Tennessee adopts Studies Weekly K-5 Social Studies

We’ve been adopted!

The dedicated team at Studies Weekly is excited to continue sharing our interactive and rigorously standards-based Social Studies programs with more states. Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Education, recently adopted our Social Studies K-5 program statewide for a five-year term.

“As a publisher, we look forward to providing our state-adopted K-5 Social Studies programs to districts and schools for the next five years. We share a common goal with the DOE to lift and inspire students to a brighter future,” said Sheldon Savage, national adoption director for Studies Weekly.

What does this mean for Tennessee educators?

With just one student edition per week and minimal preparation, the Studies Weekly Social Studies curriculum covers 100% of the Tennessee State Social Studies Standards and Social Studies Practices over the course of a school year. Plus, our curriculum also covers many of the Tennessee State English Language Arts Standards including: non-fiction reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and technology use.

Realistically, teachers can use the Studies Weekly Social Studies program in their Language Arts block. Using a balanced literacy approach saves valuable planning and instruction time.

The content of Studies Weekly includes vivid illustrations and colorful maps along with primary source pictures and documents that engage students. The print edition is completely consumable. We wholeheartedly encourage teachers and students to write, highlight and draw all over each magazine or newspaper. And don’t forget the scissors – students can cut out images and texts to create social studies and language arts projects.

Request a FREE sample of the TN publications.

Because today’s students are digital natives, we also offer our curriculum on a robust online platform that captures students’ imagination through primary source videos and other media.

What students will get:
  • Weekly print magazines/newspapers that feature primary source photos and documents, and engaging articles with eye-catching illustrations
  • Access to an online platform highlighting thousands of primary source and related media, including photos, paintings, audio and video clips – with leveled questions for related media
  • Virtual field trips to historical sites in Tennessee and the U.S.
  • Audio reader recorded by real people, to better serve English language learners
  • An avatar world and reward system that allows students to earn points and build their own virtual world
What teachers will get:
  • Year-at-a-glance curriculum map as part of the Teacher Resource, with correlations to TN Social Studies Standards at point of use
  • Content researched, developed, written and edited by educators
  • Lesson plans and suggestions
  • Multiple research-backed reading, listening and learning strategies
  • Differentiated instruction for lower or below-level learners, ELL, and Gifted/Talented
  • Integrated extension activities
  • Customizable summative assessments easily recorded and monitored online
  • Professional development on demand online

All these tools and resources are available through each teacher account on studiesweekly.com/online, and include the ability to easily communicate with students and parents.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to store.studiesweekly.com to get started!

Teaching the Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement is a significant part of American History. What began in the late 1940’s and ended in the late 1960’s, had a profound impact on social justice and legal rights of African Americans.

Standing for Freedom Curriculum Package

Here at Studies Weekly, we strive to tell the real stories of history through primary source materials and multiple perspectives. In our new civil rights curriculum package, we incorporate the accounts of multiple civil rights activists. Join the Freedom Rides with Hank Thomas, sit at the lunch counters with Joan Trumpauer and cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Joanne Blackmon Bland.

The Standing for Freedom Curriculum Package includes: 

Standing for Freedom (30 copies + 1 teacher edition) – This magazine format guide is 30 pages of the people and events that helped change American History.

 

She Stood for Freedom (1 copy of each book) – The Amelia Bloomer Award-nominated books about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her journey through the Civil Rights Movement.

 

An Ordinary Hero (1 copy) – The education version of the award-winning documentary about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

The Uncomfortable Truth (1 copy) – The education version of the Emmy-winning documentary about the history of institutional racism in America. It provides a solid understanding and unique perspective on American History (suitable for teachers and students middle school age and up).

 

History Matters Poster (1 copy) – The engaging mugshot that has come to symbolize the Freedom Rides and called one of the most famous in American History and is a great conversation starter for the classroom.

 

Interactive Map and Timeline – Expand the experience even further with exclusive interviews and artifacts found only on our map and timeline. Don’t just read about the Civil Rights Movement see where it took place and how the events are connected.

Whether you are teaching the Civil Rights Movement, need content for Women’s History Month, want your students to understand about civic engagement and civic responsibility or are looking for a unique way to teach anti-bullying, the Standing for Freedom curriculum package is the perfect addition to your classroom.

