National Council for the Social Studies
Alternative Skills Frameworks
[1990, 1994]

 NCSS Skills
 Writing & Composition


 Writing & Composition
 Essential Skills
 Civic Action Skills
 1990 Skills

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Not to confuse you, but there are a couple of variations of Social Studies skills frameworks floating around. The skills reported in the online version of Expectations of Excellence: National Standards for Social Studies are listed under a section on Applying Skills to Civic Action. The text below largely mirrors what they have written there.

There is also a set of skills from 1990, although I'm uncertain about their source, other than they are another set of skills put out by the National Council for the Social Studies. A brief description of those four skill areas is also below.

Because it is extremely beneficial, and essential, that you consider when strategies are best used, a skills framework can be of tremendous use to you. It gives you a way to think about what your students are actually doing and to match the strategies to the behaviors you would like to see. Toward that end, there are three blank versions of social studies skills charts; pick one, download it (you will need Adobe Acrobat or a similar reader), and print it out. Then fill it out with the strategies that best correspond to the given skills, and behaviors, you want your students engaged in and demonstrating.

Applying Skills to Civic Action [1994]

These skill categories should not be seen as a fragmented list of things that students and teachers should do. Rather, they should be used as an interconnected framework in which each skill is dependent upon and enriched by all other skills. All together are necessary for a program of excellence:

Acquiring Information and Manipulating Data
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be designed to increase the student's ability to read, study, search for information, use social science technical vocabulary and methods, and use computers and other electronic media.

Developing and Presenting Arguments, Policies, and Stories
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be designed to increase the student's ability to use the writing process and to classify, interpret, analyze, summarize, evaluate, and present information in well-reasoned ways that support better decision-making for both individuals and society.

Constructing New Knowledge
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be designed to increase the student's ability to conceptualize unfamiliar categories of information, establish cause/effect relationships, determine the validity of information and arguments, and develop a new story, model, narrative, picture, or chart that adds to the student's understanding of an event, idea, or persons while meeting criteria of valid social studies research.

Participating in Groups
To develop this skill category, the social studies program should be designed to increase the student's ability to express and advocate reasoned personal convictions within groups, recognize mutual ethical responsibility in groups, participate in negotiating conflicts and differences or maintain an individual position because of its ethical basis, work individually and in groups, and accept and fulfill responsibilities associated with citizenship in a democratic republic.

Social Studies Skills [1990]

Data Gathering Skills
Students acquire information by observation or reading a variety of sources, ranging from textbooks to primary sources to newspapers. This is what we do in social studies first: we seek out and examine information which is then used to help us make sense of the world around us or to inform our subsequent actions.

Intellectual Skills
Students compare, classify, question, draw conclusions, generalize, and predict. When students engage their intellectual skills, they are taking the information they have gathered and are manipulating it in some way to lead to greater understanding, to assist in resolving inquiry, to assimilate it, or to extend it.

Decision Making Skills
Students consider alternatives and their respective consequences; they make decisions and justify them; they act on their decisions.

Interpersonal Skills
Students are encouraged to think about their place among the larger group; to empathize; to consider their own beliefs and those of others.


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