#NCSS13 in St. Louis, Missouri

Greetings from the “Show Me” State!

I happen to be at the premiere social studies education event in the country.  Approximately 2500 social studies educators, professors, and exhibitors have crowded the St. Louis America Convention Center for the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies.  I always look forward to this event and find it to be one of energy and it recharges my batteries after I hit the Fall Doldrums of the School Year.

It is also exciting for me.  My hotel is literally a stone’s throw from the arch and the Edwards Dome where the Rams play.  I walked to the conference last night in the rain, mist, and fog and in looking up, the upper half of the arch was covered.  It was beautiful. 

I am currently at the House of Delegates, the governing body of NCSS where members are given a voice through representatives of their councils.  I will be sharing some of the goings on of this meeting with the KCSS Executive Council at our upcoming Board Meeting.

One great aspect of the conference is the sharing of new ideas and strategies to employ in the classroom.  One of the big topics that you hear everyone talking about as well as see in almost every session title is “Common Core.”  There seems to be an almost paralyzing fear amongst a majority of the conference attendees fretting over how to implement it in their classroom.

In reviewing why this fear is occurring, I was startled by a Poster Presentation done by a young graduate student as I was wandering through the presentations.  The title of the session was very simple, “Worrying about the Common Core, If You Are Teaching Well, You’re Doing It.”  This was followed by samples of work by a 5th Grader, a 3rd Grader, and a kindergartner.  The kindergartner’s example held my attention for a couple of minutes.

The paper was an illustration of a house on fire.  Underneath the burning house was a prompt from students to reply to.  “What community member would likely be called given the situation above?  Why?”  The reply was beautifully written (as a kindergartner only can):  “We should call a fireman.  He can put out the fire.”  What a great example.  It combined the literacy skills we desire, with the social studies exploration we desire.  This is it folks.  If we make the content grade appropriate, and have our students communicate “why”, we are on the right track.  It may be simplistic, but it is spot on.

One thing I want to do is steer a lot of you over to Glenn Wiebe’s NCSS blog.  He has been live blogging from sessions he is attending and sharing a lot of great information.

Also, if you are a twitter user, just search for #ncss13.  A lot of people are talking about what they are seeing and doing.  Live the experience virtually through these two great sources.

In social studies,

About bradburenheide

I'm an Associate Professor at Kansas State University's College of Education. Currently I am the program coordinator for secondary social studies education. My research interests include instructional gaming, history education, and creative pedagogy.

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