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Foundation for Success

We recognize that every student is unique and that all students benefit from learning in different ways. TCI uses a variety of proven instructional practices that allow students of all abilities to master key social studies concepts at every grade level.

The TCI Approach


Lessons are based on five well established theories:

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Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe)

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe believe that teaching for deep understanding must begin with planning the big ideas students should learn. That's why you'll see an Essential Question at the start of every chapter.

Nonlinguistic Representation (Marzano)

Research by Robert Marzano and colleagues demonstrates that teaching with nonlinguistic activities helps improve comprehension. Graphic organizers and movement activities are key to TCI lessons.

Multiple Intelligences (Gardner)

Howard Gardner believes that all students are intelligent — just not in the same ways. TCI activities address Gardner's seven intelligences: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

Cooperative Interaction (Cohen)

Elizabeth Cohen's research shows that cooperative groupwork leads to learning gains and higher student achievement. Working in small groups is a cornerstone of TCI activities.

Spiral Curriculum (Bruner)

Jerome Bruner championed the idea of the spiral curriculum, in which students learn progressively — understanding increasingly difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step discovery. TCI questioning strategies spiral from simple recall to higher-order thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation.


Using a variety of approaches to teaching helps all students succeed. Our classroom activities are centered around these six teaching strategies:

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Visual DiscoveryVideo

In Visual Discovery activities, students view, touch, interpret, and bring to life compelling images as they discover key social studies concepts. Seeing and interacting with an image in combination with reading and recording notes on the content helps students remember salient ideas.

Watch a Visual Discovery Video

Social Studies Skill BuildersVideo

In Social Studies Skill Builders, students work in pairs or small groups on fast-paced, skill-oriented tasks such as mapping, graphing, identifying perspective, and interpreting primary sources to enhance their understanding of chapter content.

Watch a Social Studies Skill Builder Video

Experiential ExerciseVideo

In Experiential Exercises, participating in short, memorable experiences helps students grasp social studies concepts. Through the use of movement and introspection, students capture a moment or feeling that is central to understanding a particular concept or historical event.

Watch a Experiential Exercise Video

Writing for UnderstandingVideo

Writing for Understanding activities give students rich experiences, such as role-playing, discussing complex issues, or acting out key events to write about. Students develop ideas and form opinions during the experience, before beginning to write. The experience becomes a springboard for writing, challenging students to clarify ideas, organize information, and express what they have learned. These activities give all learners, even those with lesser linguistic skills, something memorable to write about.

Watch a Writing for Understanding Video

Response GroupsVideo

In Response Group activities, students work in small groups with thought-provoking resources to discuss critical thinking questions among themselves. A presenter then shares each group's findings with the class.

Watch the Response Group Strategy Video

Problem Solving GroupworkVideo

In Problem Solving Groupwork activities, students work in heterogeneous groups to create projects that require multiple abilities so that every student can contribute. Within a group, each student performs a defined role. Groups present their completed projects to the class.

Watch a Problem Solving Groupwork Video


Every TCI lesson includes these instructional practices:

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Standards-Based Content

Dynamic lessons build mastery of state and national social studies standards. TCI Lessons achieve a consistent pattern of high quality social studies instruction while being mindful of standards.

Preview Assignment

A short, engaging assignment at the start of each lesson helps you preview key concepts and tap students' prior knowledge and personal experience.

Considerate Text

Carefully structured reading materials enable students at all levels to understand what they read. Considerate text recognizes that a successful reading of expository text involves four stages: previewing the content, reading, taking notes, and processing the content or reviewing and applying what has been learned.

Graphically Organized Reading Notes

Comprehensive graphic organizers used to record key ideas help students obtain meaning from what they read. Graphic organizers help students to see the underlying logic and interconnections among concepts by improving their comprehension and retention in the subject area.

Processing Assignment

An end-of-lesson processing assignment, involving multiple intelligences and higher-order thinking skills, challenges students to apply what they've learned. Processing assignments encourage students to synthesize and apply the information they have learned in a variety of creative ways.

Assessments to Inform Instruction

Carefully designed tests encourage students to use their various intelligences to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts while preparing them for standardized tests.


© 2014 - TCI | Social Studies Textbooks, Science Textbooks & Curriculum for K-12 Schools