Thursday, March 5, 2015

The C3 Framework: the National Council for the Social Studies' answer to the Common Core

Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation on the C3 Framework at Northern Illinois University's New Ideas in Social Studies and History Conference yesterday. All the materials for that presentation have now been posted on this blog. You can find them on the tab at the top marked, "Teacher Presentations."

For those of you who just read this blog and have no idea what I'm talking about, my presentation was about the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) C3 Framework. The 3 Cs in the C3 Framework stand for College, Career and Civic LifeThe C3 Framework is, at its heart, a response to the Common Core Standards which had the unfortunate (and unintended, I think) effect of marginalizing the social studies. I don't know a whole lot yet about the new PARCC tests (but a quick glance at the news tells me things are not going too well!), but I suspect that the emphasis on ELA is likely having a negative effect on the attention that should be given to history.

My position is that the C3 is a thoughtful analysis of what good social studies teaching should look like. The downside is that it takes a very complicated 108 page document to explain all that. In these 108 pages you will find 3 pages about how to read the document, a glossary, brief biographical sketches of the 16 authors, a description of the 4 dimensions, 4 disciplines, an inquiry arc, 30 tables (not including the ones in the 5--yes, five!--appendices), something called a "Framework Disciplinary Inquiry Matrix" on page 66, and--just in case you were wondering--2 pages about what is not included in the C3.

If you want to figure out what the C3 is, but cannot or don't want to read all 108 pages of the thing, you can get the gist of it in the chart I put together below:

Note that the table and page numbers referred to in the chart can be found in the PDF of the framework. You can get that here. Those tables have more extensive information on each of the four disciplines: civics, econ, geography and history. (And if you were wondering why I haven't posted in over 3 weeks, trying to get that 108 page document squeezed into one chart is part of the reason!)

If you are interested to see how the C3 Framework explicitly connects to the Common Core (or need to explain it to your administration or department chair), see the following pages in the C3:

  • pages 20-21 for the overall connections between the C3 and the Common Core.
  • pages 26-27 for the connections between Dimension 1 of the C3 and Common Core.
  • pages 50-51 for the connections between Dimension 2 of the C3 and Common Core.
  • pages 56-57 for the connections between Dimension 3 of the C3 and Common Core.
  • pages 63-64 for the connections between Dimension 4 of the C3 and Common Core.

And if you want to learn more about the C3, here are two good places to start:

  • The obvious: the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). This link will give you the background on the C3 framework. Also on that page, you will find the link to the entire 108 page document.
  • - this website includes lesson ideas, some links to blogs, and news and info about the C3
  • for places to find good resources for lesson ideas and materials, read old posts on this blog, check out some of the lessons under the tab at the top under "Teacher Presentations," and check out the tab, "Other Useful Links."

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