Today is Kansas Day. How cool is that?
If you didn’t know already, the state of Kansas is an unbelievably interesting place. And way more than just a flyover.
She was once called the Great American Desert, a title mistakenly given her by temporary passers-through. She’s always been home to huge herds of North American bison, vast expanses of seven foot tall Big Bluestem prairie grass, forested hills, hawks, bobcats, coyotes, the Arkansas and Big Blue rivers, Cottonwood trees, a ton of deer and antelope a-playing, and not just a few amazing people.
Indians. Cowboys. Explorers and Pony Express riders. Politicians. Artists. Aviators, scientists and writers. Reformers. Populists. Pizza makers. Farmers. Lots and lots of people who grow the food we eat every day.
Kansas turns 158 today. And it’s her people that make her who she is.
There was David Buffam, Continue reading It’s Kansas Day! It’s Kansas Day!
Just a reminder that there is a federal regulation concerning Constitution Day (September 17) and state legislation here in Kansas highlighting Celebrate Freedom Week. Please be advised.
If you teach K-8th grade, you’ll need to incorporate the Celebrate Freedom topics into your instruction this week or the week designated by your district for these observances. EVERYBODY has the opportunity to celebrate the Constitution today.
Want the details? The federal regs: Continue reading Happy Constitution Day! (And don’t forget Celebrate Freedom Week if you’re in Kansas)
The 2018 Kansas Social Studies conference is scheduled for October 28 & 29 on the campus of Emporia State University and is co-sponsored by all the K’s:
- Kansas Council for Economic Education
- Kansas Council for History Education
- Kansas Council for the Social Studies
- Kansas Geographic Alliance
- Kansas State Historical Society
- Kansas Department of Education
The conference theme targets the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills and assessments with a special focus on creating civically engaged students. You’ll walk away smarter with new details about civic engagement strategies, tech integration tools, and current best practice.
- Our conference keynote speaker is Joel Breakstone, executive director of the Stanford History Education Group. Yup. That Stanford History Education Group. The one with the very cool lessons and the brand new Online Civic Literacy activities designed specifically to help you build engaged and informed citizens. (Joel will also lead two breakout sessions on Monday.) Tell your friends – this is gonna be awesome!
- Get full conference details including registration and the session schedule at the conference website.
- We’ll see you in October! Have questions right now? Contact Darla.
You don’t want to miss this – make plans now to attend!
This post is a little late but I’ve been hibernating; I hope you’re all keeping warm. If you’re using the cold weather day (wouldn’t it have been easier to post what schools stayed open?) to plan ahead or, if you’re reading this later, need something fast, I think I have something for you.
Kansas Day can be so much more than Sunflowers and Meadowlarks. Whether you want to a good lesson to incorporate Kansas into your regular curriculum to observe Kansas Day, or are making an effort to bring more local focus to your instruction.
I’d like to start with something I helped put together using a website called Thinglink. It’s free to get basic access and the tools let you create interactive photos, charts, etc. I took the Tallgrass Prairie Illustration below and added links to online articles and videos so students can learn more about our surroundings. Follow the link below the picture to see the interactive version.
Flint Hill Map Project – Enhanced Map
If you like that tool, you might like some of the lessons from the Flint Hills Map Project and their Kansas Day Activities. Lots of good geography, science and even music and art ideas on their site to help your kids learn more about their home. The teachers on their advisory board (you guessed it, I’m one of them) met right after the winter break and as part of our meeting we put together a Kansas Day Pinterest Board if that’s more your speed.
If you’re not on the Kansas Historical Society’s mailing list you’re missing out on more tools to incorporate local history in your classroom. They have a whole page of ideas for Kansas Day in the classroom. I personally enjoy the online Carrie Nation exhibit with its teaching resources. There are a lot of resources at multiple levels that you can access. I’m also fond of the Read Kansas! cards for their versatility and availability for primary through middle school levels.
Remember, you don’t have to wait until Kansas Day to work more of the great history and resources of our state into your instruction. We are so much more than sunflowers and meadowlarks and we should share Kansas more with our students.
Guest Post: This month we have a guest post from Anne Wilson, Map Program Coordinator for the Flint Hills Map and Education Program.
As teachers, we often hear students lament: “What does this have to do with me?” We know if our kids believe an idea actually affects them, it all of a sudden really matters. However, actually relating learning to students’ own lives and local environment takes time and background knowledge we don’t always have.
Now a grass-roots team of teachers in the Flint Hills region has developed a new “place-based education” program – designed to connect learning to students’ own heritage, culture, landscapes, ecology, economy, and experiences as a foundation for the study of core subjects.
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How important is place? Bio-regionalist author Wendell Berry writes, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Many of our students think they’re from nowhere. They are connected to everywhere but where they are. This program gives them the gift of pride, understanding and commitment to their place.
The bonus is: Continue reading Increasing student engagement through place-based education: The Flint Hills Maps & Education program