Elementary Social Studies Newsletter

September 2014

DBQ Update for
4th and 5th Grades

Last May, we gathered a team together from grades 4th-11th to develop a common rubric to promote student reflection and specific feedback on the DBQs. These rubrics were developed by Instructional Coaches from every secondary campus, elementary teachers from around the district, and a consultant from the DBQ project. The team looked at student samples and determine expectations of students at each level. Once we had a clear understanding of what students were capable of doing, the team determined what we would hold the students accountable for at each level and designed both rubrics and a vertical skills document.

The DBQ Rubrics and skills expectations have been loaded into Eduphoria, within each DBQ. These are soft copies and minor adjustments are perfect acceptable. What we want to hold tightly are the "look fors" and expectations of the rubrics. We want the rubrics to lower the grading burden, while still offering our students a chance to grow and learn to be better thinkers, and writers.  

Be on the lookout for after-school PD opportunities to learn more about the DBQ process.   

Constitution Day

September 17, 2014 marks the 227th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. This national observance began in 2004, after Senator Robert Byrd passed a bill designating September 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and learn more about our founding document. Senator Byrd once said, "Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world." He believed that all citizens should know about their rights as outlined in the Constitution. The law mandates the teaching of the Constitution in schools that receive federal funds, as well as federal agencies. -Constitution Center

There are Constitution Day Resources loaded in Eduphoria or you can create your own lessons to commemorate this day. Please send us pictures of the great activities your campus does to be featured in next month's newsletter!

Celebrate Freedom Week

What is Celebrate Freedom Week All About & What Do We Need To Focus On?

From TEKS Grades 3-12:

Instruction during Celebrate Freedom Week. Each social studies class shall include, during Celebrate Freedom Week as provided under Texas Education Code, appropriate instruction concerning the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in their historical contexts. The study of the Declaration of Independence must include the study of the relationship of the ideas expressed in that document to subsequent American history, including the relationship of its ideas to the rich diversity of our people as a nation of immigrants, the American Revolution, the formulation of the United States Constitution, and the abolitionist movement, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the women's suffrage movement.(b) Recitation during Celebrate Freedom Week. (1) Each school district shall require that, during Celebrate Freedom Week or other week of instruction prescribed under subsection (a) of this section, students in Grades 3 - 12 study and recite the following text: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."

(2) Each school district shall excuse from the recitation a student: (A) whose parent or guardian submits to the district a written request that the student be excused; (B) who, as determined by the district, has a conscientious objection to the recitation; or (C) who is the child of a representative of a foreign government to whom the United States government extends diplomatic immunity.

See attached Sample Announcements from Region 13- if your campus would like to incorporate some announcements each day of Celebrate Freedom Week.

Heritage Museum and American Railroad Museum Information

The Frisco Heritage Museum is excited to welcome both 2nd grade and 3rd grade to the museum this year!  We are asking for 2nd grade groups to schedule their visits this fall during the study of Frisco History.  3rd grade will visit the museum in the spring.  Please contact Pete Hosp at PHosp@friscotexas.gov to schedule your visit.

The American Railroad Museum in Frisco is also offering quality programming to North Texas schools. These can be offered on campus or at the museum and were developed with a partnership with FISD. The Museum programs are aligned to the Social Studies TEKS.  Campuses may do both sites in the same visit.  Contact the Railroad Museum for more information regarding programs and scheduling.

Below is a link to the program announcement on the Museum’s homepage:


Below is a link to the Educational Program Directory:


Hispanic Heritage Month

"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period." - taken from hispanichertiagemonth.gov

To learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month and to get more resources click on the following link