Supporting New Colleagues

Whew! Kansas teachers have just about the first month of school under our belts. Heck, Homecoming is this weekend here in El Dorado. You may finally have the feeling that your feet are on solid ground, having made it through all the new faces, rosters, seating charts, data sorting, lesson planning, meet the teacher nights, etc. Of course, now we’re into our first big assignments to be graded, parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and if you’re also coaching your away games mean at least one night a week is taken over by bus rides, encouragement and fast food. Now try to remember what it was like figuring it all out for the first time. Wow.

 

School Teacher Children Classroom Playmobil

We know that schools in Kansas haven’t exactly flourished in the past few years and that has really effected teachers. The Wichita NBC affiliate KSN ran a story that Kansas is down 1500 teachers for this school year. Is anyone surprised that our young people aren’t flocking to the profession? So I’m asking that if there are any new teachers in your building, please check in with them, even if they’re not a fellow social studies instructor (we’ll forgive them this once). Ask them if they need anything – help them navigate the teacher’s lounge, or share the trick about fixing a jam in the copier. Let them know there’s a lifeguard on duty in case they start to feel like they’re drowning.

We need to encourage and support our new colleagues so we don’t lose them; lock them in before they figure out there are actually jobs that end at 5:00 and have weekends off. In addition to personal outreach, there are a lot of good resources out there for new teachers to tap: Edutopia has a Toolkit for New Teachers, the National Education Association has a good selection of articles for new teachers on many of the issues that don’t necessarily get covered in university programs. Parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and ASCD has a good set of guidelines to get them started.

There are also a wealth of networks new teachers can join that are on-going. You might have caught my post back in March on #sschat. They’ve seen the need and created the new hashtag #NTsschat just for New Teachers (NTs). The National Council for the Social Studies also has their Twitter account @NCSSNetwork and Facebook page and the Technology Community has the handle @TechNCSS.

In fact, @TechNCSS will be hosting a Twitter Chat of their own tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19) just for the problems faced by new teachers. Please encourage your new teachers to join us (once again, even if they’re not social studies, maybe learning about Twitter Chats will help them to find their way to one in their curriculum). You can feel free to join us if you want to help answer their questions or you’ve been interested in checking one out. This is one that will have a lot of basics if you want to lurk and pick up some new resources.

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5 Easy Ways to Integrate Writing in the Social Studies

Today’s post is written by Cheney, Kansas middle and high social studies teacher Jill Weber. Jill is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year.


Gone are the days in which reading novels and writing essays belonged solely in an ELA classroom.  All subjects are now expected to (and should) be integrating and supporting the reading and writing skills that students are taught in Language Arts class.

“But, but . . . I went to college to be a history teacher, not an English teacher. I don’t know HOW to teach ELA!”

That was me. Seriously. I was ready to fight teaching reading and writing skills as long as I could.

Until I learned some simple strategies to help me.  This list is meant to help those who are struggling to add reading and writing skills into their classrooms and possibly give some new ideas to others. Continue reading 5 Easy Ways to Integrate Writing in the Social Studies

2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

ks ss conf logo

Be sure to mark your calendar and start making plans to attend the 2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

Join us for a great time on November 5-6, 2017 in downtown Wichita at the historic Hotel at Old Town and Conference Center. You won’t want to miss it! Get the full details at the conference website.

The conference theme is focused on the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills and assessments with a special highlight on economics and the state board’s Kansans Can vision. You’ll walk away smarter with new details about the upcoming Spring 2018 social studies assessment, civic engagement strategies, tech integration tools, current best practice, and the latest from the Kansas Council for Economic Education.

Registration Fee:
$50 – Kansas Teachers/Administrators
$20 – Kansas Pre-service Teachers
$50 – Exhibitors

The registration fee also include hors d’oeuvres at the awards reception Sunday evening, breakfast Monday morning, and lunch Monday afternoon so don’t delay and register today!  We can send you an invoice to pay registration at a later date but reserve your hotel as soon as possible.

