Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

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Plans are underway for the 2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference and we hope you will save the date for November 5-6, 2017 in Wichita.  This year’s conference will focus on how Kansans Can with Social Studies Education.  Registration is only $50 for Kansas teachers/administrators and pre-service teachers will pay only $20.  There will be great sessions for all K-12 grades and you can’t go wrong with the price so be sure to register!  This year we will be in Wichita at the Hotel at Old Town Conference Center in the heart of downtown Wichita where all the action is located.  From out of town?  We have reserved a block of rooms at the Hotel at Old town.  You’ll love the hotel price of $79/queen studio or $99/2 queens studio.  Be sure to reserve your room at 877-265-3869 and request the Kansas Social Studies Conference block rate.  It is a great bargain for a great hotel and just steps away from the conference center with its own parking garage.  You can request an invoice for your school when making your reservation.

Hotel at old town

DON’T MISS SUNDAY!

Sessions will begin at 3:00 p.m.  There with be an awards ceremony after the sessions with hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  Don Gifford, KSDE, will discuss current issues for Kansas social studies education.  The evening will end with a special screening of Dawn of Day and a Q & A time with director Rusty Earl.  Dawn of Day is 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.

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MORE SESSIONS MONDAY:

Monday will begin with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and followed by a day of sessions with lunch included.  The Keynote Speaker is Mark Schug, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and President of Mark Schug Consulting.  Mark taught for 36 years at the middle school, high school and university levels with his teaching fields being social studies and economic education.   Mark has written and co-authored over 20 publications like Economic Episodes in American History.  He has spoken around the world about economic education, American economic history and financial education for all ages.  You’ll love what he has in store for you so plan to join us.  There will be sessions for all K-12 grades so don’t miss this great conference!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PRESENT?

Submit your proposal online today!  We will be accepting proposals through mid-September.  Let us know how your proposal can address the theme of Kansans Can:  Social Studies Leading the Way!

Register today

What Do Your Students Think?

One of the best ways to be able to sit back and honestly take a good look at your teaching is to have the students complete an evaluation on you.  So I do.  I use a Google Form to ask them questions such as:
  • What was your favorite activity we did this year?
  • What is your favorite way to receive new information?
  • What do you wish we did more of in class?
  • What was your least favorite activity we did this year?
  • What is one thing you would change about Social Studies if you could?
  • Is this teacher willing to admit his/her mistakes?
  • Do you trust this teacher?
  • List five words to describe this teacher:
    (this is a fun one I ask so I can create a word cloud for the next year)
I don’t want questions that will only give me good feedback.  I want honest feedback from my students so I can see what I’m doing well and where I can make some changes.  And I take it seriously.  Student responses has led to some good changes I have made for my classroom over the years.

My favorite question on the evaluation is, “what advice would you give to new 7th graders on how to be successful in Mrs. Weber’s class?”  This gives me good information to use at the start of the year last year.  For some reasons, students take the advice from other students better than what I suggest. (Even though it ends up being the same thing…Shhh!)

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on your teaching and look to make changes, what better way to do that, than asking the students you’ve been working for all year?!?

Need a few examples? Try these from Glenn Wiebe and get more rationale for student evals here:

Detecting Bias: Quick and Easy Lesson Applications for Practicing this Essential Skill (Part 1)

In the ongoing battle between serious, fact-based interpretation of current events and the onslaught of “fake news” stories being spread throughout social media (and beyond),debate headlines 21st century social studies teachers face a daunting task.  How can we possibly help students develop the necessary skills in order navigate the confusing blizzard of information they encounter on a daily basis?  Even still, who has enough hours in the day to both cover all the required content and engage in current events activities that encompass more than reading an article and answering a few questions?

As a veteran teacher believe me, I feel your pain.  My colleague Joe Zlatnik and I have spent time the past few years talking with teachers throughout the country about how they address bias in their classrooms.  The consensus we have heard is that most teachers don’t address it since they don’t have time to teach “current events.”  With this in mind we developed a set of simple activities that can help kids practice the skill of detecting bias within the framework of US and World history courses.  I will explain one of these activities in this first part of a three part series.

Continue reading Detecting Bias: Quick and Easy Lesson Applications for Practicing this Essential Skill (Part 1)