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In today's climate of accountability and high-stakes testing, many U.S. schools are choosing to focus on the three Rs to the exclusion of other subjects, including social studies. Yet it is more crucial than ever for schools to foster the qualities that will enable students to actively participate in a democratic and global society. The Essentials of Social Studies, Grades K-8 takes a look at how innovative educators are helping students to hone these skills. Readers of this book will learn more about *The challenges that elementary and middle school teachers face in keeping social studies in the curriculum. * How to align social studies lessons with curriculum standards. * Strategies to infuse social studies instruction with passion and purpose. * Ways to promote students' deep understanding of social studies content. * Why lessons and assessments should give students opportunities to solve problems, work on projects, and engage in simulations. * How social studies can prepare students for a lifetime of active civic involvement. * Professional development that will help teachers bring the social studies curriculum to life in the classroom. The future of the United States in no small part depends on how well social studies teachers prepare students to assume their responsibilities as citizens. The Essentials of Social Studies, Grades K-8 will help teachers rise to this considerable challenge.