Topic outline

  • General

  • Welcome


    These modules represent a few high impact instructional strategies for the social studies classroom.   While there are numerous teaching strategies for effective social studies instruction, the research on high-impact instruction in social studies (in terms of a positive impact on student learning) focuses primarily in two areas: historical thinking, and civic knowledge and skills for citizenship. History education researchers tend to focus on how students analyze multiple historical documents and develop historical arguments, while civic education researchers focus on students’ evaluating information about public issues from multiple sources and viewpoints and develop reasoned judgments (Barton, K.C. & Avery, P.G., 2016, p. 1002). In addition to instructional strategies, each module provides examples that can be used in the classroom, as well as resources for further learning.

    These modules will equip educators with the skills and strategies to implement high impact teaching strategies and effective social studies practices. The modules are self-contained, meaning there is flexibility to review the modules individually at your leisure. 

    If you have questions or feedback regarding the course or modules feel free to contact Stephanie Hartman at

    • This grid provides educators with a crosswalk between instructional strategies and skills.  In addition, each strategy is hyperlinked to provide educators with an explanation and "how to" for implementing the strategy.

      As you review the grid, consider the following: 

      1. What strategies are you already using in your classroom? 
      2. What strategies would you like to learn more about?

  • Course Contact Hours Certificate of Completion

    This module provides the process for submitting documentation for a certificate for professional development contact hours for the High Impact Instructional Strategies in Social Studies modules. By reviewing the course modules and completing the ReflectioQuestions for each module you can receive up to 2 contact hours per module.

  • Module 1: The Case for Elementary Social Studies

  • Module 2: 5 Strategies for Analyzing Primary Sources

    • In this module, educators will learn 5 different strategies to engage students in reviewing, comprehending, and analyzing primary sources.

      What is a Primary Source?

      Primary sources are the voices of the past. They are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.  Documents, letters, posters, film, artifacts, photographs, maps, etc. can be primary sources that tell the story of people, places, an events of the past.

      Why Use Primary Sources in the Classroom?

      Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills (from the Library of Congress).

      Using Primary Source Analysis Strategies Helps:

      • Enrich student understanding of content

      • Build historical thinking skills and context

      • Derive conclusions based on evidence

      • Examine bias, perspective, and POV

      • Reinforce the importance of sourcing

  • Module 3: Using Inquiry in the Social Studies Classroom

  • Module 4: Document Based Questions: Reading & Writing in Social Studies

  • Disciplinary Literacy for Secondary Teachers