American Indian or Native American?

There is much debate and strong feelings within our nation that are connected to how to identify various groups. At Studies Weekly, we are working diligently to create and nurture an inclusive environment.

Using the Term ‘American Indian’

To ensure that we write about indigenous people using language that will not be considered offensive, we consulted several sources. First, we conferred with the two tribal members on our Diversity Board. They informed us that they like to be referred to as ‘American Indians.’ The Grammarist states that term ‘American Indian’ is more appropriate and claims that the expression, ‘Native American,’ has fallen out of popularity. In the Native Times and Native Sun News, tribal journalists state that the term ‘Native American’ was thrust upon them by a white activist and does not reflect their desires. Whenever possible, they like to be identified by tribe. For generalized references, they prefer to be called ‘American Indian.’

Russell Means, a Lakota activist and a founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), stated, “At an international conference of Indians from the Americas held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations in 1977, we unanimously decided we would go under the term, ‘American Indian.’ We were enslaved as American Indians, we were colonized as American Indians and we will gain our freedom as American Indians.”

A More Prestigious Status

Part of our rationale is also to be in alignment with the federal government of the United States of America. To be officially recognized by the federal government, the tribe has to have a political relationship with the U.S. government. When a tribe has that legal status, then they are known as an American Indian tribe with the power to self-govern as a separate nation. If the tribe is not federally recognized, then they are only known as Native American. In summation, all American tribal members can be called Native Americans, but it is a higher and more prestigious status to be called an American Indian.

For more information about our curriculum, visit our website.

Top 5 Virtual Field Trips in our Library

One major aspect that sets Studies Weekly apart from other textbooks is our vast library of videos.

Exploring Virtual Field Trips

Most of our videos are created here at Studies Weekly headquarters, but for special projects, we send our video team all over the U.S. to capture interviews and virtual field trips. Taking a virtual field trip can be fun and exciting for your class, so we are going to highlight five of our favorites.

1. National World War I Museum and Memorial

For our first virtual field trip, we take your class to Kansas City, Missouri to tour the National World War I Museum and Memorial. The Museum opened in 1926 and was designated as America’s official World War I Museum by the U.S. Congress in 2004.

In this field trip, we are led by Mike, one of the Museum directors, and taken through the history of World War I, or what was once called, “the war to end all wars.”

2. Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park

For this virtual field trip, we head down to the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Florida Keys to visit Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park. The only way to get to Fort Jefferson is by seaplane or boat.

Ranger Mike of the National Park Services guides us along as we explore this amazing site. Fort Jefferson covers 16 acres and is made up of 16 million bricks. It was one of America’s greatest military assets, as it its location is right along the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

3. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

For this field trip, we take you over to Collinsville, Illinois to visit one of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilizations, the Cahokia Mound State Historic Site. Cahokia was the biggest American Indian site covering six square miles and had about 10 to 20 thousand people, called the Mississippians.

In this video, we take you on a tour with one of the lead in-house archeologists to learn more about the site and the people who lived there.

4. Virtual Field Trip: San Jacinto Monument

The San Jacinto Monument is located in Harris County, Texas. The historic site is dedicated to the heroes of the battle of San Jacinto. We explore the 567.31-foot-high monument, the museum and the USS Texas.

The USS Texas is noteworthy for being one of six remaining ships that served in both World Wars. It is over 100 years old and is the first battleship memorial museum in the United States.

5. NASA

In this virtual field trip, we take you to the Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center incorporates about 700 different buildings which most people aren’t allowed in but we take a look at the Visitor Center with Discovery Dan.

These are just a few of the primary source interviews, micro-documentaries, hands-on activity videos, fun fact videos and virtual field trips we have here at Studies Weekly. To explore more, login to your account online, or visit our YouTube page.

 

Teaching with Primary Source in Social Studies

Teaching with primary source has become more prevalent within the classroom. Due to the internet, primary sources have become more accessible and have provided enhanced teaching opportunities within social studies.

Benefits of Primary Source

Evidence has proved that students do not retain memorized facts and dates very well. What they will remember are first-person accounts that emotionally connect them to the subject. Students remember what they find interesting. That retention can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, textbooks don’t provide an immersive experience, just details. Fact and figures do not provide meaning so students have a difficult time connecting with the information.

