I started using the idea of the four C’s several years ago when we began work on revising the Kansas state social studies standards. I liked the idea that lessons and units could be structured around four basic teaching and learning concepts:
Ask kids to gather and organize information. Encourage them to work with others to make sense of information. Support students as they create new products and solutions. Validate student work by finding ways for them to share out what they know.
It wasn’t necessarily a new concept. But for most social studies teachers wrestling with the expectation that historical thinking skills (rather than basic historical knowledge) were the key to a successful classroom, the C4 Framework made sense. It helped them begin to organize the teaching and learning around the notion of doing of history rather than focusing on rote memorization. So I continued to work with teachers to integrate the C4 Framework idea into their classrooms, modified presentations, developed materials, and created a simple website.
Of course, last fall the National Council for the Social Studies released their national standards – the College, Career, and Civic Life Standards – and promptly dubbed them the C3 Framework.
I’m sure there’s absolutely no confusion between my C4 Framework and their C3 Framework. Right? One is a sweet idea for creating quality lessons and units. The other was created by the largest social studies organization in the country after years of work and discussion. (And, yes, I have thought of changing the C4 Framework to something else. Suggestions?)
Anyway. I still like the C4 Framework idea and continue to use it with the teachers I spend time with. I do love the work that the NCSS has done and use their stuff a ton. It truly supports the idea of historically thinking. It just causes some confusion at times.
But today? The focus is on the C4 Framework.
A major part of what has been successful with teachers as we shift towards a process model is the sharing of strategies, ideas, and resources aligned to the four C’s. What sort of tool works best to help kids gather and organize data? Is there an effective strategy that helps kids to collaborate? What works best to create things? How can we help students communicate their solutions and share their products?
So recently, I begin creating C4 Framework Cards. On one side, we’ve placed a short description and overview of a specific tool, strategy, or resource. On the other, we’ve aligned the use of that tool, strategy, or resource to the Common Core Literacy Standards for History / Government and the College, Career, and Civic Life standards from the NCSS.
They’re designed to be specifically used by classroom teachers like you.
The cards are quick and easy to use. They are cross-content and cross-grade level. Slap them into a three-ring binder and you’ve got handy-dandy resources at your fingertips.
Need a taste? Download a free sample of a Collect Card.
Still interested? Find more information and links to the C4 store here.