The Social Studies Open Education Resource (OER) Team is working hard to develop a new social studies curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. On October 11, their efforts took them out of the office and into downtown Franklin.

Made up of social studies teachers from around the district, the OER Team will discuss, create and build a brand-new curriculum that will help students learn.

Franklin is home to plenty of historical sights and monuments, something the OER Team took advantage of by going on a walking tour of downtown. By stopping at places like the Historic Masonic Building, the first three-story building in Tennessee, and the Williamson County Archives, they could make connections between the curriculum they are creating and the students they are teaching.

“Sometimes when we’re in history class, students think that everything is happening far away or a really long time ago,” said Franklin High AP Human Geography teacher Ashley Flood. “They pass by things all the time that are named after people or events. The more they make these local connections, the more likely they are to want to preserve that history.”

The OER Team is taking a technological approach to the new curriculum. The online approach makes it easier to adapt and update information, and it also doesn’t require students to carry around heavy textbooks.

“Pretty much everything we’re doing is online and digital,” Flood said. “A lot of the historical documents are digitized, so we can embed them into our curriculum. We’re able to weave it all together so it’s a cohesive plan.”

The team has been looking at state standards and understanding what needs to be covered during the year. After getting the big ideas down, the team can figure out how to weave in Williamson County history.

“That’s the cool thing about this Open Education Resource project,” Flood said. “It’s a living document. We can always go back and add things as they come up. We have these communities within Williamson County that each have their own histories and background stories. Being able to add those things in and help kids understand the uniqueness of their community.”