Category Archives: professional development

Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!

A couple of months ago, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.

I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.

I should have stopped while I was ahead.

But after learning more about the Learning Lab, I decided to dig in a bit and see what all might be available online from the Smithsonian. And that’s where I got into trouble. About an hour later, I dug my way out of the incredible amount of goodness that Smithsonian folks have made available for educators. I felt smarter but not smarter all at the same time.

Smarter because I learned about some sites and resources that were new to me. Not smarter because . . . seriously, how I have I not known about these things before?

Just so you know, there is a ton of materials, lesson plans, and resources that the Smithsonian has put online. Seriously . . . a ton. Darren told us that the Smithsonian isn’t really sure how much stuff they have – he rounded it up to around 160 million objects. And that’s just the stuff in their collections, not the lesson plans and online exhibitions.

So just to share some of what I learned, here a few places that you need to pencil into your schedule to visit: Continue reading Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!

Balancing Security: Past, Present and Future

Hopefully you were able to join us at the Kansas Social Studies Conference earlier this month or were fortunate enough to get to attend National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in San Francisco just before Thanksgiving.  If you’re already looking for your next social studies fix or haven’t had the opportunity yet, might I suggest a trip to Kansas City?


Greetings, my fellow Kansans!  With any luck the year has settled in for you.  It has been a beautiful beginning, and the kids are just as wonderful as ever!  My name is Jeff Benes and I am the Past President of the Missouri Council for the Social Studies.  I live in Westwood, Kansas, but work in Gladstone, Missouri (be honest, how many of you had to Google those two locations). This school year, at the end of February, the Missouri Council is hosting our annual conference, and we wanted to reach out to you as neighbors and fellow teachers.  

National_World_War_I_Museum_-_Kansas_City,_MO_-_DSC07446The conference will be held on the Missouri side of Kansas City, at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, the weekend of February 23 and 24 (Friday and Saturday).  If you have never had a chance to visit, this is the time.  The museum itself is worth the weekend to come visit (and if you are a museum buff, you will need more than one day).  On top of that, there will be great presentations in both content and practice, incredible speakers, a great lunch, and the opportunity to network with people just like you:  Passionate teachers looking to hone their craft.   Continue reading Balancing Security: Past, Present and Future

Kansas teacher of the year winners, lots of social studies nerds, and a ton of learning

About 200 social studies teachers from around the state made their way to the Old Town Conference Center in downtown Wichita last Sunday and Monday for the annual state conference. If you were there, you know this already.

If you were not there . . . well, you missed a lot of social studies awesome. Seriously. Make plans for next year. Great conversations. Great learning. Great networking. Great food. Great people.

We know that Kansas does social studies a bit differently. Ever since 2013, when the latest state  standards document was released, teachers in the state are being asked to focus on five major themes and historical thinking skills rather than just teaching a bunch of dates and places. It’s the balance between process and knowledge that we’re after.

But doing things differently also extends to our state level conference. It seems that in most other states, the different social studies organizations host their own conferences. Econ here. Geo there. History somewhere else. Here in Kansas?

The four major social studies groups – the Kansas Council for Economic Education, the Kansas Council for History Education, the Kansas Council for the Social Studies, and the Kansas Geographic Alliance – all work together to host one conference a year. With the support and encouragement of the Kansas Department of Education, this makes it easier for K-12 teachers to find us all in the same place and increases the cumulative social studies goodness.

This encourages some awesome learning opportunities. It also makes for a great Sunday night reception when we honor all of our different teachers of the year. This year’s winners? Continue reading Kansas teacher of the year winners, lots of social studies nerds, and a ton of learning

Supporting New Colleagues

Whew! Kansas teachers have just about the first month of school under our belts. Heck, Homecoming is this weekend here in El Dorado. You may finally have the feeling that your feet are on solid ground, having made it through all the new faces, rosters, seating charts, data sorting, lesson planning, meet the teacher nights, etc. Of course, now we’re into our first big assignments to be graded, parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and if you’re also coaching your away games mean at least one night a week is taken over by bus rides, encouragement and fast food. Now try to remember what it was like figuring it all out for the first time. Wow.

