  • Reflections on Four Corners Discussion
  • Self-assessment of Discussion
  • Assessing Four Corners Discussion

Listen attentively to others and reconsider a position based on new evidence or convincing arguments presented.

Imagining the Sensations (SM)

  • What Would It Be Like?


Imagine the physical sensations and feelings associated with a particular situation. For instance, students might be given a picture of an event and asked to imagine the sounds, sights, smells and feelings that would likely be experienced by someone in this picture. This strategy is helpful in developing students' ability to describe events realistically and vividly.

Investigating a Problem (SM)

  • Analyzing The Problem
  • Assessing “Problem Analysis”

Define a problem, identify its causes and examine the pros and cons of possible solutions.

Justifying My Choice (SM)

  • Reporting My Decision
  • Assessing the Choice
  • Advantages And Disadvantages
  • Assessing the Reasons
  • My Position On The Issue

Justify a conclusion about the better or best option to choose or position to hold. For example, students might consider which of three possible groups would be the best one for them to join or which position on a continuum is most reasonable.

Looking for Techniques (SM)

  • How Do They Do It?

Identify techniques that might be used to complete a project and match techniques with the criteria required for the assignment.

Peer Critique (SM)
  Provide a productive peer critique that challenges the student receiving the critique to think more deeply or in different ways about his or her work.

Placemat Activity (SM)


Record individual responses and ideas regarding an issue, topic or question for consideration. Individual responses are then shared and discussed with the group. The group records agreed-upon responses.

Planning a Documentary (SM)

  • Story-Telling Devices
  • Use Of Images
  • Use Of Sound
  • Assessing The Storyboard

Plan a documentary or video production that uses specific strategies or techniques to create the desired effects and to tell their stories effectively.

Positive and Negative Factors (SM)

  • Comparing Positive and Negative Factors
  • Assessing Positive and Negative Factors
  • Looking For Implications

Recognize or anticipate the negative and positive implications of certain conditions or events.

Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction (RAN) Chart (SM)

  • RAN Chart

Record and build on prior knowledge while working through inquiries and the research process.

Ranking Options (SM)

  • Justifying My Rankings
  • Assessing The Rankings

Rank various options and provide evidence for the ordering proposed. For example, students might decide which of four or five historical figures made the most significant contribution, the second most significant contribution and so on until all persons have been ranked.

Rating Options (SM)

  • Rating Impact
  • Rating Conditions
  • Rating Each Effect
  • Assessing The Ratings

Rate the degree to which certain conditions or effects are present.

Reading Maps (SM)

  • Interpreting Mapping Techniques
  • Assessing Map Reading

Recognize the techniques used to read maps.

Recording Our Research (SM)

  • Our Book Research
  • Our Interview
  • Assessing The Research
  • Guiding Our Research
  • Our Book Research: Community Roles
  • Our Interview: Community Roles

Locate information on specific (teacher- or student generated) questions through research in books or on the Internet.

Reporter’s Log (SM)

  • What I See and Think
  • Assessing the Reporter’s Log
  • Investigating The Event

Use the 5Ws as a structure to gather information on a specific topic or theme.

Selecting the Best Thing (SM)

  • The Best Thing
  • Assessing “The Best Thing”


Select the most valued attribute from a list of positive features of a person, place or activity. For example, students may consider which of their unique talents or which of the benefits of living in their community is the most precious.

Supporting Conclusions (SM)

  • Looking For Clues
  • Assessing Clues And Conclusions
  • Observation, Conclusion And Evidence
  • Interpreting the Artist’s Message

Collect information or evidence to support various conclusions.

Using Digital Technologies: Annotations (SM)

  • Image annotation using callouts.
  • Image annotation using a magazine cover template.

Use digital technologies to annotate images and video.

Using Digital Technologies: Capturing Student Voice (SM)


Use digital technologies to make audio recordings.

Using Digital Technologies: Graphic Organizers (SM)

  • Mind map using a SmartArt graphic from Microsoft Office Word.

Use digital technologies to create visual representations of information and ideas.

Using Digital Technologies: Searching and Organizing (SM)


Use digital technologies to locate information,and to organize and manage online content.

Using Digital Technologies: Digital Citizenship (SM)


Use digital technologies appropriately and safely.

Using Digital Technologies: Digital Dialogue (SM)


Use digital technologies to engage in conversations beyond the classroom.

Using Digital Technologies: Storytelling (SM)


Use digital technologies to interpret or create stories.

U-Shaped Discussion (SM)

  • Reflections on U-shaped Discussion
  • Self-assessment of U-shaped Discussion
  • Assessing U-shaped Discussion

The U-shaped Discussion strategy offers an alternative to the traditional two-sided debate. Instead of an adversarial debating format, this strategy encourages students to see the merits of all sides and to recast binary options as positions along a continuum. The goal is to encourage students to endorse positions provisionally while listening to others in an attempt to figure out the most defensible personal stance along a continuum of possibilities.

Venn Diagrams (SM)

  Illustrate, graphically, the relationship between two or more compared objects, ideas, people or events.

Web of Effects (SM)

  • What Happens If?

Analyze the chain reactions or consequences from a particular problem, condition or action. For instance, in considering the impact of environmental problems, students might consider the consequences of unsafe or inadequate water.

Webbing Ideas (SM)

  • Classifying Information
  • Assessing Main Ideas And Supporting Details

Record main ideas and supporting details that students have gathered from their research.

Word Sort (SM)
  Identify the central issue or topic, and the author’s perspective on the issue or topic, by examining the words or phrases identified and clustered in a word sort.

Writing a Report Card (SM)

  • Report Card
  • Assessing The Report Card

Assess the performance or well-being of specific groups or rate the merits of specific products or actions. Students use a template to assign a letter grade (e.g., A, B, C, F), provide a rationale or evidence for their assessment and perhaps, offer suggestions for improvement.

Writing an Effective Editorial (SM)

  • Assessing an Editorial

Write an effective editorial in order to communicate a clear statement of purpose and present convincing arguments in support of a position.

Writing Based on a Perspective (SM)

  • R-A-F-T-S Framework
  • Assessing The Interpretation

Write a profile of an event, based on a particular perspective.

Last updated: September 22, 2018 | (Revision History)
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