Cypress Bay High School Broward County Public Schools Weston, Florida

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1 ABC-CLIO S ONLINE HISTORY DATABASES SUPPORT SOCIAL STUDIES INSTRUCTION AT CYPRESS BAY HIGH SCHOOL IN BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA Cypress Bay High School Broward County Public Schools Weston, Florida A (2008): High School, grades students High school students have a three-year social studies requirement: World History (freshman) (junior) Government (senior) ABC-CLIO Online Databases Used: World Geography Scott Selvidge is an 11th Grade Honors History Teacher at Cypress Bay High School, the largest school in Broward County, Florida. He was faced with the challenge of providing his students with engaging, informative, up-to-date resources to support his classroom instruction. Not being a proponent of lecturing, and knowing that 21st century students prefer a technology component to their studies, Selvidge sought an alternative to standard, traditional textbooks. Scott Selvidge of Cypress Bay High School in Broward County has used the ABC-CLIO databases for the past five years, in lieu of textbooks. According to Selvidge: I find a lot of the tools very helpful, especially the research list; I can go in ahead of time and create a research list of links to events and people to provide my students with more concise learning material. The ABC-CLIO Advantage Selvidge further notes: This is what sets ABC-CLIO apart from other resources, vendors, and popular search engines: Databases are constantly being updated and expanded to provide new links and resources to use in teaching a subject Teachers can create links to specific subject materials ahead of time for students Supplemental text, images and media files are available Information is authoritative, unbiased, verifiable, and documented Each database is specific to a subject, filtering out irrelevant information and resources you d get from general search engines The databases are easy to navigate More current and up-to-date than textbooks Students can surf safely without getting into dangerous sites Great customer service response usually less than 24 hours What Colleagues and Students Are Reporting Selvidge has heard positive feedback about ABC-CLIO databases from his fellow educators at Cypress Bay, even among those who previously took a more lecture-oriented, traditional textbook approach to teaching a subject. Among students, he has observed: Using ABC-CLIO databases allows them to utilize technology which they find engaging and motivating, and puts a gleam in their eyes! And, they like not having to carry heavy textbooks around anymore. ABC-CLIO databases give you more accuracy less bias; they give students a better perspective and then they can draw their own conclusions about x, y, or z events. Scott Selvidge, 11th Grade Honors History Teacher, Cypress Bay High School

2 ABC-CLIO s Online Databases Fulfill a New Role as Core Content Resources for Social Studies Courses Empire High School Vail School District Tucson, Arizona High School, grades students High school students have a three-year social studies requirement: World History (freshman requirement) (junior requirement) Government (senior requirement) ABC-CLIO s Online Databases Used: Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society United States at War: Understanding Conflict and Society Empire High School opened in 2005 with a unique vision: It is the mission of Empire High School for students to become self-directed learners through positive relationships. Empire is... Culture-rich, Innovative, Challenging To accomplish their mission, the high school is one of the first to be planned, designed, built, and opened with all-wireless technology, laptops for students, and rich, digital curriculum resources. At Empire High School, all social studies classes use ABC-CLIO s online databases as their frontline content resource. As part of the school s founding vision, the social studies department elected to eliminate traditional textbooks in favor of the more dynamic, authentic core history reference resource collection from ABC-CLIO. Implementation Notes Notes Jeremy Gypton, Instructional Team Leader for social studies at Empire, In more traditional settings, the textbook was the driver of curriculum. However, we found that textbooks simply did not align appropriately with our state standards. The big difference, in using ABC-CLIO s online databases as our core content resource, is in teacher planning. We plan directly from our state social studies standards. The databases are easily aligned with what we need to do in sequence and in depth. Jeremy Gypton, Instructional Team Leader for Social Studies Implementing the 21st Century Learning Environment at Empire High School Gypton noted that he rarely distributes hard copies of materials to his students. Students work on assignments and projects in class, around the campus, and at home, using their laptops. Gypton stated, There are several ways for students to locate appropriate resources, including the Eras section in the history databases. This organizes history entries chronologically, giving students a familiar starting point for their research. Gypton has structured his American History classes into four themes. Depending on the lesson or time period, he uses the Eras section to meet his lesson goals. He also gives students problems to solve, issues to wrestle with, and activities that build their ability to conduct increasingly sophisticated searches to find materials. He structures students use of the databases according to what kinds of student work will be required to meet Arizona standards. Gypton reflected, saying Some days, the database is just that a source for reference information. Another day, we may use ABC-CLIO s online databases as the launching pad for a problem or inquiry-based lesson where students are searching for information to support an argument. It s a strategic instructional approach because students are

