All posts by Kori Green

About Kori Green

I teach 8th grade social studies at El Dorado Middle School in El Dorado, KS. I enjoy U.S. history, dabble in British history, and love incorporating technology in the classroom.

Vote: NCSS Board Elections are here!

NCSS-AffilThe Kansas Council for the Social Studies is an affiliate council to the National Council for the Social Studies. We just wrapped our national conference in Austin (it was great, more on that next week) and now is time for elections.

If you are a member of NCSS you should have received an e-mail with your voting code and ballot. As a civically minded individual, I’m sure you want to be an informed voter, so here is the link for the biographies and position statements for all the candidates for all positions.

As the Kansas Council, we would like to endorse Tina Ellsworth as the At-Large Candidate for the NCSS Board of Directors. We at KCSS have worked with Tina for years and know she will advocate to the fullest for what’s best for students and social studies educators.

Tina M. EllsworthHeadshot 2019
At-Large Candidate for NCSS Board of Directors

Biography: Tina M. Ellsworth currently serves as the K-12 Social Studies Coordinator for Olathe Public Schools in Olathe, KS where she oversees content specific professional development, curriculum development/revision, resource adoption, etc. for all social studies teachers in grades K-12. Ellsworth holds a B.S. in Social Studies Education, a M.A. in History, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on social studies education. She has been an educator for 16 years in which time she has served as a middle school and high school social studies teacher, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Kansas, a pre-service teacher supervisor, a senior economic education specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and in her current role. She has served as president for the Missouri Council for the Social Studies, and served on its board. She was an integral part in starting the Kansas University Council for the Social Studies, and recently helped coordinate the official launch of her district’s first Rho Kappa chapter! She has presented at the state and national conferences, and has served on state committees for social studies education. She is also published in Social Education and Social Studies and the Young Learner. Currently, she is organizing teachers in the Kansas City area who are interested learning more and advocating for racial and social justice issues. She has also been named NSSSA’s 2019 Mel Miller Outstanding Social Studies Leader of the Year.

Position Statement: An active and engaged citizenry is at the root of social studies education. As its teachers, we long to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions that serve the public good and preserve our democracy. A true commitment to this purpose first requires that teachers actively engage in their democracy as well. Advocacy for social studies education isn’t only about voting, fighting for more minutes in a day for social studies instruction, or about teaching students how to engage. Advocacy is seeking out your own professional development to better equip you to take informed action in any capacity. That new knowledge may result in action in your classroom by employing culturally relevant pedagogical practices; it may be pulling a colleague towards greater equity and inclusion in curricular choices; it may be educating administrators about restorative justice in discipline practices; or it may be speaking before the school board to advocate for what is best for all kids when structures and systems of power create barriers to fulfilling that mission. While doing this work is not unique to social studies teachers, it definitely should be led by them. May we stand in solidarity with each other as social studies teachers on behalf of all peoples across this great nation. May we lead the way in modeling what it means to be engaged citizens who are committed to honoring and building the capacity of every student.


Blooming in Social Studies


Lori Rice teaches fourth grade at West Elementary in Wamego and is the current Kansas Council for the Social Studies elementary teacher of the year. You can find Lori on Twitter at @MsLRice. She also blogs on all things teaching (not just social studies) at The Educator’s Room.

Our world is changing; looking different today than ever before. In this evolving environment it is more important today than ever before to develop citizens who are prepared to take on the challenges our society is dealing with.  We need students who are able to understand the past and use this knowledge to apply, create and synthesize solutions for tomorrow.

In 1956 under the title, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook I: Cognitive Domain, Bloom’s taxonomy was published with an idea of giving educators a common bank of items to be used in assessments.  Forty-five years later, in 2001, this framework was reevaluated as Bloom realized it could reach beyond assessment purposes. He believed it could serve as a common language for learning objectives across curricular areas. During this time of revision a few of the categories shifted.  “Understand” was a verb used over and over by educators so this replaced “comprehension” and with this the nouns were changed to verbs. Lastly, evaluation and synthesis switched places making synthesizing the highest level; however, it was changed to “create”.

group of people watching on laptop
Photo by Fox on

Bloom’s has been used across classrooms for years.  Adding a layer of technology to this chart allows students to remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create in ways that are meaningful and fun.  This increases the engagement and retention of ideas and content from the classroom. Here are a few apps and websites to check out for each classification of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Remembering: Students can use Google Searches or Kids Safe Search by Google to allow them to find facts and information.  Word clouds like word art, tagxedo, word salad app or word it out can be used for students to incorporate important vocabulary and main ideas.  Within this classification students are finding, copying, quoting, memorizing, bookmarking and searching for information within your content area.

Understanding: Students can use apps here to show their knowledge including annotate app, Show Me app or online, Diigo to annotate notes, or Paper 53 for Sketchnoting.  Student could also create an online bookmarking page for their topic using wakelet.  Within this classification students are annotating, comparing and contrasting, tweeting, journaling and summarizing the information they have learned within your content area.

Applying: This classification is moving up in cognitive thinking and application of knowledge.  Students can create podcasts, music using Garage Band or Soundstation as well as interview experts using Skype.  Within this classification students are choosing, displaying, sketching, interviewing, presenting and reenacting to show their understanding within your content area.

