About The Teaching American History: Common Core Connections


The English Language Arts Anchor Standards and the ELA Standards for History/Social Studies from the Common Core State Standards identify a number of critical social studies skills that are the basis for many of the lessons on this website. This “Common Core Connections” section of the website provides examples of lessons from throughout the span of American history and shows how these lessons can be used to help students move toward mastery of the Common Core State Standards.

Many of the lessons ask students to read and interpret a variety of primary and secondary text material. The CCSS ELA Reading standards focus on skills such as “determine an author’s point of view”, “provide an objective summary of the text”, “delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text”, “analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic”, and “integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words”. The ELA Standards for History/Social Studies include skills such as “analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic”, “distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text”, “analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused the later ones or simply preceded them”, and “integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources”.

Additionally, many of the website’s lessons ask student to show their understanding of historical events and ideas in writing. The ELA Standards and the ELA standards for History/Social studies expect students to be able to “support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text” ; “gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism”; and “integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital texts”.

History lessons based on primary and secondary sources provide rich content material to help students enhance these skills. The lessons included in this “Common Core Connections” section are examples to show how the Common Core State Standards blend nicely with inquiry American history lessons. The website features over 400 lessons that can help students not only gain a better understanding of American history, but can improve their reading and writing skills in the process.

Teaching American History Lessons with Connections to the CCSS and DOK

Sample for King Philip's War

Regarding the Reading and Writing Standards Tables …
The Reading Standards Tables by Grade Level are formatted so that across each row the teacher can see how each Anchor Standard for Reading (column one) is iterated in Literature in the English Language Arts Classroom (column two), in Informational Text in the English Language Arts Classroom (column three), and in Literacy in History and Social Studies (column four). When addressing any of the ten standards in Literacy in History and Social Studies, the history / social studies teacher can see what is being taught in the English Language Arts Classroom, keeping in mind the College and Career Readiness target. The history / social studies teacher can address the reading standards that are taught in the English Language Arts classroom, but it is the history / social studies teacher’s responsibility to teach the skills and concepts stated in the Literacy in History and Social Studies standards.

Depth of Knowledge (DOK)
LEVEL - Titles by Norman Webb / Titles for Social Studies according to Karin Hess - Webb’s Definition: Hess’ descriptors

DOK-1 – Recall & Reproduction / Recall of Information - Recall of a fact, term, principle, concept, or perform a routine procedure: includes basic who, what, where, when, how information.

DOK-2 - Basic Application of Skills and Concepts / Basic Reasoning - Use of information, conceptual knowledge, select appropriate procedures for a task, two or more steps with decision points along the way, routine problems, organize/display data, interpret/use simple graph: includes identifying cause-effect, how (relationships/results), why, points of view, processes, patterns, categories, summary, fact v. opinion, compare and contrast, examples / non-examples.

DOK-3 - Strategic Thinking / Complex Reasoning - Requires reasoning, developing a plan or sequence of steps to approach problem; requires some decision making and justification; abstract, complex, or non-routine; often more than one possible answer: includes generalizing, making connections, applying to other contexts, supporting inferences, drawing conclusions, solving problems, determining affect, proposing, evaluating, explaining misconceptions.

DOK-4 - Extended Thinking / Extended Reasoning - An investigation or application to real world; requires time to research, problem solve, and process multiple conditions of the problem or task; non-routine manipulations, across disciplines/content areas/multiple sources: includes multiple perspectives within and across time periods /events /cultures, synthesizing from various sources, making predictions, developing solutions, illustrating interrelationship of themes.

CCSS Reading and Writing Docs

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