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
The following is a guest post written by Bonnie Thomas. Bonnie is the Manager, Education Programs and Resources at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO.
“School subjects are like individual rectangles, the teacher explained. And this long, curved line represents the arts and humanities, linking concepts and modes of thinking across disciplines.”
This teacher, speaking in front of a vibrant geometric painting by the artist Robert Mangold, was one of 15 participants in a partnership project dedicated to exploring how art museums can support humanities education in public schools. Her comments emerged during a reflection activity in which teachers chose an artwork to represent their experience in the partnership project. Many other participants made similar comments, pointing out newly recognized connections between classroom subjects and visual art.
These teachers had first gathered several months previously at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, an encyclopedic art museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The Nelson-Atkins, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, was seeking teachers’ input on how its strong collection of American art could be leveraged to strengthen student learning in American history and related social studies topics.
Continue reading Educators and Art Museums: Doing Social Studies Together
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.
This week’s blogger is Adam Topliff: He teaches 8th Grade Social Studies and Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS. Adam loves all things Hamilton!
Congratulations! You’ve made it to summer! Now take a deep breath and relax for moment. You should allow yourself some quality time with your family, catch up on some reading (ask Glenn Wiebe if you are looking for some good reads), and maybe do some things to make yourself better at your craft.
In recent years, summer professional development has become a popular trend and is taking on many forms. There are great webinars and online opportunities. Check out Twitter. You will find a great variety of chats and great people posting awesome ideas to steal. You can partake in the face to face opportunities (insert my shameless plug for KSDE Summer Institutes) along with many other organizations that have great professional development options. These might not be for you, either because of time or resources, but that does not mean you can’t get some quality professional development.
I love to use my summer family road trips to squeeze in some quality self-paced professional development. Every summer, the Topliff Crew heads to a variety of places around this great state and nation to explore and expose our kids to as much as we can. This summer, we have planned four days in New York City and we are pretty pumped! Each year as we plan our trip, I look into what the area has to offer historically. With New York City, the trip practically planned itself. We included many things related to Hamilton, including a visit to the famed Fraunces Tavern. Continue reading Summer Road Trip – Have Fun And Get Some Professional Development
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), 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)