In 1953, Emporia, Kansas native Alvin J. King proposed that Armistice Day be changed to Veterans Day to recognize and honor all veterans from all wars and conflicts. The first Veterans Day was organized and celebrated in Emporia later that year. Kansas representative Ed Rees, also from Emporia, took King’s proposal to Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower (also from Kansas) signed the bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
The first nationwide observance of Veterans Day was on November 11, 1954. Every year since, the President of the United States urges all Americans to honor the commitment of our Veterans through appropriate public ceremonies (from the Emporia Visitors Bureau).
Below are resources and lesson plans that can be used in your classroom to help teach your students about Veterans Day:
Well, reintroducing, you might recognize Lori from her previous posts here on Doing Social Studies.
The KCSS Excellence in Teaching Award is named in honor of Judy Cromwell, a social studies teacher in the Topeka area for over 38 years. Intended to reward and encourage high quality instruction in the social studies for educators who are currently teaching social studies at least half-time and have three years teaching experience, KCSS selects one winner in each at the elementary and secondary levels.
Lori Rice is not only our elementary winner, but won the Kansas Department of Education Social Studies Teacher of the Year. Needless to say, she’s a fantastic educator and we’re so happy to have her here in Kansas.
Lori Rice currently works at West Elementary in Wamego as a fourth grade teacher. While she is responsible for teaching all subjects, it has been her goal to “teach social studies standards even when these are often neglected due to mathematics and reading instruction taking priority.” Lori integrates the social studies curriculum into every aspect of her classroom, as described by her colleague, “her classroom management fosters her student’s development as both citizens and communicators. Her instruction has a profound impact on student learning through her use of materials, strategies, and utilization of standards, interrelated themes, and dimensions of inquiry concepts. All of this is possible with her dedication to her own professional involvement both in and outside of the school building.” But, Lori’s impact goes beyond the social studies curriculum, as explained by her principal and nominator, “Ms. Rice also goes above and beyond the call of duty for the children in our district,” being involved with summer programs and several after school programs that focus on social skills and STEM.
Let’s hear from the woman herself:
A Path to Social Studies Integration
Dictionary.com defines integration as, “An act or instance of combining into an integral whole.” Teachers across the nation are using this idea to purposefully combine curriculum and standards in meaningful ways for student learning. Just like making a recipe or putting together a puzzle, you must combine different pieces of your curriculum, content, and skills to provide purposeful, meaningful social studies instruction for students. In this era of change it is our responsibility to shift more focus to becoming involved, engaged citizens and this can easily be done with integration.
Integration does not need to be time consuming and complex. There are simple steps you can work through to get started in creating integrated units for your classroom, grade level, or school. The process works best with a group because as Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Find a colleague, a grade level team member or network online and start, or continue, to integrate social studies into your classroom and lessons.
Begin with an essential question. Essential questions are open ended, big idea questions that vital, thought provoking, and touch our hearts and souls. In fourth grade social studies we use “Would I live here?” as a year long essential question. This can encompass westward movement, civics and regions which are the big units we teach. Essential questions can be used with units, in classrooms, by grade levels and within entire buildings to provoke inquiry and probe deeper thinking among students. If you are new to essential questions you can watch a short video clip here to get started. https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/structure-learning-essential-questions .
Using your essential question, think of the things you are already doing that fit under this essential question. What books are you already reading aloud? How does your curriculum fit together? Using a social studies umbrella we can pull civic engagement and citizenship as well as history and geological thinking into classrooms. Speaking, listening, writing and language standards naturally fit into a social studies scope. This integration allows you to do more in the same time because you are combining into an integral whole.
After you have written an essential question and created a list of things you already love and do, think about your standards and units. List resources you have, text sets, experts and what you want students to know. Think about your read aloud book or reading group books you already use with small groups. With simple and purposeful connections you can connect primary sources, maps, timelines, and nonfiction books to integrate. These artifacts will bring the stories of our country and people to life for students as well as promote empathy and civic engagement. https://www.archives.gov/ and https://www.kshs.org/ are great places to start looking for resources.
Social studies is the stories of our past. This can be personal past, recent past, or ancient past. Helping students understand their own stories and connections to the stories of others allows for empathy. Bringing social studies back into our classroom is imperative for developing citizens who care. So reflect on what you are already doing, form essential questions, gather what you need including your resources and technology to find primary source documents, literature, poetry, etc. Bring stories into your classroom for social studies and have fun!
You can find Lori on Twitter @MsLRice and she also blogs on all things teaching (not just social studies) at The Educator’s Room
The awards for the Teacher of the Year for each the KCSS, KCHE, KGA, and KCEE are given at the Kansas Social Studies Conference. Next year, the conference will be hosted by the Kansas Council for History Education at Newman University in Wichita October 20-21. Start making plans now for this opportunity to meet loads of inspiring educators in your state.
