SSED 317 Topics in Social Studies: Secondary
General Course Information
In SSED 317 (Topics in Social Studies: Secondary), students engage in a critical exploration of aims and content of secondary social studies curriculum. A key consideration of the course concerns teachers' roles in creating curriculum as opposed to merely delivering curriculum as conceived by the state or textbook companies. Toward that end the course focuses the ways in which social studies teachers can move beyond the limits of textbooks and ministry guidelines to engaged their students in creating critical/personally meaningful understandings on six key curricular topics: (1) Democracy and Democratic Citizenship; (2) Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism; (3) First Nations/Indigenous Peoples; (4) Social Class; (5) Sexuality and Gender; and (6) Globalization.
For more information on the course, including the syllabus, schedule of meetings, bibliography, and readings see the SSED 317 blog.
SSED 317 Workshops and Wiki Project
Everyone will participate in a collaborative group project that involves: (1) leading a workshop on a social studies curriculum topic and (2) developing a wiki on the same topic.
"A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia is one of the best-known wikis." “Wiki wiki” means “rapidly” in the Hawaiian language. For more information on wikis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki). For a quick reference on how to format the Wiki just go here.
Groups will collaboratively develop and present a 60-minute workshop on an assigned topic (e.g., (1) Democracy and Democratic Citizenship; (2) Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism; (3) First Nations/Indigenous Peoples; (4) Social Class; (5) Sexuality and Gender; or (6) Globalization).
Workshops should be informative, interactive, and engage participants in creative and critical analyses of social studies curriculum and teaching. Each group member should make significant contributions to the development and presentation of the workshop. Each group will have opportunities to meet with the instructor and prepare and plan for the presentation during scheduled class time, however, this project will also require work beyond class time. All class members are required to complete the assigned readings in advance of each workshop.
Note: Workshops should not merely be presentations of the wikis.
- Democracy and Democratic Citizenship
- Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism
- First Nations/Indigenous Peoples' Education
- Social Class
Wiki Project (Wiki how-to)
Groups will collaboratively develop (and repeatedly revise) a wiki pages on their assigned topic. Each wiki should be a useful resource for curriculum development and teaching that goes beyond BC Ministry of Education IRPs (Integrated Resource Packages)for social studies.
Wikis should include:
- organized links to relevant teaching materials for the topic assigned, including multimedia resources such as sound, images, and video (to be embedded and/or linked to from the wiki);
- external links and responses to professional articles that critically examine curriculum and teaching practices or provide alternative perspectives;
- well-documented and annotated resources;
- exemplary sample lessons (or units) developed by individual group members as well as collaboratively developed lesson plans, which focus on engaging students in active learning activities;
- descriptions of “multiple ability tasks” for student learning (these may be included as part of lesson plans, but should be clearly designated);
- analyses or critiques of widely used curriculum plans, IRPs, textbooks, videos, etc.
- anything else that would be useful to a social studies teacher with regard to teaching or developing learning activities or curriculum materials on the topic.
Wiki pages should be linked from the main page of the SSED 317 wiki.
Individual group member’s contributions to the wiki should be demonstrable (and indicated by “signature”).
All class members are required to post comments and suggestions to the blog for each group workshop/wiki and group members should revise the wiki in response to comments.
Work on wikis will begin early in the term (see the class schedule for dates when various drafts of the wiki are due); significant and substantive progress must be demonstrated by these dates. The final version of the wikis are expected to be complete by the last class session.
Multiple Ability Tasks
Multiple ability tasks (or multiple ability curricula) are a key component of what is known as complex instruction. Multiple ability tasks are designed to engage students in higher-order thinking about a big idea or central concept as part of a cooperative group learning activities. The tasks are open-ended, requiring students to work interdependently to solve problems. "Most importantly, the tasks require a wide array of intellectual abilities so that students from diverse backgrounds and different levels of academic proficiency can make meaningful contributions to the group task. Research has documented significant achievement gains in classrooms using such curricula.".
Typical school tasks only call for a limited range of intellectual abilities (e.g., literacy, numeracy). Tasks that require a wider range of abilities allow a wider range of group members to participate in and benefit from learning activities.
Features of a multiple ability task include:
- more than one solution is possible;
- a variety of skills and learning formats are used;
- the task is challenging;
- real-world, complex skills and concepts are involved 
- ATA Social Studies Resources & Links
- B.C. Ministry of Education IRPs
- BCTF Social Justice Learning Resources and Links
- Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives
- Canadian Council for Geographic Education
- The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Canadian Social Studies
- Canadian Social Studies Super Site
- Center for Social Studies & International Education (Indiana U) Links page
- CIA World Fact Book
- Civil Rights Teaching
- Critical Pedagogy on the Web
- Culture Canada
- Dialectics for Kids
- Educators for Social Responsibility
- ewayneross.net Links for Teaching and Research
- The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education
- National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest)
- The Fraser Institute
- GALE BC
- Growing Gap
- Landscapes of Capital
- McCord Museum
- National Center for History in Schools
- National Council for History Education
- National Council for the Social Studies
- NCSS Teaching Resources
- Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
- Rich Gibson's Education for Social Justice, Democracy and Equality
- Rethinking Schools
- The Rouge Forum
- SSED 317 Blog
- Teaching Resources from the US Government
- Understanding the World Today
- Whole Schooling
- Program For Complex Instruction, Stanford University
- Jacobs, G. M., Power, M. A., & Loh, W. I. (2002). The teacher's sourcebook for cooperative learning: practical techniques, basic principles, and frequently asked questions. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.