I Was in the Room Where it Happened!

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 2.54.13 PMThis week’s post comes from Dr. Robyn Kelso. Robyn teaches senior American Government, American National Government, and International Relations at Eudora High School in Eudora, KS. Robyn enjoys learning across social studies and am curious about the world as a whole.  Robyn also enjoys reading and working on her hobby cattle farm.


Those who are familiar with the headline . . . yes, it is a shameless steal from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. I was lucky enough to have stars align and enable me to take three different professional development fellowships this summer. I felt this lyric particularly applied for my first trip as part of the Supreme Court Summer Institute through Street Law in Washington DC.  From content learning to lesson plans and a visit to the Supreme Court to hear opinions announced during the last days of the term, this was a terrific opportunity all the way around.

My takeaways from this experience included several things:

Continue reading I Was in the Room Where it Happened!

Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started

I’ve got a problem for you to solve. So go find your thinking cap.

Ready?

Here’s the problem. In 60 seconds, list all the ways that reading fiction is good for you.

And . . . go. (Feel free to Google it. I’m okay with that.)

Ready to compare lists?

Reading:

Fiction can expand our view of both ourselves and others:

The humanities interrogate us. They challenge our sense of who we are, even of who our brothers and sisters might be.

“It could have been me” is the threshold for the vistas that literature and art make available to us . . . education is not about memorizing poems or knowing when X wrote Y, and what Z had to say about it. It is, instead, about the human record that is available to us in libraries and museums and theaters and online. But that record lives and breathes; it is not calculable or teachable via numbers or bullet points. Instead, it requires something that we never fail to do before buying clothes: Trying the garment on.

Art and literature are tried on. Reading a book, seeing a painting or a play or a film: Such encounters are fueled by affect as well as intelligence. Much “fleshing out” happens here: We invest the art with our own feelings, but the art comes to live inside us, adding to our own repertoire. Art obliges us to “first-personalize” the world. Our commerce with art makes us fellow travelers: to other cultures, other values, other selves.

So what’s our conclusion? Continue reading Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started

Teacher’s Deserve More Than An Apple! KCSS Teacher of the Year Award

all winners

Nominations for the 2018 KCSS Teacher of the Year are now being accepted at both the elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) levels. Winners will be announced at the fall state social studies conference 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.

Continue reading Teacher’s Deserve More Than An Apple! KCSS Teacher of the Year Award

Good Historical Thinking Begins With The Right Question

adam-topliff

This week’s poster is Adam Topliff: I teach 8th Grade Social Studies & Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  I love all things Hamilton!


It’s almost that time again, school is just around the corner.  Time to unpack your classrooms, create your new catchy bulletin boards and really think about lesson planning.  The unpacking and bulletin boards seems to always go quicker and with much less stress. However, the planning of how to kick off school and reflecting on the design and layout of what we explore throughout the year can sometime be a bit overwhelming.  The most important thing I think about in lesson design is not the fun activities or exploration, but the question. To create classrooms that engage in good historical thinking we have to develop the right question or questions from the very beginning.  So what are the right types of questions? Let’s explore . . . 

  • The Google Factor
    The discussion about questions that kids can Google the answer is not something new.  So this is a just a short reminder, don’t create questions for your kids to investigate that can be Googled and answered in just a couple of minutes.  Check out Glenn Wiebe’s post on his History Tech Blog that sheds more light in creating the UnGoogleable question. “If they can Google it, why do they need you?”
  • The C3 Inquiry
    If you have never spent some time investigating the C3 Framework and its Inquiry Arc you need to get over there.  Developed by NCSS to assist states in creating curriculum, the C3 Inquiry Arc begins first with developing solid inquiry based questions.

Inquiry Arc Format

 

In developing questions the Inquiry Arc asks that you have questions that will compel students to use multiple Social Studies disciplines and use evidence/sources in drawing a conclusion.  So when you think about your question, do they require your kids to do this?

  • Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
    Good news – if you are struggling to figure out what to ask, there are great resources that have pre-created inquiry based questions.  The New York State Social Studies K-12 Resource Kit provides a great site that you can search by grade level and topics. Once you find a an inquiry that might fit what you are looking for, you can quickly download the entire Inquiry Arc with all the compelling questions and formative type of activities that can be used in class. NYC Inquiries You also can create an account and create your own inquiries using their resources and push it out digitally to your students.  

Gilder Lehrman has a amazing list of inquiry based questions that are listed in chronological order and allow for great historical investigation and discussion – “Essential Questions in Teaching American History”

So as you kick off the school year and begin unpacking your lesson plans don’t forget to start with just the right question.

Summer Professional Development . . . on Instagram?

barefoot beach blur break

Teacher Perks: “You get summers off.”

How many times have you had someone outside the education profession say this to you? If you are reading this blog post, chances are you know that it’s really not true. You probably know that teachers use these precious summer months to recharge, refuel, and LEARN. We strive to find ways to perfect our craft and answer questions that came up over the past school year.

This is the first summer that I did not physically attend multiple professional development conferences or workshops in June and July. I say “physically” because looking back on the past few months, I do feel that I attended professional development in a new and different way. Over the past year, I have found a new community on Instagram.

access blur close up colorful

This community is filled with educators from all different content areas and age ranges. Educators are posting lesson plan ideas, classroom management strategies, classroom organization tips, and even personal stories and experiences. Many of them have stores on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogs, or vlogs and are sharing content / pedagogical strategies for the world to access at our finger tips.

How to Get Started

I first started by creating a separate account just for my education world. I tried to Continue reading Summer Professional Development . . . on Instagram?