Teachers of social studies across the curriculum probably don’t realize that they cover the issue of Social Stratification (social class systems, poverty, Karl Marx, etc) in their classes. Teachers of sociology probably could spend a whole month on the topic! Social Stratification is one of my favorite units in my semester-long sociology course. Last year, I had my students read Animal Farm (it’s not required in English anymore) and compare the animal’s problems with the issues of social class and social mobility.
I may do that again – just because, in my personal opinion, I think students still need to read this classic! But I have two other favorite activities to go with this unit:
First, students watch a few videos and we discuss some important vocabulary with Social Stratification. Then I have the students listen to “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) and “Fast Car” (Tracy Chapman). They pick out the issues that relate to social stratification after listening to the songs and reading the lyrics. Next I set them free to find their own examples of stratification in music. Obviously there are some ground rules – nothing racially or sexually offensive. You could also make sure that the songs are clean, but I really want the students to look at the music that they like and pick out these issues within the songs they are listening to everyday. And like almost everything else, you’ll have those students who just google “Songs about social stratification” — normally they pick “Allentown” by Billy Joel.
But I do have some kids who really become more aware of social class issues that people write about and how there are SO MANY songs with these issues to choose from! To complete this part of the unit, students view a Slide Mission with videos, notes, and responses embedded. I like this format because they can insert their YouTube videos right into Google Slides without me have to go search for them. A copy of what I used in my class can be found here.
After a class discussion about poverty in the U.S., we watch the ESPN 30 for 30 called “Fantastic Lies“. This is the story of the Duke LaCrosse team rape scandal back in 2006. I show this because it covers individuals from across social classes and their expectations vs. reality. Students who are unfamiliar with the story are always shocked once we get about three-fourths of the way through it! Afterwards, they will write a reflection (usually around 300 words) and they make connections with the episode and the terms we discussed regarding Social Stratification. I purchased this episode of 30 for 30 (Season 3, episode 6) on Amazon Prime Video.
Sociology teachers out there: I’d love to hear what you do in your classes to teach social stratification! Comment below.
Whew! Kansas teachers have just about the first month of school under our belts. Heck, Homecoming is this weekend here in El Dorado. You may finally have the feeling that your feet are on solid ground, having made it through all the new faces, rosters, seating charts, data sorting, lesson planning, meet the teacher nights, etc. Of course, now we’re into our first big assignments to be graded, parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and if you’re also coaching your away games mean at least one night a week is taken over by bus rides, encouragement and fast food. Now try to remember what it was like figuring it all out for the first time. Wow.
We know that schools in Kansas haven’t exactly flourished in the past few years and that has really effected teachers. The Wichita NBC affiliate KSN ran a story that Kansas is down 1500 teachers for this school year. Is anyone surprised that our young people aren’t flocking to the profession? So I’m asking that if there are any new teachers in your building, please check in with them, even if they’re not a fellow social studies instructor (we’ll forgive them this once). Ask them if they need anything – help them navigate the teacher’s lounge, or share the trick about fixing a jam in the copier. Let them know there’s a lifeguard on duty in case they start to feel like they’re drowning.
We need to encourage and support our new colleagues so we don’t lose them; lock them in before they figure out there are actually jobs that end at 5:00 and have weekends off. In addition to personal outreach, there are a lot of good resources out there for new teachers to tap: Edutopia has a Toolkit for New Teachers, the National Education Association has a good selection of articles for new teachers on many of the issues that don’t necessarily get covered in university programs. Parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and ASCD has a good set of guidelines to get them started.
There are also a wealth of networks new teachers can join that are on-going. You might have caught my post back in March on #sschat. They’ve seen the need and created the new hashtag #NTsschat just for New Teachers (NTs). The National Council for the Social Studies also has their Twitter account @NCSSNetwork and Facebook page and the Technology Community has the handle @TechNCSS.
In fact, @TechNCSS will be hosting a Twitter Chat of their own tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19) just for the problems faced by new teachers. Please encourage your new teachers to join us (once again, even if they’re not social studies, maybe learning about Twitter Chats will help them to find their way to one in their curriculum). You can feel free to join us if you want to help answer their questions or you’ve been interested in checking one out. This is one that will have a lot of basics if you want to lurk and pick up some new resources.
Today’s post is written by Cheney, Kansas middle and high social studies teacher Jill Weber. Jill is the 2016 Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year.
Gone are the days in which reading novels and writing essays belonged solely in an ELA classroom. All subjects are now expected to (and should) be integrating and supporting the reading and writing skills that students are taught in Language Arts class.
“But, but . . . I went to college to be a history teacher, not an English teacher. I don’t know HOW to teach ELA!”
That was me. Seriously. I was ready to fight teaching reading and writing skills as long as I could.