This week’s post comes from Thomas Fulbright, current KCSS president and history teacher at Hope Street Academy, a public charter school in Topeka since 2008. Thomas intends “to spend my entire life convincing them how exciting and important history is.” His bio picture is daughter Claire and Thomas meeting President Lincoln.
In my last blog post, I shared with you a description of my pedagogical approach and provided an example. A quick refresher – at the start of the semester, students identify the purpose of learning history, (summary: they agree with George Santayana) then throughout the semester they do comparisons between policy debates of the past and policy debates happening today.
While some of these lessons are pretty easy to modify from semester to semester (there will always be debates over immigration, the connections may just be different), sometimes a major event requires the creation of a new lesson. My class spans the eras from Reconstruction through the Great Depression. It just so happens a current event which is drawing my students’ attention has a pretty good connection to the past.
Previously, the Spanish Influenza was part of the larger conversation about the League of Nations’ clause about an international agreement to study and prevent diseases. But the development of the Coronavirus required the creation of a whole new “case study.” What I found during my research to create the lesson drove home the whole purpose of why we teach history and why I teach history the way I do.
The lesson I frantically pieced together over my spring break was intended to be used right after we returned to class. Students were going to study the debate over “closing orders” that were created in response to the spread of the “Spanish Influenza.” They were going to connect those arguments to today’s debate over social distancing and closing orders. Continue reading Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
The following is a guest post from Basehor-Linwood Middle School teacher Joe Zlatnik. Joe teaches 8th grade social studies at BLMS.
The concept of citizenship can be found throughout various social studies curricula. KSDE social studies standards are designed to “prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens…” and the National Council for the Social Studies C3 curriculum seeks to offer opportunities “for students to develop as thoughtful, engaged citizens.”
However, the steps to becoming a citizen are not clearly outlined. It is as if you become a citizen as a byproduct of going through these prescribed curriculums. I argue that one will not simply become an engaged citizen by completing a curriculum, but that students also need to have a way to decipher the ever-changing world we live in.
Being an engaged citizen today is, perhaps, more difficult now than it has ever been. The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite has given way to Fox News and MSNBC. We now live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle, multiple cable news channels, and a bias that is inherent in almost all the information that we receive.
As reporting has been replaced by editorializing, we find ourselves struggling to formulate our own opinions due to being overwhelmed by talking heads from across the political spectrum telling us what we should think. Developing a sense of citizenship amongst students, while daunting, is now more important than ever.
Continue reading Informed Citizenship: Analyzing Bias in Current Events
As social studies teachers, we’re always looking for great current events resources. And what history teacher doesn’t love old newspapers as primary sources?
Several years ago, I ran across a site that does both. And translates stuff into English for you. And provides a very cool way to visual browse over 10,000 newspaper in map form. And has a mobile version for iPods, iPads and cell phones.
Called newspaper map, the relatively new webapp uses Google Maps to visually display newspapers from almost every country in the world. You can filter the map results by place, address, newspaper name and language. The further you zoom in, the more pins you see. The larger the pin, the larger the paper.
Continue reading Newspaper Map – handy geo-based newspaper search tool