Social Studies

Social studies teaches students not what to think, but how to think. The knowledge, skills and dispositions gained through social studies allow students to make informed decisions and participate fully in civic life. Engagement in social studies provides students with the opportunity to learn about their world and become active and involved members of their local and global communities.

The Maine Department of Education recognizes that social studies is an integral part of a comprehensive education preparing learners for college, careers and civic life. Through the study of each of the four strands of social studies—civics and government, personal finance and economics, geography, and history—students are provided with opportunities to acquire and apply knowledge and skills in a variety of authentic contexts. 

As part of the Maine DOE's commitment to supporting schools in the delivery of effective K-12 social studies instructional programs, this site offers teachers, administrators, nonprofits, higher education faculty, parents and community members with a broad range of resources reflective of Maine’s learning standards.

The State of Maine recently completed a mandatory Social Studies review process. Check out the new Standards and Instruction page to see the revised standards and supporting materials.

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities:

Understanding and Teaching The Electoral College

On Tuesday, April 27 at 3:00pm ET join Jamie Karaffa (Social Studies Teacher at Bruce Whittier Middle School) as she shares her recently completed capstone project related to understanding and teaching the Electoral College. Jamie will share different inquiries and approaches related to the Electoral College and Maine’s approach to dividing up our votes. Registration is required and educators can register here.

Writing in the History Classroom

Join Dennis Edmondson (Mt. Ararat HS) on Wednesday, May 5 at 3:00pm ET as he talks about how to teach writing in your history classroom. Registration is required and educators can register here.

Understanding Contentious Topics When Reviewing Your Social Studies Curriculum

Are you looking to review and revise your social studies curriculum and looking for support about how to align contentious topics both past and present to standards and assessment? Join DOE Social Studies Specialist Joe Schmidt as he talks about the role that contentious topics can play in setting the foundation for the social studies curriculum of your school or district. This ninety minute session starts at 2:30pm ET on Thursday, May 6 and will explore the importance of getting students comfortable with being uncomfortable, why this cannot be avoided in our classrooms, how it can be supported by curriculum leaders, and resources for starting or continuing curricular reviews in your district. This session is intended for administrators, curriculum coordinators, department chairs, and content leads who are looking for support in curriculum work. While classroom teachers are invited to attend, there will not be a focus on classroom strategies and pedagogy. Registration is required and educators can register here.

Teaching Graphic Biographies with the OER Project

How can we tie together literacy, inclusivity, and all of the advantages of teaching history globally? Join the OER Project on Wednesday, May 12 at 3:30pm ET as they share their engaging graphic biographies of individuals, mostly drawn from the ‘margins’ of world history, carefully built to help students connect these lives to the ‘big stories’ of world history, and with lesson plans that will let them practice visual and textual literacy skills. Your students will love them, and the OER Projects hopes you will too. Registration is required and educators can register here.

Teaching Global Competencies

Join Bobbie Thibodeau (SAD 15) on Wednesday, May 26 at 2:30pm ET as she talks about how to teach “Global Competencies” in your classroom. Registration is required and educators can register here.

The Power of Technology to Build Culturally Responsive Classrooms with EVERFI (Grades 8-12)

We find ourselves in a moment where the dialogue about racism - both systemic and interpersonal, is happening across the nation. As we continue to build our class culture, many educators are looking for ways to address these conversations about race in their classrooms in alignment with culturally responsive teaching practices. On Thursday, June 3 at 3:30pm ET, join EVERFI’s Maine Schools Manager Kayla Boyer, for a conversation about how educators can both strengthen their culturally responsive instruction and facilitate discussions around race, privilege, systemic racism and more in their classrooms.

In this session, they will discuss ways educators can celebrate diversity as well as strategies to create opportunities for deeper classroom conversations surrounding race and equity. Attendees will also gain access to a digital resource for teaching about Black History as well an Anti-Racism Extension Guide, complete with lessons, activities, and relevant articles. Attendees will receive:

For questions, please contact Kayla Boyer, Maine Schools Manager at or call 603-540-8162. Registration is required and educators can register here.