 

School Teacher Children Classroom Playmobil

We know that schools in Kansas haven’t exactly flourished in the past few years and that has really effected teachers. The Wichita NBC affiliate KSN ran a story that Kansas is down 1500 teachers for this school year. Is anyone surprised that our young people aren’t flocking to the profession? So I’m asking that if there are any new teachers in your building, please check in with them, even if they’re not a fellow social studies instructor (we’ll forgive them this once). Ask them if they need anything – help them navigate the teacher’s lounge, or share the trick about fixing a jam in the copier. Let them know there’s a lifeguard on duty in case they start to feel like they’re drowning.

We need to encourage and support our new colleagues so we don’t lose them; lock them in before they figure out there are actually jobs that end at 5:00 and have weekends off. In addition to personal outreach, there are a lot of good resources out there for new teachers to tap: Edutopia has a Toolkit for New Teachers, the National Education Association has a good selection of articles for new teachers on many of the issues that don’t necessarily get covered in university programs. Parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner and ASCD has a good set of guidelines to get them started.

There are also a wealth of networks new teachers can join that are on-going. You might have caught my post back in March on #sschat. They’ve seen the need and created the new hashtag #NTsschat just for New Teachers (NTs). The National Council for the Social Studies also has their Twitter account @NCSSNetwork and Facebook page and the Technology Community has the handle @TechNCSS.

In fact, @TechNCSS will be hosting a Twitter Chat of their own tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19) just for the problems faced by new teachers. Please encourage your new teachers to join us (once again, even if they’re not social studies, maybe learning about Twitter Chats will help them to find their way to one in their curriculum). You can feel free to join us if you want to help answer their questions or you’ve been interested in checking one out. This is one that will have a lot of basics if you want to lurk and pick up some new resources.

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2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

ks ss conf logo

Be sure to mark your calendar and start making plans to attend the 2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

Join us for a great time on November 5-6, 2017 in downtown Wichita at the historic Hotel at Old Town and Conference Center. You won’t want to miss it! Get the full details at the conference website.

The conference theme is focused on the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills and assessments with a special highlight on economics and the state board’s Kansans Can vision. You’ll walk away smarter with new details about the upcoming Spring 2018 social studies assessment, civic engagement strategies, tech integration tools, current best practice, and the latest from the Kansas Council for Economic Education.

Registration Fee:
$50 – Kansas Teachers/Administrators
$20 – Kansas Pre-service Teachers
$50 – Exhibitors

The registration fee also include hors d’oeuvres at the awards reception Sunday evening, breakfast Monday morning, and lunch Monday afternoon so don’t delay and register today!  We can send you an invoice to pay registration at a later date but reserve your hotel as soon as possible.

Extra bonus? The conference is in the center of Old Town with all sorts of fun things to do. We’ve also arranged for amazing prices at the Hotel at Old Town, a great piece of Wichita history.  Be sure to reserve your room before the October 12th cutoff date.  Don’t wait until the last minute as these rooms will go fast at this rate!  Contact the hotel directly to book your reservation. (You can request an invoice so the school can provide payment/check at check in.)

Room Rates:old hotel
Queen Studio – $79.00/night
King Studio – $89.00/night
Queen/Queen Studio – $99.00/night

Conference Schedule:

This conference will have great information for all grade levels, including special sessions for elementary teachers. Full details on the session schedule is coming in early October. (Interested in presenting?)

Sunday, November 5th:

3:00 – 6:15 p.m.
Afternoon workshops

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Reception/awards ceremony with hors d’oeuvres and drinks

KSDE Update from Don Gifford

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7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Special screening of Dawn of Day, a historical documentary about the Underground Railroad in Kansas that brings to light Wabaunsee County’s unsung heroes who traversed one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history. Faith, family, and politics united a community of neighbors who lived and died to ensure Kansas was a free state. Hang around after for conversation and teaching tips.

Monday November 6th

8:00 a.m.
Breakfast

Guest Speaker:  Mark Schug, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Breakout sessions

Lunch 

3:30 p.m.
Conference closing

Session Proposals:

We are currently soliciting session proposals so be sure to send us a proposal by September 20th if you have some great information to share with colleagues.  

Get more info and submit your proposal online

Your homework?

  • Save the date.
  • Talk to your admin.
  • Bookmark the website.
  • Submit a session proposal.
  • Share this information with your social studies colleagues.

Need more info? Contact:

Angela Howdeshell
Vice President for Programs & Administration
Kansas Council for Economic Education
kcee@wichita.edu
316-978-5183
www.kcee.wichita.edu