This year, BCSC will be moving away from adopting the new social studies textbooks in Indiana. Several reasons exist for this: 1. teaching students in a collaborative and digital age, 2. rising costs and limited revenues, and 3. uninspiring textbooks.

What are other schools doing to support their teachers in this transition? How are educators getting the support they need to teach without a textbook? What are schools using successfully as resources?

Tags: adoption, resources, social, studies, textbook

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I absolutely adore this idea and I wish someone in California could be half as forward thinking. If we spent half as much on technology as we do on our textbooks we'd have world-class schools. Social Studies texts are a joke, not just uninspired but boring, banal and lacking any sense of historical relevance. They exist merely to not offend anyone. They are no longer designed to educate but to fill time and "cover" standards. We adopted the Holt Medieval series two years ago (over my very vocal dissention) and I've hated it pretty much from day one. When I saw that Constantine earned a grand total of TWO sentences in the entire text despite being mentioned directly in the california state standards (CA 7.1.3) I realized that book wasn't going to work for me in the least.

The book came with myriad support resources which nobody, not even the "I teach from the book and only from the book" teacher uses. It came with an awful Powerpoint presentation included and some poorly acted videos. You can tell Holt wanted to simply fill up a check list as they created this.

Spanish resources? Check.
PPTs? Check.
Test Generator? Check.

It is all basically worthless (though, I'll admit I used the test generator because I had to according to my admin) and actually wastes time. I'd love to hear more how your "experiment" works out on a large scale. I think my classroom has benefited greatly from my tossing of the text. It has made me a better and more active teacher and given the kids a true variety in learning.
Thanks, Kev. We will be moving forward with this initiative. I agree with you. Textbooks do not generate compassion for learning. They do not stir debate, argumentation, reflection, resolution, and collaboration. If we had to use textbooks, I'd rather go two polarizing sources in a class so that research and contemplation would drive the course.

We are located in an Indianapolis suburb. We will keep you posted. I am getting different reactions from our schools.
I totally agree that with this post. I also think the California could do a little more with their "expectations" for 21st-Century teacher and leaders. Having textbooks that incorporates best usages of technology only can be used appropriately if teachers know how to use them and site leaders prioritize resources for teachers to use them.
Thank, Kahill. What have you done to train your teachers to be discerning? Have you developed rubrics for assessing sites? Are there rubrics "out there?"
Most Textbooks Should Just Stay on the Shelf Washington Post
What a beautiful and timely article. Can't wait to send this one around to my colleagues! Thanks Nancy.
Kev, I have always had a passion for using primary sources in the classroom (as mentioned in the article). There are some good books written about how to incorporate archived documents, photos, ephemera, films into the history/social studies classroom including Teaching with Documents: Using Primary Sources from the National Archives. Volume 1 and 2. There are superb online lessons available, too. You can see some of the projects we've done here.
Besides the website, where would I get my hands on these two books?
Where can I get my hands on a copy of Volumes 1 and 2?

Your site is great.
Check Amazon, you can get them pretty cheaply!
Sounds like a recent quote from the Indianapolis Star..."boring and uninspirational."
Thanks for posting this article. I passed it on to my adminstrators. I rarely use the textbook and we are just doing fine in my fourth grade class.

Eve

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