Without a primary source, there would be no credibility and false information would be presented as facts. Primary source provides opportunities to tell real accounts and stories from history. Without it, there would be a lack of multiple perspectives and viewpoints.

Finding primary sources can also be a time-consuming process and once found, can require intensive lesson planning. Common Core, C3 and other skills standards covering social studies instruction require students to view a variety of multimedia sources. Studies Weekly is unique in that we provide thousands of primary source materials ranging images, works of art, diaries, videos and more. Teachers can find all of our primary source materials on their online account.

Bringing History to Life

Not only do we lay out the facts, but we tell the stories of history. We let the people in history tell their own story through primary sources. As well, we paint a picture of each event so teachers can relate it to what students are doing today. As mentioned above, students remember information better when they are emotionally connected to the subject.

In addition to primary sources, we offer lesson plans and other resources to help teachers relay these stories. Using creativity in conjunction with primary sources can improve students’ conception of the event and time period. These activities, for example, could be creating a narrative or comic, acting out a skit, having a debate, or hosting a mock election.

Let us know how you use primary sources within your lessons in the comments below. For more information about primary sources, click here.

How to Utilize Our Game-based Learning Activities

There are two main methods used in educational games: gamification and game-based learning. Gamification consists of using game design elements in the classroom in order to engage students. For example, a teacher drawing hearts on the board for classroom management. Game-based learning is a strategy that utilizes games to produce specific learning outcomes. An example would be “The Oregon Trail.”

On Studies Weekly Online, we offer four game-based learning activities. Two of the games can be found on the left-hand side within each week’s reading.

First, you will find a crossword puzzle. In this tool, students read clues and type the correct answer into the puzzle.

Second, is a game called Misspilled. In this game, students sort their incorrectly spelled or correctly spelled vocabulary words into corresponding “laboratory vials.”

The last two games are in the form of a self-contained avatar character — one being Revere the Rat and his virtual habitat, the other being your own Studies Weekly Explorer and their treehouse. Students can earn coins and gems by answering questions correctly within the publication. These coins are then used to purchase accessories for their virtual avatar and their home.

The coins act as a monetary incentive and help motivate students’ interest. To answer the questions correctly, the student has to understand the reading. This, in turn, increases student comprehension.

Teachers

As a teacher, you may see how many coins your students are earning.

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • Select the Classes tab
  • Click on Reports
  • Look beneath the Gems icon

Students

Students can access their avatar and see their progress the following way:

  • Log in to your online account
  • Go to studiesweekly.com/online
  • Enter username (email address)
  • Enter password
  • Click Login

  • In the upper right-hand corner click on the student profile picture
  • Choose either “My Rev Rat” or “Explorers”

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers, for more information on how to utilize different features within your online account, read this article.

 

Accessing Your Online Video Library

Here at Studies Weekly, we believe in engaging students by telling the stories of history. One way we are able to do this is through video. We have thousands of wonderful videos that you and your students will enjoy. They come with your subscription, so just log in to get started.

  • Log in to your online account

Videos Within The Articles

First things first: when accessing your publication online, each article is connected to numerous videos and bonus sources related to the topic at hand.

To find these videos, just click on the “Watch Video” or “Bonus Sources” button. It’s so easy to find the perfect video for your lesson when they are all in one place!

Almost every article within the week has a video attached to it. So, there is no shortage of videos within your account.

Searching for Videos

In addition to the videos in the publications, you can access any video in our collection by using the search bar. This comes in handy when you decide to teach a lesson that isn’t on the schedule for the week.

For example, if you decide to teach a lesson on the effects of 9/11:

  • Go to the Search area of the blue menu bar and type in 9/11
  • In the left-hand menu, click on Videos
  • To start exploring simply click on the video of your choice
  • Click play

Not only do we have videos on social studies but we have science videos as well! Our most popular science series is Project Time with Discovery Dan. In each episode, the audience follows Discovery Dan and his wacky experiments.

 

Studies Weekly Science VideosFrom primary source interviews to virtual field trips and more, we offer exclusive videos on just about anything you can think of regarding social studies or science.

So sit back, relax and prepare enjoy teaching and learning with your students!

