Category Archives: professional development

#sschat: A Professional Learning Community from the Comfort of Your Couch

sschat_logoThere are a lot of factors that affect our access to good professional development: district size, geographic location, budget (both your’s and your school’s). So what’s a teacher to do when you’re one of the only social studies teachers in your building, or you want to try something new but the people in your department still won’t give up their precious overhead projector?

There is one outlet where you can find solid PD, often hosted by leaders in the field, at least once a week: Twitter Chats. As Chris Hitchcock, one of the moderators of #sschat, describes how she felt when she discovered the hashtag:

#sschat offered this whole new world of collaboration, support, and interaction that was fascinating and really helpful.

Have I piqued your interest yet?  Continue reading #sschat: A Professional Learning Community from the Comfort of Your Couch

15 econ lessons, political cartoons, and PD designed to make you and your kids smarter

This week’s guest post is written by Angela Howdeshell, Vice President for Programs and Administration for the Kansas Council for Economic Education.

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The current political tension has created many “teachable moments” for helping students understand many of the economic issues facing our nation. These issues are not always taught in classrooms but this is a great time to help students clarify their own thinking and ultimately, become more informed citizens and future voters. The issues are very complex and require our students to begin to dig into these topics in order to understand not only the challenges faced and the impact of choices made in the past, but also to understand the challenges our nation faces today and the impact of the choices we make now.

2015-econedlinklogoIntegrating economic and personal finance concepts in K-12 classrooms is necessary to Continue reading 15 econ lessons, political cartoons, and PD designed to make you and your kids smarter

Professional Growth and Development: The Monticello Teacher Institute

Joe Zlatnik is an 8th Grade American History teacher at Basehor-Lindwood USD 458.

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“I am as happy no where else and in no other society,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello.”

Professional development opportunities, when relegated to our buildings, is often dull, not specific to our content, and, worst of all, uninspiring. Fortunately, there are a number of quality professional development opportunities for Social Studies teachers that will significantly impact us as educators. Coming up in November is the Kansas Council for the Social Studies Conference in Salina. The next month, the National Council for the Social Studies will have their annual conference in Washington D.C. While both of these are great opportunities to learn from some of the brightest minds in our profession, there are other professional development opportunities that are impactful on a more personal level.

This past July, I had the honor and privilege of being selected to take part in the Monticello Teacher Institute: The Barrringer Fellowship. This weeklong experience allowed me to spend time in Charlottesville, Virginia immersing myself in the world of Thomas Jefferson. We spent time at Monticello itself, the special collections library at the University of Virginia, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, and a multitude of locations significant to Jefferson’s life or the study of his life. Continue reading Professional Growth and Development: The Monticello Teacher Institute

Russel Tarr & A History Teaching Toolbox

(Cross-posted from History Tech.)

Part of what I get to do is spend time browsing the Interwebs finding tools and resources that would be useful for history and social studies teachers. Sometimes I find new stuff like the very cool Smithsonian Learning Labs and sometimes I just keep going back to the classics.

Russel Tarr is one of the classics. His Active History site (along with his ClassTools and Tarr’s Toolbox) always has some new strategy or tool that I haven’t seen and it’s always something useful. I’m really not sure how he finds time to actually teach but he’s been doing this for almost twenty years.

He has a degree in Modern World History from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University and is currently Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, France. On his free time, he delivers training courses to history teachers in the UK and Europe, writes regularly for the national and international press on historical and educational issues, and is a prominent figure in the educational community on Twitter – where he is one the most followed history teachers in the world.

All of this to say that he knows what he’s talking about. And it just got better. Continue reading Russel Tarr & A History Teaching Toolbox

KCEE and CEE are just the thing for standards aligned lessons

kcee-logoOur state standards here in Kansas are a bit different than most other states. We focus on five big ideas rather than specific content. It’s a great idea based on research but it can be difficult at times for our teachers to align their instruction. And I know that many of you around the country are always on the lookout for quality Econ resources and lesson plans.

The Kansas and national Councils for Economic Education are just the thing!

A quick example. The first Kansas standard is Choices Have Consequences. (And I know that there are similar sorts of standards and benchmarks around the country.) So how might we design instruction that aligns to that? Continue reading KCEE and CEE are just the thing for standards aligned lessons