Recently the state department released a document that identified and described the shift in instruction to meet the new social studies standards. They also have stated as part of this there will be a new guidebook and scope and sequences for each grade level. In this post I will break down these instructional shifts in social studies.


Let’s look at Shift 1: Use sources regularly to learn content.

In the past much of social studies instruction was driven by the textbook. With this much of the test was driven by the information given by the textbook. With the 2011 Social Studies standards and the new LEAP 2025 Social Studies test there is a shift from having students regurgitating facts to having students analyzing sources, creating informed opinions, and using the sources to support their opinions. It also is a shift from the teacher giving a lecture and having students copy notes, to now teaching students to analyze sources and answer content and claims based on these sources.

Even before these new standards I tried to have students answer claims on their own using sources. For example one of the old LCC guiding question for the geography unit was; Can students describe ways in which location and physical features have influenced historical events in Louisiana and the development of the state? Part of this guiding questions was to have students identify how physical features influenced the people of Louisianas culture.

shift 1

So I created a document in which students had to analyze the cause and the effects of physical features on the culture of the Acadians that settled in various different regions of Louisiana. Students would use the source and identify that living on the prairies and the prairies being so flat (cause), Acadians farmed cattle and rice which made rice a staple in the Acadian diet. This then helped the development of such cuisines as Jambalaya and Gumbo (effect). Even though there were many more influences that led to the development of these Louisiana cuisines, this source allows students to realize the fact that the physical feature, prairies, led to a certain type of farming which then led to different types of dishes that are a staple of Louisiana culture today.

All of my products on my Teacher Pay Teacher site focuses on using multiple sources in order for students to answer claims using Shift 1: Use sources regularly to learn content.