Teaching Now: Innovative Ideas to Teach Social Studies Skills

Innovative Ideas to Teach Social Studies Skills

The April 5, 2021 #sschat—a moderated Twitter chat using the #sschat hashtag—was chock full of innovative ideas to teach social studies skills from educators across the country. Here is how the group defines itself on the #sschat website.

#sschat is more than a hashtag, it’s an open group of dedicated network of educators and enthusiasts who aim to improve their personal, and our collective, teaching of social studies subject matter. We aim to help social studies teachers by helping to facilitate democratic collaboration where educators can challenge & support each other to grow in their craft and, consequently, offer richer learning experiences for students. Activities within our network includes the use of #sschat and affiliated hashtags on Twitter, discussions on our Facebook page, and participation in the annual NCSS unconference, but we are always looking to grow our network into new spaces. 

#sschat Twitter chats are held regularly on Mondays from 7-8 pm EST. Typically, they feature around 5 questions that participants respond to using the Q1/A1, Q2/A2 format and always including the #sschat hashtag. As you can imagine, primary source analysis and teaching with primary sources featured prominently in many answers. We’ve highlighted the questions and some answers below; access the full archive here.

Q1: Just as a refresher or teaching point for our preservice teachers, what would you describe as a social studies skill? #sschat

Q2: Which social studies skill seems to be the most complex to teach students? Or which one do they seem to struggle with the most? #sschat

Q3: What are some of the most innovative ways we can help students with interpretation and analysis of primary sources? #sschat

Q4: What are some innovative approaches you have taken to increase students’ ability to question? #sschat

Q5: Communication is a critical social studies skill that provides lifelong benefits to students…what are some innovative approaches to increasing effective communication? #sschat

We also encourage you to peruse the long list of archived #sschat Twitter chats, there’s so much to glean from them!