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Content Areas: Social science


California Social Science Framework (2016)

The Social Science framework guides educators as they design, implement, and maintain a coherent course of study to teach content, develop inquiry-based critical thinking skills, improve reading comprehension and expository writing ability, and promote an engaged and knowledgeable citizenry in history and the related social sciences. The subject areas covered in this framework offer students the opportunity to learn about the world and their place in it, think critically, read, write, and communicate clearly. History, civics and government, geography, and economics are integral to the mission of preparing California’s children for college, careers, and civic life. These disciplines develop students’ understanding of the physical world, encourage their participation in our democratic system of government, teach them about our past, inform their financial choices, and improve their ability to make reasoned decisions based upon evidence. Moreover, these disciplines play a vital role in the development of student literacy because of a shared emphasis on text, argumentation, and use of evidence.

Teaching history and the related social sciences demands more than telling students to memorize disconnected content. Since the adoption of California’s History–Social Science Content Standards in 1998, our state has recognized the importance of inquiry-based disciplinary understanding in the social studies classroom. The Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills highlight the importance of chronological and spatial thinking; research, evidence, and point of view; and historical interpretation, organized in three separate but related grade spans: K–5, 6–8, and 9–12. Embedded in these grade spans are discrete skills, vital for student learning, critical thinking, and literacy, such as understanding relationships between events, chronological understanding, understanding perspective and bias, and corroboration.

California Social Science Standards (1998)

Ethnic Studies Requirement for K-12th grade

Inclusive Practices In Social Science

Inclusive social studies requires not only the integration of students with disabilities into general education classes, but also the creation of flexible social studies curricula and democratic social environments that allow all students to succeed.

Urban (2013) states that the goals of democratic citizenship education align closely with those of inclusive education, but there also needs to be consideration of multilevel, differentiated, and universally-designed instruction, which Oyler (2006) states “offers a wide range of learners opportunities to acquire skills, explore content, and develop conceptual understanding (p. 13). 

Varying Your Instructional Strategies

Teachers can create an inclusive setting for students with disabilities by using a variety of instructional methods to meet the needs of diverse learners. Varying instructional methods can mean changing the way the material is delivered, what materials are used, what end products are created, and how students are assessed. The following are examples of how to add variety to your lessons.

Delivery of Instruction

Vary your delivery of instruction for social studies; example objective: Differentiate between civil rights and human rights in their historical contexts (e.g., the Enlightenment, American and French Revolutions, Colonial Independence Movement - such as the Free India Movement, or movements in Latin America).

Instead of lecturing or reading a chapter:

  • Provide guided notes - These are hand-outs and graphic organizers prepared by the teacher about the lectures. There are blank spaces for students to fill in information, such as key concepts, facts, definitions, etc., as you lecture. This helps the students stay engaged and on task. The completed guided notes also serve as an excellent study guide.
  • Chunk the material - Chunking is taking large amounts of information and breaking it into smaller units, or 'chunks.' The smaller chunks are easier to commit to memory and easier to retrieve from memory.


Varying the content. For instance, a social studies example objective: Explore and formulate a plan for civic and community action (e.g., recycling, supporting the military and veterans, helping the elderly, etc.).

  • Let students pick the topic that they would like to explore; picking an area of interest.
  • Peer partners for projects. Pair students in mixed ability groups. To make sure the work is split evenly, provide detailed instructions for each member of the group.

End Products and Presentations

Vary the end product or presentation requirement while keeping content and expectations: for example, for the objective: 'Explore and formulate a plan for civic and community action (e.g., recycling, supporting the military and veterans, helping the elderly, etc.), give students a choice in how they present the information to the class. They can do the traditional written report but a teacher can also offer an oral report, a Prezi presentation, a PowerPoint, a video recording, etc. Students can choose the medium they are most comfortable with. This will increase their academic success as they focus on the content instead of the skills needed for end product.

Questions as you prepare to teach History to infuse an inclusive/UDL lens

Represented in Multiple Ways

  • Are you presenting historical information in multiple formats (e.g., talk, text, graphics, audio, video, hands-on activities)?
  • Are you providing equivalents of paper handouts and reading assignments in alternative formats, such as audio and video? Can students access the history text?
  • Does your technology enhance student learning?

