Professional Learning - Social Studies

As schools and educators transitioned to distance learning during the spring and early summer of 2020, I started a series of professional development opportunities for educators to support best practices in social studies education during these difficult times. In the end, eighty-three sessions were hosted and recorded. Those sessions have been sorted and cross connected across the fifteen subcategories below.

Professional Development Sorted By Category:


Teaching Maine History with Primary Sources

Looking for ways to connect your students with national issues and events through a local lens? Having trouble finding time to navigate all the information and websites out there? This workshop series provides an interactive exploration of some great (and free) resources for Maine-based documents, images, and artifacts.

Following an introduction to teaching with primary sources by the Maine Department of Education, the Maine State Archives, Maine State Library, Maine State Museum, and Maine Historical Society will showcase the tools and online resources they have available to educators.

Part 1: Diving into Maine History with Primary Sources

Part 2: Webinar - Teaching with the "Freedom & Captivity" Primary Source Set

Part 3: Webinar - Teaching with the "Maine's Bicentennial" Primary Source Set

Part 4: Webinar - Teaching with the "Maine Pandemics" Primary Source Set


MOOSE Module Webinars

During the summer of 2020, the Maine DOE worked in collaboration with curriculum coordinators, Maine educational community organizations, museums, learning centers, and Maine educators to develop learning modules as part of the MOOSE initiative. The purpose of these modules is to provide anytime, anywhere learning options and resources for educators, students and their families that are aligned to Maine’s Learning Results.

Integrated across subject areas and project-based, these asynchronous modules ensure that learning is active, engaging, and continuous. Modules could be utilized for enhancing lessons, remediation, enrichment, credit recovery, or for use during remote learning – whenever a student cannot access classroom instruction. Each module is designed around the essential question, “How do I Interact with and Impact My World?” Modules are organized by grade level in grades pk-5 and by grade span for grades 6-8 and 9-12. The webinars below are led by some of the educators who worked to create the modules. They share their work, the thought process behind the module, and ideas about how to incorporate the modules into your classroom curriculum.

Student YouTube Live Discussion

Social Studies Specialist Joe Schmidt hosted Emma Humphries (iCivics & CivXNow) to answer questions submitted by Maine students about the upcoming election and to share resources for students and teachers to use to learn more.

Check out the recording of the session: Getting From "Can't Vote. Don't Care" to "Count Me In"

Teacher Leader Webinar Series

Social Studies Expert Webinar Series

Virtual Professional Development with Joe Schmidt


The Maine Department of Education offers the following professional development opportunities for Maine teachers. These events can be hour long, two-hour long, half-day, or full-day events. For more information, please contact Joe Schmidt.


Research-Based Best Practices in the Social Studies Classroom

A general overview of the research-based best practices in social studies and how they connect to each other and what you are doing in your classroom. The two-day workshop has time to create/adapt lessons.

GOAL: Initial preparation and professional development programs that are rigorous, relevant, and data-driven.


Disciplinary Literacy in Social Studies

Disciplinary literacy is not just reading in the content area. Learn what disciplinary literacy looks like in the social studies.

GOAL: Rigorous standards and aligned curricula.


Engaging Students Using Primary Sources

Bring social studies alive by having students explore primary sources and come to their own conclusions.

GOAL: Learner-centered instructional practices.


The Inquiry-Based Social Studies Classroom

Allow students to learn social studies in ways that they are curious about while developing the skills necessary to show proficiency in their learning.

GOAL: Student voice and choice in the demonstration of learning.


Curriculum and Standards Review

Examine how your curriculum scope and sequence aligns with skills and standards to review where adjustments can be made.

GOAL: Rigorous standards and aligned curricula.


DBQs in the Classroom

Learn about how DBQs support disciplinary literacy while addressing content and skills.

GOAL: Learner-centered instructional practices.


Using CCSS in your Social Studies Classroom

Using CCSS for Literacy in the social studies and ELA to improve your students' reading, writing, and speaking skills in the classroom.

GOAL: Rigorous standards and aligned curricula.


Using the Arts to Teach Social Studies

Doing a close read of art and photographs can support student learning about people, places, and events throughout history.

GOAL: Rigorous standards and aligned curricula.


Tech-Based Resources in the Social Studies Classroom

With so many resources available, learn about some of the best ways to integrate technology in social studies.

GOAL: Comprehensive integration of technology.


Learning from Great Teachers on Twitter

Learn how to develop a professional learning community online with Twitter that allows you to learn from the best educators from around the world every day.

GOAL: Communities of practice designed to foster continuous improvement.


Questions are the New Answers

Instead of having students give you answers, challenge them to ask questions that show their understanding of topics.

GOAL: Student voice and choice in the demonstration of learning.