Social Studies School Service’s Active Classroom series is a set of comprehensive digital resources to support social studies instruction at the middle school and high school levels. Courses focus on developing literacy skills in the context of social studies instruction.
Content is organized in “Activity Sets” that address key concepts (e.g., Ratification of the U.S. Constitution) and can be implemented in about a week. Activity Sets include diverse sets of learning experiences related to content, including reading passages, web-based lessons, video and audio segments, maps and images for analysis, and hands-on projects, or “simulations.” Reading passages are provided at different Lexile-based complexity levels and web-based lessons require that students use online resources to analyze primary source documents and conduct research on topics. Videos illustrate key concepts and are followed by questions that require students to think critically about what they have viewed. Simulations present multi-day, creative projects related to content. Many simulations are provided by Interact, a division of Social Studies School Service, and include comprehensive lesson plans and teaching resources.
Student materials are organized to support comprehension. Reading passages begin by clarifying learning objectives and defining key vocabulary. Content is presented in short blocks of text with frequent checks for understanding and tips to support students’ retention of content. Student texts include “Think About It” questions that addresses critical thinking skills and an “In Real Life” feature connects content to students’ experiences. Some passages include activities to reinforce and extend learning and most passages conclude with a short quiz.