I get the chance to work with all sorts of extraordinary people doing what I do.

Today you meet one.

Don Gifford is the Social Studies Consultant for the Kansas Department of Education and is responsible for the coordination of social studies standards, assessment, and instruction in the state. He spends much of his time working with Kansas districts and teachers to improve teaching and learning.

He’s been herding cats for the last 18 months getting the new state standards written and approved by the state Board. And as a member of the herd, I know how hard that has been! In this podcast, Don talks about the new standards, the perfect social studies classroom, and shares two pieces of advice.


Contact Don
Review the new standards and make public comments.

A list of helpful sites compiled by teachers:
Kansas State Historical Society

Select “Educate”

Select “State Standards Search”
World History For Us All

Library of Congress

Select “Find classroom materials that meet your state standards”
Stanford History Education Group

Select Curriculum and Assessment

Select red “Find a Lesson” and “Find an Interactive Tool”
Social Studies Central

Be sure to sign up for the Tip of the Week
Mr. Donn’s Lesson Plans

Social Studies for Kids

Council for Economic Education
Kansas Memory

Primary sources from Kansas Historical Society
Common Core Standards

Children’s Literature with Social Studies

Great resources for K-6 teachers
Glossary of Instructional Strategies

Hundreds of effective strategies to try
The Historian’s Toolbox
Six units leading kids through good history practices
Literacy in Social Studies
Some useful links and tutorials
ReadingQuest: Making Sense in Social Studies
A website designed for social studies teachers who wish to more effectively engage their students with the content in their classes
Reading, Writing and Researching for History
Written for college kids but could be adapted for MS and HS use
Strategies in Action: Being a Strategic Teacher of Social Studies
Over 100 helpful ideas
Tools for Reading, Writing and Thinking
These tools should be used to help students engage in rigorous thinking, organize complex ideas, and scaffold their interactions with text