Last month School of Education students in Middle and Secondary Social Studies Education Program attended the annual conference of the Indiana Council for the Social Studies (ICSS). Students in the cohort attended presentations by social studies professionals on a range of topics such as the use of primary sources, engaging in critical media literacy to spot fake news, and project-based learning.
ICSS is the largest professional network for social studies teachers in the state of Indiana. ICSS is also the state chapter of the National Council for the Social Studies, the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education.
During a luncheon awards ceremony, Tabitha Espiritu, a student in the cohort was presented with the Dennis Beadles Pre-Service Teacher Award, which is awarded to exemplary pre-service social studies teachers in Indiana who demonstrate great promise to excel as classroom teacher.
For the final session of the conference, all 26 students had an opportunity to present an inquiry-based unit plan that they developed during their first semester in the program, and was further refined in their methods course this semester. The unit plans followed the design principles of the Civic, Career, and College (C3) Framework and the Inquiry Design Model (IDM), two of the most recent movements to transform social studies classrooms into inquiry spaces.
The inquiry units focused on compelling social studies question such as: "Is the United States a modern empire?"; "Can peace be permanent?"; "Did ‘Reaganomics’ work?"; and "Is new technology always good?”
Students were able to present to Indiana social studies educators, museum educators, university professors, other Indiana pre-service teachers, and one group was even lucky enough to have the keynote speaker Dr. Terrance Roberts listen and commend their inquiry units.
It was both an incredible learning and professional networking opportunity for our social studies pre-service teachers.