3 building strong research skills by using technology to find the most relevant information within the databases and at the same time, they re immersed in very high quality history content. I appreciate the flexibility of ABC-CLIO s online databases. Because of the organization and the content, they offer far more than a traditional, more static set of textbook resources. According to Gypton, his American Government students use online discussion boards to discuss current news stories that connect to the week s class discussions, often based on the current events information and historical background connections found within ABC-CLIO s online databases. The department s American History students respond to discussion questions online and comment on peers answers. These responses are part of the courses formative assessments. Strategic Teaching and Learning in History Gypton pointed out that the use of primary source documents figures prominently in his teaching methods, saying I ve always liked to use primary source documents because students have to dig deep into the antiquated language and think their way through it synthesizing meaning. But finding those unique documents can be a problem. With the ABC-CLIO databases, I can find the primary resources more efficiently, including photos, political cartoons, video, and audio. Evaluating Success When asked about the impact that the ABC-CLIO databases have had on his department s teaching and student achievement, Gypton offered these observations: Anecdotal evidence from teacher observations and evaluations points out that educators at Empire are delivering richer, more challenging, more varied lessons in terms of instructional approach and expectations. Gypton notes that teachers have more enthusiasm right along with their students. Teachers have also noted that seniors demonstrate greater capability in accessing prior knowledge and applying it to higher level projects and assignments. Teachers have also noted that students research skills have improved as they learn to conduct more targeted research that goes beyond generalized Internet searches. Gypton notes that the databases have supported his department s goals of teaching students rhetoric, core content, critical thinking and analysis skills, along with strategies for supporting an argument or thesis and deconstructing arguments. He summed it all up by saying, I couldn t do all of this three or four years ago. Then, I spent a lot more time trying to put together materials relevant to my lessons. I m convinced that I teach better using ABC-CLIO s online databases. My lessons are richer and more challenging and that s entirely because I have a resource that is genuinely comprehensive and easy to use. Note: Jeremy Gypton, Empire High School, is an ABC-CLIO History Fellow. He has been interviewed by National Public Radio, CBS This Morning, ABC, and the Associated Press about his innovative use of digital resources in his history classroom. To hear Jeremy s NPR interview, go to

4 ABC-CLIO S ONLINE HISTORY DATABASES SUPPORT SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM IN KATY, TEXAS Katy Independent School District Katy, Texas A ( ): 55,000 students 47 schools including 18 secondary schools*: 6 high schools 1 career center 1 alternative education center 10 junior high schools ABC-CLIO s Online Databases Used: World Geography * 2 new secondary schools scheduled to open for the school year When the state of Texas launched the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards for social studies, the Katy Independent School District s social studies textbooks were not aligned to the new standards. A new textbook adoption was at least two years away. Students in Texas take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) social studies tests at grade 8 and 10 and are required to pass an Exit Level social studies assessment for graduation. To answer their needs for standards alignment and preparation for social studies tests, Katy ISD chose ABC-CLIO s social studies online databases and has been using them for eight years almost from the time they were first introduced. When educators access specific curriculum objectives and standards, they find links to supporting primary and secondary resources in ABC-CLIO s online database resources. According to Ginny Garvic, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist (K-7), We don t just say go to ABC-CLIO World History, we take them right to the articles, which saves teachers a lot of time. The look of the new site with the Version 2.0 upgrade is very student- and teacher-friendly. What Teachers and Librarians Are Reporting In both junior high and high school, teachers use the databases for additional information and visuals to enhance their lessons. Teachers find it valuable to be able to show a picture of a particular region or to display images from the eras they re covering to strengthen students conceptual understanding. Sixth grade teachers appreciate the features and functionality of CLIOView in the World Geography database for meeting learning objectives for comparing countries and using demographics. According to Cheryl Salois, Secondary Lead Librarian, We saw the need to subscribe to the American Government database because it offered access to data about Supreme Court cases. Our Government classes do a great deal of research around Supreme Court cases and this online database offered rich information for student inquiry. Salois also notes that the district also uses the World History: Ancient and databases for their high school Latin classes, an unexpected, added value. We were especially excited about CLIOView, the statistical comparison tool, because it helps our students learn to use data. Ginny Garvic, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist (K-7)

5 Implementation Notes Katy ISD subscribes to the databases districtwide so that all secondary campuses have access and all the librarians can help students and faculty find the information they need for class assignments and projects. In addition, librarians find the MLA citations for every page and every image especially helpful. According to Salois, Katy students can access ABC-CLIO s online databases directly from their libraries web sites. ABC-CLIO online database icons also appear on the district s home page. Students access the databases from the library and many students access the databases from home, using a password. They can also send themselves articles and images from the library to their home computers. Salois notes, We like to bring our history teachers in and provide training about the databases. We typically conduct these sessions at the beginning of the year, so everyone starts out with information they can build on throughout the year. Teaching 21st Century Research Skills Katy ISD recommends its students go to resources like the ABC- CLIO online databases for research projects rather than the open Internet because of the accuracy and reliability of the information in the databases. We really value ABC-CLIO online databases. It s just something good we can do for our teachers, and especially for our students by giving them access to this set of authoritative resources. Cheryl Salois, Secondary Lead Librarian Salois adds, There is a wealth of information in ABC-CLIO s online databases and it is very well presented. Just about anything we want is in there. We can access any one of the five databases we have or we can search across all five simultaneously. For deeper research, we also have ABC-CLIO s ebooks and links within the databases to relevant, recommended websites. This makes searching more productive for both our students and teachers. Salois further states: We teach students year after year that they need to verify their sources from the Internet. They find an article and don t know if it s true. We try to steer the kids away from that and guide them to content that is verified, accurate, reliable and authoritative like ABC-CLIO online databases. All of ABC-CLIO s online databases match our curriculum and that s the critical part. Plus, the customer service is excellent and meets our needs for support and response. Ginny Garvic, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist (K-7)

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