Don Gifford is the Education Program Consultant for Social Studies for the Kansas State Department of Education .
The events of March 14th created a sense of excitement around civic engagement. The tragedy of the Parkland shooting coupled with other school shootings inspired students to action. So when the very inspirational student leaders of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School called for a national school walk out on March 14th, I could hardly wait to see how it manifested itself here. I happened to be traveling around the state talking with school administrators March 13th thru the 15th. I soon realized that some schools were going to miss a great opportunity to champion civic engagement in their schools. Continue reading March 14th: How Schools Missed The Opportunity To Champion Civic Engagement
This week’s post comes from Thomas Fulbright:
“I have been teaching history at Hope Street Academy, a public charter school, in Topeka since 2008. My wife and I have three daughters, Claire, Nora, and Meredith. I intend to spend my entire life convincing them how exciting and important history is! My bio picture is of Claire and I meeting President Lincoln!”
During the summer of 2016, I was lucky enough to attend the Gilder Lehrman teacher seminar American Foreign Policy since 1898, led by Dr. Jeremi Suri from the University of Texas. The seminar was going very well – until in an offhand comment, Dr. Suri implied that the way I teach history is bad for our democracy.
At that time, I was teaching my class using Structured Academic Controversies, following the model of Stanford History Education Group. His basic argument was I focus too much on having students judge the decisions made in the past rather than try to understand why those decisions were made. He told us that we need to see the decisions made in the past as the actions of logical decision makers and though we may not always like the logic those decision makers used, they still made those decisions for specific reasons. Continue reading Why does what happened in 1890 still matter? Helping students make the connection
As a poly sci junkie, I’m torn.
The 2018 government shutdown is bad for just about everybody. And it seems like it happened over something that most Americans want to see happen – protection for Dreamers. A Fox News poll says 86% of us support DACA. A CBS poll reports 87% supporting the idea.
But the shutdown does create an opportunity to jump into all sorts of conversations involving civics and procedure and policy and elections and checks and balances and three branches and media bias . . . well, you get the idea. If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to jump ship on your scheduled curriculum and spend some time making connections to the government side of the social studies.
Need a few quick resources? Continue reading Teaching Toolkit: 9 resources for discussing the government shutdown
Don Gifford is the Educational Program Consultant for History, Government, and Social Studies Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education
Over the past two years, the Kansas State Department of Education has focused on improving the civic engagement opportunities provided to the children of our state.
Step one toward this goal is the creation of the Civic Advocacy Network Award Program that will launch this fall.
The Civic Advocacy Network Award will be given to Kansas elementary, middle, and high schools who demonstrate that they are providing outstanding civic engagement opportunities to their students. The criteria for the award is based on the “Six Proven Practices for Effective Civic Learning” identified by the Educational Commission for the States and their National Center for Learning and Civic Engagement. These six practices, when implemented, will encourage the development of Continue reading Civic Advocacy Network Award
Do you ever find yourself watching the news and they are discussing a political figure who holds an important role in our government and you have no idea who he or she is? Or maybe the opposite happens — you are teaching about the Constitution or the first Presidential Cabinet and you ask yourself, or even better – a student asks, “Who is the Secretary of Treasury right now?” No? Just me?
Senior U.S. Government was added to my course load this year and I vowed to make sure that my students (and let’s be honest…myself included) know the important officials in our national government. I created these posters (updated as of 7/30/17) that have the official portrait of government officials and jobs in the executive branch – well most of them (sorry Administrator of the Small Business Administration, you didn’t make the cut. But you are still very important). Also included are important White House staff members, congressional leaders, Supreme Court Justices, and Kansas congressmen (I could not contact Kevin Yoder to get a hi-res photo because I don’t live in his district! The photo is taken from his website) and governor. I included Elaine Duke as the Secretary of Homeland Security because she is the current Deputy Secretary and will most likely be moved up to head of that department. Also for my Kansas people, Sam Brownback is still awaiting Senate approval to move into his new role as Religious Ambassador so I included Jeff Colyer as well, he will serve out the remainder of Governor Brownback’s term until the next election in 2018.
Almost all of the photos were taken off of the official website from each individual. Some people didn’t have high-resolution photos available for download on their official website so those had to be found the good old fashioned way. Sources are linked in the file. Both editable and non-editable versions are available. You will need the font- KG Sorry Not Sorry Chub- to edit the labels. See the link to the Google Drive folder below and download! Hope this is helpful for you! If anything, it can be a good way to cover up a blank wall. Happy teaching!
Who’s Who in the U.S. Government
**UPDATE: Since completing these posters back in June, I have had to edit them three times due to the frequent changes in our current administration! I will try to keep them updated as people are replaced.