A group of about 30 educators have been working on the revision of the Kansas state social studies standards.

A heads-up. They’re gonna look different.

Our goal has always been to move away from standards and assessments that encourage kill and drill types of instruction. Foundational knowledge is important but without knowing how to apply that knowledge, it’s wasted knowledge.

So our task has been to create a different type of social studies standards document.

The problem is how to create a set of standards that focuses on discipline-specific thinking skills that can be measured without ignoring foundational content. We’ve been down several paths and I’ve talked about that a bit here and here. It’s been an interesting conversation, one that has been pretty muddy at times.

But we think the process is getting a little cleaner. We’ve got an introduction with best practices and connections to reading and writing, a set of standards that focus on Big Ideas scaffolding through different levels of complexity, an instructional narrative that provides a broad overview, and a content outline that provides a bit more specificity (which is still blank and is being worked on). Not yet finished are planned lesson plan examples using the standards.

The idea is that schools and districts will focus on teaching historical thinking skills / habits of mind using foundational content to guide student thinking. We want to provide a framework of history stuff  for teachers without mandating specific pieces of content.

All of it is in rough draft form. Very rough draft form.

So . . . what I’m asking is – are we on the right track? Does the document make sense? What doesn’t make sense?

So rip it. Praise it. Make suggestions. We’re curious to hear what you think!

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