Interview with Chief Product Officer: Kim Mogilevsky

Our Chief Product Officer, Kim Mogilevsky, has been with Studies Weekly for eight years. She currently leads the Research & Development team to develop evidence-based curriculum materials. Before joining our team, she earned her National Board Certification in 2002 and worked as a teacher for the Palm Beach County School District in Florida for 15 years. She has a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction and is a doctoral candidate for the same specialty.

Kim presents to the State Department of Education offices, school districts, state, national and international conventions and conferences all over America and the Caribbean. She’s a huge asset to our team, so we decided to sit down with her and discuss why she believes Studies Weekly is one of the best social studies curriculums out there.

The Interview

Q: Tell me about Studies Weekly and the program.

A: Our first goal is to always acknowledge the teacher as a professional. I like to say that our lesson plans are lesson plan suggestions. Because if you have 25 different kids in your classroom, you have 25 different learning styles, reading levels, and behaviors to deal with. When I came to Studies Weekly eight years ago, high socio-economic schools were buying it because they could afford another supplement and weren’t seeing it as another textbook or core content. In my case, the gifted students at my Title I school were using it, but regular education and exceptional education students were excluded. 

I began shifting the internal and external perceptions of who should use our publications. As a team, we decided this was for every student and took the necessary steps to make that possible. That does not mean that we water down, it means that we show teachers research-based strategies on how they can teach it to make it accessible for all of their students. The rigor of the product has increased since I’ve come on board. We’ve leveled all of our questions and activities using William Dagget’s Rigor and Relevance Framework, which instead of one continuum of, ‘This is an easy question, this is a hard question.’ It’s multi-dimensional.

Q: If you were going to tell a fellow teacher about Studies Weekly, what would you say?

A: I would say this is something you could use as a multi-tasker all day long. You can teach the majority of your ELA standards through social studies content. It covers all of your informational text standards, all of your writing, listening, viewing, and speaking standards. The content crosses over into science and engineering as well, because that’s a part of social studies. Our goal as a curriculum producer is to ensure that every single article, activity, project, and lesson plan covers some kind of standard and everything has value.

Studies Weekly also gives you a ton of resources. We provide you with so many primary sources, so whenever I see a primary source photo, I’m like, ‘Whoo! Free lesson!’ You can take that one image and teach a 20-minute lesson. Another one of the great things about our product is that it’s in a newspaper format. Every kid has their own copy. It’s consumable. They can write on it, highlight it, cut it up. It is a whole lot easier to send home than a textbook. Parents, pediatricians, and everyone else has noticed that textbooks are killing our kids’ backs, but this isn’t one of them.

Q: What makes this comparable to textbooks? Not comparing apples to apples, but moving ahead to what makes this the future?

A: Number one: There is a lot of information to get through in your textbooks. Typically they make one textbook, and then they slap a picture of the state on the cover. So there is a lot of information in there that is not needed for that particular state’s teacher. I always say the same book they sell in Florida, they sell in Texas and slap a picture of Texas on the front. They “Tex-ify” it, and there you go, it’s the same thing! Our publications are state-specific, and we’ve cut out all of the extraneous information that isn’t needed.

When I was a teacher, my first year, I took home the Teachers Edition. It’s usually spiral bound, it’s huge, and I cried. There was so much information, and so many lesson suggestions, I didn’t know what to do. We’re not wasting your time, our Teachers Edition is straight to the point.

Number two: Kids really like our format. We used to have this tagline: “If students had a choice between a textbook or Studies Weekly, 100% of the time, kids are going to choose Studies Weekly.” It doesn’t look scary, it’s not intimidating. And best of all, it’s developed by educators for educators!

For more information about Studies Weekly, click here.

Getting Started with Studies Weekly

So you’ve received your Studies Weekly blue box and you’re thinking, “Now what?” Receiving a whole new curriculum can be intimidating and nerve-racking at first. Learning how to use this new material may be the cherry on top of your stressful back-to-school prep, but no need to fear! We are here to make your life easier when it comes to getting started with Studies Weekly.

So first things first, let’s open the box.

After opening the box, inside you will find three things. First, is the instructions page. This page will go over how to collate your publications so that they are separated by weeks. Next, you will find the teacher resources. These will either come in one larger supplement or four separate ones. Finally, you’ll find the student editions. Each student edition comes compiled in four quarterly bundles consisting of enough weekly units to last the entire school year.

