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
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.
As Kansas teachers, some of us are in our last week of school, others (like myself) still have another week to go. I’d like to wish all of you the smoothest possible finale to your year.
That said, once you have a chance to catch up on your sleep and spend some long overdue time with your loved ones, I have a request to make. I’d like to encourage you to work your civics muscle. We’re social studies teachers and since the civics engagement/government stuff is part of why we got into this content in the first place, I’m guessing you already keep up with what’s going on in Topeka and DC. The fact remains that we are busy professionals with personal lives and it gets hard to keep up with everything. If you have the opportunity this summer to attend a town hall or otherwise contact your Senators and Representatives, please do. Here’s a little on what KCSS has been doing and some sources for what else is happening with education funding.
Last week, the Kansas Council for the Social Studies signed onto a letter with 140 other organizations, urging the continued funding of ESSA Title II-A. The proposed Trump budget would eliminate these funds which assist with funds for teacher training and quality.
ESSA Title II-A Funding Letter
The National Council for the Social Studies provides great updates on what’s going on with funding for the social studies, here’s their latest:
Status of National HGSS Funding from NCSS
Finally, the KNEA and Mark Desetti do an excellent job with Under the Dome, keeping Kansas teachers informed on what’s going on in Topeka.
Under the Dome – Kansas Education Funding from the KNEA
This post is already a day late and I have a bunch of essay left to grade, so I’m going to go now…then I’ll likely be making some phone calls.
Once a month or so, Don Gifford, social studies consultant at the Kansas Department of Education, shoots out an email with all sorts of updates, resources, and learning opportunities. Pick and choose what best fits your needs!
1. Start by heading to this Google Doc with all sorts of professional learning opportunities.
Then be sure to check out these other PD options: Continue reading Don Gifford’s monthly KSDE update and opportunities