Analyzing: Continuing to move up the cognitive ladder in this classification, students use their application to analyze information. There are many apps available for this area including google docs, mentimeter, Adobe Spark Suite and EvernoteMind mapping is another useful activity within analyzing using kidspiration or popplet.  Within this classification students are categorizing, linking, organizing, illustrating, explaining and advertising.

Evaluating: Students can use google doc for this classification, especially when sharing and collaborating together.  Seesaw is an excellent resource for younger students to use as a digital portfolio where they can provide feedback on each other’s work.  Edublog, Kidsblog or WordPress are sites and apps that students can use to blog.  Within this classification students are arguing, testing, debating, experimenting, reflecting and commenting which allows them to analyze information against various criteria to demonstrate a deep knowledge of your content area.

Creating: Here is all about adding your flavor to your knowledge by putting it all together.  Students can create videos with Inshot, iMovie, explore graphic and comic expression with Comic Life, Pixton, StoryBoard That, Seedling Comic Studio, as well as letting their imaginations explode with WeVideo and Skitch.  App smashing is always a good option in this classification as students can create and showcase their ideas in multiple apps.  Within this classification students are building, animating, collaborating, podcasting, programming and problem solving.

Classrooms are changing.  Students are becoming more engaged and in charge of their learning.  It is empowering to teach within a student centered classroom and facilitate learning in today’s world.  Working through Bloom’s Taxonomy with your students will allow them to not only learn important facts, but to apply, analyze, evaluate and create.  These skills will produce problem solvers, collaborators, and citizens who are actively engaged in their environment. It is more important now than ever that we have students who are able to understand the past and use this knowledge to apply, create and synthesize solutions for tomorrow.

 1 Krathwohl, D. (2002). A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview. Theory into Practice , 41(4), 212–218. Retrieved from

App Up Your Social Studies


Lori Rice teaches fourth grade at West Elementary in Wamego and is the current Kansas Council for the Social Studies elementary teacher of the year. You can find Lori on Twitter at @MsLRice. She also blogs on all things teaching (not just social studies) at The Educator’s Room.

Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative Einstein_1921_by_F_Schmutzer_-_restorationexpression and knowledge.”   There is a never ending demand teachers in a classroom; things to change, things to learn, and things to implement.  Mobile devices are a wonderful tool in a teacher’s tool belt of knowledge. Bringing apps into your social studies classroom will enable you to continue with proven teaching strategies while opening the doors to learning for your students.

I recently had a conversation with a friend.  We were discussing high school and remembering funny anecdotes and stories of our past.  I mentioned I had a social studies teacher I did not care for and I struggled in this class.  The struggle was my engagement, not the grade. The class was simply boring. My friend also remembered that social studies was one of his least favorite subjects in school as well.  There is an irony in the fact that a subject full of stories, history and culture would be boring.

Teaching is an art and a science.  There are many proven strategies that can be used to increase student motivation and learning.  As an educator, it is our job to allow for expression and creativity in learning. “App Up Your Social Studies” will bring a connection to proven strategies and apps that allow for creativity.

Using Bloom’s taxonomy in a classroom where students feel connected and safe is a wonderful tool.  We will explore apps that can be used to help students analyze, evaluate and create to demonstrate their understanding of their social studies content. These apps will allow you to expand on what you are already doing in your curriculum.

Along with Bloom’s, we will also explore Marzano’s instructional strategies of summarizing and note taking (having a 34% gain in student learning), nonlinguistic representation (having a 27% gain in student learning), and asking questions (having a 22% gain in student learning).*  We will use apps to allow students to sketch their learning and ask higher level questions. How powerful would our world be if our students had a deep understanding of our social studies standards along with a passion for other cultures and relationships?

Social studies is the stories of our past and our cultures.  This can be personal past and culture, recent past and culture, or ancient past and culture.  Helping students understand their own stories and connections to the stories of others allows for empathy.  Apping up your social studies will allow students to explore, analyze, evaluate and create. So reflect on what you are already doing and join me to explore how to bring apps into your classroom for social studies fun!

Sound interesting? You can see Lori live next Monday at the Kansas Social Studies Conference at 2:10pm!

Countdown to Conference

img_6813You won’t want to miss your chance to see presentations by some of the best social studies teachers in country, not just our state (we’re pretty awesome here in Kansas).

The schedule is out and if you’re registered, great! Go ahead and start planning who you want to see. If you’re not, you still have time, just head over here to fill out the form.

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to preview of some of our stellar new logo small(1)member presentations to whet your appetite for the great learning that’s going to happen on the Newman University Campus in a few short weeks.




State of the Social Studies

TomClairAbeThis week’s post comes from Thomas Fulbright, current KCSS president and history teacher at Hope Street Academy, a public charter school in Topeka since 2008. Thomas intends “to spend my entire life convincing them how exciting and important history is.”  His bio picture is daughter Claire and Thomas  meeting President Lincoln.

This past July, I attended a Library of Congress Primary Source SummitTF NameTag hosted by the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies.  We covered a number of topics beyond just social studies pedagogy with a focus on the use of primary sources. By the end of the summit I was feeling good about the State of the Social Studies in Kansas, and in addition, reinvigorated in my personal purpose for teaching social studies.  Let me tell you why & hopefully you will feel the same way (sorry you couldn’t come with me to Minnesota).

First – the State of the Social Studies. Continue reading State of the Social Studies