Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School – EDUC 636

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An analysis of trends and practices of teaching social studies in the elementary school. An emphasis will be made on how to transfer theory into practice through preparation of activities and materials appropriate for the elementary classroom and critical reflection on those very materials and approaches. Students will plan instruction considering student-based diversity, instructional demands of the field and the best integration of other tools and disciplines. Teaching candidates will be required to prepare these instructional elements focused on the Virginia Standards of Learning.




Cognitive skills evolved from the need to place a heavier emphasis on content being developed in the General Studies while the technique for communicating those skills to elementary grade children has been designated as the role of the School of Education. In the area of social sciences, the focus must be upon the development of cognate skills as opposed to the mere retention of facts. Current teachers must stay abreast of the latest approaches to instructional practice in elementary social studies, to include general philosophical approaches and specific tools and techniques.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze the ten thematic strands of social studies education as espoused by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).
  2. Evaluate the basic philosophical approaches to social studies instruction in the elementary school.
  3. Discuss effective planning capabilities while reflecting critically upon choices made in design as applied to social studies instruction in the elementary school.
  4. Integrate varying disciplines and tools into instructional design for social studies education in the elementary school.
  5. Create activities and approaches for the instruction of social studies in the elementary school that reflect best practices and instructional considerations.
  6. Discuss various methods of integrating biblical principles in the social studies classroom.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes (MLO: A, B, D)

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (6)

There will be 6 Discussion Board Forums in this course. The original post (thread) to the Discussion Board Forum question posed must be 400–500 words. This parameter helps to promote writing that is both thorough and yet concise enough to permit other candidates to read all the posts. Appropriate references must be made in current APA format. The candidate is allowed to use first person voice in his/her posts. There are to be at least 2 replies to other candidates’ original threads. Each interaction reply must be between 200–250 words. (MLO: A, B, C, D).

Advising Guide Quiz

There will be 1 Advising Guide Quiz in Module/Week 1. This is a requirement for the School of Education. This Advising Guide Quiz must be completed by Week 2/Module 2.

Technology Portfolio

For this assignment, the candidate will identify forms and applications of technology for use in an elementary school social studies classroom and will describe the general applications of these technologies, specific applied activities in the general social studies arena, and provide an evaluation. A portfolio of 10 technologies that could be used in an elementary school social studies classroom, identifying general uses, aligned appropriate national social studies standards, potential activities, and good and bad points to that technology’s use is to be developed. (MLO: A, C, D., E)

Literature Review

For this assignment, the candidate will select a topic in the general area of social studies instruction in elementary grade education and examine accompanying literature related to that topic to identify the latest trends and issues. Ultimately, these results will be put into a PowerPoint presentation of 10–20 slides to identify these trends in elementary social studies education associated with a set of identified articles in the literature. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E).

Virginia State and Local Civics Education Module

For this assignment, the candidate will complete the Civics Educaiton module found at the Virginia Department of education.  The civics modules serve as online training required for candidates seeking the elementary endorsement or the middle and/or secondary social science endorsement.  The certificate of completion should be uploaded in LiveText and will also be submitted by candidates for Gate 4 licensure paperwork. (MLO: A)

Lesson Plan

Each candidate is expected to complete a standard lesson plan as part of this course. The standard lesson plan format provided must be used and all materials must be included in the final submission. (MLO: A, D, E, F)

Unit Portfolio

Each candidate will produce a unit of instruction. The elements are provided within the course. The plan will be given as a PowerPoint presentation with a maximum of 20 slides. The intent of this project is to help the candidate see the big picture for instructional design with regard to a specific topic. (MLO, A, C, D, E, F)

Strategies Portfolio

Each candidate will select 5 chapters from the Obenchain textbook and write a strategy similar to what the text teaches. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E, F)