Don Gifford is the Education Program Consultant for Social Studies for the Kansas State Department of Education .
The events of March 14th created a sense of excitement around civic engagement. The tragedy of the Parkland shooting coupled with other school shootings inspired students to action. So when the very inspirational student leaders of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School called for a national school walk out on March 14th, I could hardly wait to see how it manifested itself here. I happened to be traveling around the state talking with school administrators March 13th thru the 15th. I soon realized that some schools were going to miss a great opportunity to champion civic engagement in their schools. Continue reading March 14th: How Schools Missed The Opportunity To Champion Civic Engagement
The Spring Sunflower newsletter is out. And you’re going want to read it. Why?
- Spring break reading list.
- Teacher of the year nominations.
- Free money.
- Professional learning opportunities.
- Plus some handy resources.
Get it all by clicking the image below.
This week’s post comes from Thomas Fulbright:
“I have been teaching history at Hope Street Academy, a public charter school, in Topeka since 2008. My wife and I have three daughters, Claire, Nora, and Meredith. I intend to spend my entire life convincing them how exciting and important history is! My bio picture is of Claire and I meeting President Lincoln!”
During the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to attend the Gilder Lehrman teacher seminar American Foreign Policy since 1898, led by Dr. Jeremi Suri from the University of Texas. The seminar was going very well – until in an offhand comment, Dr. Suri implied that the way I teach history is bad for our democracy.
At that time, I was teaching my class using Structured Academic Controversies, following the model of Stanford History Education Group. His basic argument was I focus too much on having students judge the decisions made in the past rather than try to understand why those decisions were made. He told us that we need to see the decisions made in the past as the actions of logical decision makers and though we may not always like the logic those decision makers used, they still made those decisions for specific reasons. Continue reading Why does what happened in 1890 still matter? Helping students make the connection
Are budget cuts hampering your creative ideas? If so, a KCSS classroom mini-grant just might be the answer to helping you put those ideas into practice. This year KCSS will award two $250 grants – one each to a K-6 and a 7-12 social studies teacher.
Projects that are eligible for the grant include materials and resources needed to improve instruction or to carry out special projects. We’re especially looking for mini-grant proposals that will act like a Kickstarter campaign – funding projects and instruction that can be used multiple times with multiple classes rather than a one-time project or event. And while we believe in the power of field trips, KCSS mini-grants are not designed for that type of teaching activity.
(Not a Kansas social studies teacher? Sorry. Jayhawkers only.)
Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to be part of several teacher conversations focused on the integration of social studies and literacy. And for the last few years, I’ve had the chance to work with the Kansas Department of Education and Kansas teachers as we rolled out our revised state standards and assessments – both of which concentrate on finding ways for kids to read, write, and communicate in the discipline.
So while I am not some super duper ELA expert, I did think that I knew a little something about literacy tools. But I recently got a great wake-up call that let me know that there is always something new to learn.
I was doing some internet browsing for literacy activities and ran across references to something I had never heard of before. And it looks like an awesome tool to slip into your bag of tricks.
Structure strips. Continue reading Structure strips. Seriously . . . where have you been hiding?