Now we come to one of the hardest parts about Studies Weekly, sorting out the publications.

Collating the publications may seem like a pain but trust us it’s worth it in the end. You can have your students sort the publications, or have some upper-class students to help you sort them into the individual weeks.

To begin, remove the first quarter of each student edition. Next, separate each week and put them into piles (each week has a different color to help you stay organized). After each week is complete, gather each pile and use either an alligator clip or large paper clip to keep the pile together. Then, place the weeks back into the blue box until your ready to start using them. Once the first quarter is done, repeat the same process for the next three quarters.

We print our publications in four quarterly bundles to help save money and ultimately keep costs low for our customers. Here’s a great explanation why:

Now you’re set for the whole year! To start setting up your Online Account, register or login to Studies Weekly online.

 

How to Leverage Technology in the Classroom

My daughter, a first grader, keeps asking me for a phone. “So many kids have them!” and I wonder, “For what?” but I know the answer: for everything. Technology is everywhere. It’s in classrooms, churches, the bus, the dinner table. Everywhere. And rather than resisting it, there are some key things that teachers, in particular, can do to leverage the growing trend for electronic classrooms to work in their favor. Here are a few of those things you might consider:

1. Have a Clear Electronics Policy in Place

No matter how much you care about your students, as a teacher, you know realistically that if given free reign of a tablet or laptop, any kid from the age of 5 to 18 (and beyond!) is going to return the device at the end of the day with the thing loaded with a variety of farm heroes, exploding candies, pictures of doe-eyed kids with flower crowns…and not to date myself even further, but I have no idea what kids are playing these days. Whatever it is, without some clear boundaries in place, it’s not going to be what you’re teaching them.

So first things first, when you come to embrace technology in your classroom, lay out a clear electronics policy. What are the consequences of excessive or inappropriate technology use? What tools are okay to use and which are strict no-nos? If you hear technology knocking at your classroom door, it might be time to get together with your school or district IT professional and determine what constitutes “acceptable use” in your school.

2. Create Natural Consequences for Misuse

With any luck, your students are growing up in environments where they understand that every action has a natural consequence. According to Edutopia, “a disruption should always be a bigger headache to the student than to you as a teacher.” When our 6-year-old is acting out like 6-year-olds often do, my husband will sometimes say, “You better stop that or you won’t go to the park tomorrow!” This is frustrating because the consequence of her action is more of a headache to me than it is to her. No park tomorrow means “hang out with mom and push every button you know she has.” Kids need consequences that are relevant to them without putting a burden on someone else.

In a classroom setting, if a student is using technology for something other than schoolwork, the consequence might be that the device is taken away. If they use tablets to take notes, then the natural consequence of misusing it is that they have to use pen and paper. If students are using devices to create presentations, they have the option of completing the project at home or again, pulling out the stone-age tools of pen and paper and creating a rough draft that way.

3. Use Your Powers for Good

With recent hurricanes ravaging the south, and the strongest earthquake in Mexico in a century shaking up and destroying homes south of the border, there is no shortage of terrible things happening. People all over the country and all over the world need help, and no student is too small or too young to make a significant impact. Consider using technology to teach your students the value of humanitarian aid. No matter the subject you teach, there are things your students can do to leverage technology to help people around the world.

To cite a few examples, FirstGiving, Pledgie, and GoFundMe exists for purposes just like this. DonorsChoose is another one that is specifically for classrooms if you have a project that needs funding or just to raise awareness or bring support to fellow educators. Students can use these tools to create awareness of what is going on in the world, or they can use them to facilitate projects of their own.

4. Make Classroom Content Shareable

There are several examples of classrooms across the country that are doing this perfectly. Teachers are now posting documents such as syllabi online for parents to review. Some schools even offer parent accounts so parents can track their child’s progress. Even students are able to collaborate using cloud-based software to work on and complete projects together.

Students are going to need to be able to navigate software programs and share ideas as they go through school and beyond, and as they grow in their professions. Whether this looks like a classroom website that all students can post homework assignments or class notes, or a Facebook page where students can bounce ideas off each other, we have seen firsthand the significant results of educators creating and promoting shareable tech.