Express Comprehension in Multiple Ways

  • Do you encourage students to demonstrate knowledge and skills in ways other than traditional multiple choice or essay tests (e.g., plays, projects, interviews, portfolios)? Are students making personal connections to content?
  • Do you allow assignments to be submitted electronically?
  • Do you allow re-submits?

Provide multiple opportunities for engagement

  • Do you display enthusiasm for the history you teach?
  • Do you make real-world connections and encourage students to explain the significance of the history you teach?
  • Do you create a class climate in which student diversity is respected? Do you utilize diverse resources that represent multiple cultural viewpoints?
  • Do you provide prompt feedback on assignments and assessments?
  • Are visual aids always a part of your lessons (e.g., photographs, videos, diagrams, interactive simulations)?


Instructional Lessons and Presentation

Tiered Social Science Assignments

  1. Develop two social studies lessons. One lesson will be developed as an intergraded-social science lesson in conjunction with Language Arts and one other of the following disciplines i.e. Science, Math, Art, Music, Dance, or Physical Education. The other lesson will be a Social Studies lesson that will focus on addressing cultural diversity and Second language Learners. All lessons will be geared to one particular grade level and address a Social Science Standard. Be sure to offer suggestions for inclusion of ELLs and students with IEPs.
  2. Choose one of the two lessons and prepare a 10-minute presentation to the teacher education class that includes a description of the lesson, connections to the Social Science Framework, a description of student participation, and accommodations made for ELLs and students with IEPs.

Make a TIC-TAC-TOE Activity Sheet

  1. Review the website links to see samples of Tic-Tac-Toe activity sheets teachers have made for their students.

Sample Tic-Tac-Toe Activities:

  1. Using the TIC-TAC-TOE template, choose a topic, specify the grade level, and fill in with activities that students could choose from and complete to demonstrate their knowledge. Activities should allow for a variety of learning styles and preferences

EXAMPLE: Community Safety Grade Level: Adult Transition

While we are out in the community, identify, by taking a picture or drawing, the community safety sign.

Evaluate how you would know when it’s the pedestrian’s turn to walk across the street.

Label the different safety signs in the picture.

Demonstrate the steps needed, to safely cross the street, in the community.

Predict what can happen if a person is in the middle of the street and the crossing light has turned red (“do not cross” sign).

Write a summary explaining why it is important for everyone to follow safety signs.

Select two community safety signs below. Use the compare and contrast bubbles to write similarities and differences between the safety sign meanings.

Write a letter to a friend listing the steps to take before crossing the street, on the crosswalk.

Create a song that you can sing to remind yourself of the steps to take before crossing the street.

Inclusive Online Assignment – History /Social Science

Template for Inclusive Practices in Teacher Education Coursework

Inclusive Practices in Teacher Education Coursework
Content Area History/Social Sciences
Program MSCP, UDCP

2.1 Locate resource materials that are relatively free of bias, which foster learning and present perspectives of different cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds

2.2 Integrate technology using such instructional resources such as social studies software and the Internet to conduct research, to tap global information sources, and for global communication

2.3 Incorporate multicultural and broad global issues into history-social science lessons

Type of Practice Assignment, Online Activity and Discussion

This practice is currently used in MSCP and UDCP programs. The assignment/activity requires students to create a multicultural and interactive Virtual Field Trip (VFT).

  1. Description of Assignment/Activity
    Teacher Candidates (TCs) use a multicultural picture book to design a history/social science unit. As a culminating activity, they create an interactive VFT to take their students back in time to explore a culturally or linguistically historic event. TCs also participate in online discourse.
  2. Rubric for Assignment/activity or other measure of objective(s)
    Chapter practice tests are available at
    The VFTs are posted to BeachBoard and serve as the foundation for interactive and reflective discussions.
  3. Materials used to prepare students for the assignment /activity
    TCs complete the following:

TCs explore:

Additional Resources

Articles & Books

Lintner, T., & Schweder, W. (2011). Practical Strategies for Teaching K-12 Social Studies in Inclusive Classrooms. International Social Studies Forum: The Series . R.A. Diem (Editor). Retrieved from

Wright, T.S., & Domke, L.M. (2019). The Role of Language and literacy in K-5 Science and Social Studies Standards, 51(1), 46-57. Retrieved from DOI 10.1177/1086296X18821141


UDL Stories from the field

Close Reading (US History-11th grade)


American Indian Studies

Teaching American History (Declaration of Independence)