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Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies
Transcript of Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies
What does this mean for Social Studies?
Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and the Technical Subjects
CCSS for Literacy in All Subjects
Colorado adopted the CCSS for ELA in August of 2010. One element of the CCSS ELA standards is entitled "Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and the Technical Subjects."
The DL agency website was launched at the beginning of October.
Authentic opportunities to learn and practice literacy are important techniques through which we engage students in thinking deeply and critically about social studies.
At this site, you can find:
The entire CCSS Literacy document (plus an area where it's broken into smaller chunks)
Wisconsin's Foundations for Disciplinary Literacy
And resources, including narrated presentations, Hunt Institute videos, and resources pages in the form of Google Sites for every subject area (linked soon!).
What is Disciplinary Literacy?
Colorado defines disciplinary literacy as "the intersection of content knowledge, experiences, and skills necessary to demonstrate understanding through the ability to read, write, communicate, and think critically using approaches unique to a specific discipline."
What in the world does that mean?
Take this as an example:
"In an article from 1988, Richard Cohn explores the relationship between inversional symmetry and transpositional combination, especially as it relates to Bartók analysis (Cohn 1988). He argues that while it is well known that many of the pitch collections most important to Bartók’s music are inversionally symmetric, it is also significant that they can all be explained using transpositional combination (TC)."
Unless you have a music background, some knowledge about Bela Bartok, or even just information on what "inversionally symmetric" pitch means, you're probably as lost as I am, because we don't have the necessary music literacy knowledge.
So...what does that mean?
It means that the teaching of disciplinary literacy belongs to all grade levels and subject areas, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, from mathematics to agriculture, and from science to social studies.
How do we help students think in Social Studies?
What types of critical texts are students expected to learn and maneuver in Social Studies?
What type of writing is expected in Social Studies?
This ain't your momma's "reading in the content areas"!
It is not just having students read and write more - it is not giving students Venn diagrams and sentence diagramming assignments in social studies...it is not conducting basic literacy techniques to struggling readers during social studies time.
What it IS...
Think of it as using reading, writing, listening, speaking and performance skills to enhance content-area learning.
The use of primary sources in the classroom is critical.
Why use primary sources?
Check out the answer from the Library of Congress:
Or, look at the research from National History Day:
One of the best ways to look at disciplinary literacy in social studies is to consider point of view.
All strands of social studies (and all subject areas) have different ways of viewing the world, using different vocabulary.
So...if we look at an event, how would the different strands of social studies look at it?
Thinking like an economist...
Or a sociologist...
Or an anthropologist...
Thinking like a geographer...
Reading like a historian from Stanford University
How does a historian view Vietnam?
How does an economist view Vietnam?
How does a geographer view Vietnam?
How does a political scientist view Vietnam?
an “image search” on Google and you’ll
different ways of seeing the same event
– even though
it’s all Vietnam (and mostly social studies!)
It could even go further – how does a social historian view Vietnam differently than a military historian?
And in the future:
Short videos of Colorado teachers "doing" DL in their social studies classroom,
Tying the CCSS for Literacy to Colorado social studies standards,
Updated Standards Implementation Support Team website to include instructional resources, and
Development of curriculum frameworks for district use.
social studies content specialist
Colorado Department of Education
201 E. Colfax Ave. Ste. 409
Denver, CO 89203
What it isn't...
To learn more about disciplinary literacy in Colorado, visit our Disciplinary Literacy page at: http://www.cde.state.co.us/contentareas/disciplinaryliteracy.asp