Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students in pre-service teacher education to social studies teaching, learning and assessment in the K-8 classroom. The five major areas of social studies instruction will be explored: civics, economics, geography, history, and social studies skills. A variety of teaching strategies will be modeled and discussed. The Instructor will provide related articles, and facilitate discussions and activities. Descriptive feedback will be given as students engage in lesson and unit planning. Theory and pedagogy will be discussed and studied in order to equip students in their elementary and middle school assignments. Students will explore ways to make teaching social studies meaningful, engaging, challenging, powerful and applicable. Students will be encouraged to begin establishing on-going professional development in the subject area. This course is also overtly aligned to the Social Studies competencies that are contained in the Elementary Education Endorsement Competencies.

Learner Outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Understand, articulate and apply essential learnings for social studies in Washington State, including:
  • Participatory citizenship and civic decision (1.F.1)
  • Comprehend economic concepts and systems (1.F.2)
  • Comprehend how geographic features and human cultures shape and impact environments (1.F.3)
  • Evaluate historical events and themes and how they shape the Northwest, the United States, the world, and indigenous, and diverse cultures (1.F.4)
  • Apply reasoning skills to conduct research, deliberate, form, and evaluate positions through reading, writing, and communicating (1.F.5, 4.C).
  • Use the Washington State Social Studies Grade Level Standards as a guide for developing learning targets that are met through creating appropriate lessons, activities, projects and units (4.B, 4.D, TPA Task 1).
  • Design lessons that integrate social studies with content areas other than social studies (4.0).
  • guide students through inquiry and critical thinking by facilitating thoughtful discussions using effective questioning strategies (4.E).
  • create assessments that target social studies learning targets (1.F.5.F, 5.A).
  • identify effective strategies that are culturally responsive and developmentally and age appropriate, for increasing student engagement (2.0, 4.A, 4.B).
  • Develop a reflective stance towards teaching through feedback.

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Section Title
Social Studies Methods for the Elementary Teacher
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
SPU Tuition credit (2 units) $350.00
Available for Credit
2 Quarter Credits
Reading List / Textbook

Turner, T., Russell, W., & Waters, S. (2013). Essentials of Social Studies (4th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Zarnowski, M. (2003). History makers: A questioning approach to reading and writing biographies. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

Washington State Social Studies Standards: http://www.k12.wa.us/CurriculumInstruct/SocStudies/default.aspx

Further Required Reading

Additional assigned articles and chapters provided in hard copy or electronically.


Section Notes

Course is self-paced. Completion time: Up to one year from date of enrollment.

Refund Policy: Withdrawals submitted online through SPU within 7 days of enrollment will receive a 95% refund. Withdrawals received after that point will not receive a refund and no withdrawals will be accepted after the completion deadline for the course. Instructions on how to withdraw are located on our website under Students/Withdrawal and Refund Policies.

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