Extra bonus? The conference is in the center of Old Town with all sorts of fun things to do. We’ve also arranged for amazing prices at the Hotel at Old Town, a great piece of Wichita history.  Be sure to reserve your room before the October 12th cutoff date.  Don’t wait until the last minute as these rooms will go fast at this rate!  Contact the hotel directly to book your reservation. (You can request an invoice so the school can provide payment/check at check in.)

Room Rates:old hotel
Queen Studio – $79.00/night
King Studio – $89.00/night
Queen/Queen Studio – $99.00/night

Conference Schedule:

This conference will have great information for all grade levels, including special sessions for elementary teachers. Full details on the session schedule is coming in early October. (Interested in presenting?)

Sunday, November 5th:

3:00 – 6:15 p.m.
Afternoon workshops

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Reception/awards ceremony with hors d’oeuvres and drinks

KSDE Update from Don Gifford

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7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Special screening of Dawn of Day, a historical documentary about the Underground Railroad in Kansas that brings to light Wabaunsee County’s unsung heroes who traversed one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history. Faith, family, and politics united a community of neighbors who lived and died to ensure Kansas was a free state. Hang around after for conversation and teaching tips.

Monday November 6th

8:00 a.m.
Breakfast

Guest Speaker:  Mark Schug, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Breakout sessions

Lunch 

3:30 p.m.
Conference closing

Session Proposals:

We are currently soliciting session proposals so be sure to send us a proposal by September 20th if you have some great information to share with colleagues.  

Get more info and submit your proposal online

Your homework?

  • Save the date.
  • Talk to your admin.
  • Bookmark the website.
  • Submit a session proposal.
  • Share this information with your social studies colleagues.

Need more info? Contact:

Angela Howdeshell
Vice President for Programs & Administration
Kansas Council for Economic Education
kcee@wichita.edu
316-978-5183
www.kcee.wichita.edu

KCSS Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Awards

large_kcss toyKCSS is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Awards.  This award is intended to reward and encourage high quality instruction in the social studies. Winners of the award exhibit innovative and effective instructional strategies, utilize state and national standards, foster a spirit of inquiry, develop democratic beliefs and values, and participate in professional organizations.  Nominees for the award must be presently serving as a social studies educator (K-12) with at least a half-time appointment and have taught a minimum of three years at the designated grade level. Awards will be given at K-6 and 7-12 grade levels.

If you are interested in nominating a social studies teacher, or you would like to nominate yourself, please complete and submit the nomination form.  Complete nomination packets (1-2 page letter from nominee, professional resume, and 2 letters of recommendation) can then be submitted to either the email or mailing address listed at the top of the nomination form.

Complete nomination packets must be submitted by September 15th, winners will be notified by October 1st, and are expected to attend the Kansas Social Studies Conference in Wichita on November 5th & 6th.  Winners will be announced during a reception at the conference on Sunday night and are awarded $250, conference registration, and travel expenses. Both winners are automatically considered for the Kansas State Combined Teaching Award and are also eligible for the National Council of the Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award.

Download the information sheet for additional details about the award.

Increasing student engagement through place-based education: The Flint Hills Maps & Education program

Guest Post: This month we have a guest post from Anne Wilson, Map Program Coordinator for the Flint Hills Map and Education Program.


As teachers, we often hear students lament:  “What does this have to do with me?”  We know if our kids believe an idea actually affects them, it all of a sudden really matters.  However, actually relating learning to students’ own lives and local environment takes time and background knowledge we don’t always have.

Now a grass-roots team of teachers in the Flint Hills region has developed a new “place-based education” program – designed to connect learning to students’ own heritage, culture, landscapes, ecology, economy, and experiences as a foundation for the study of core subjects.

How important is place?  Bio-regionalist author Wendell Berry writes, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Many of our students think they’re from nowhere.  They are connected to everywhere but where they are.  This program gives them the gift of pride, understanding and commitment to their place.

The bonus is: Continue reading Increasing student engagement through place-based education: The Flint Hills Maps & Education program