Category Archives: professional development

“You’re starting to make me cranky.”

Glenn Wiebe was digging around the vault over at History Tech looking for some resources centered around the Kansans Can school redesign and ran across this rant written just after the 2013 state standards went live. With those standards currently in the revision process and the state of Kansas deep into conversations about changing how we do school, it seems appropriate to re-post it here. Basically, it boils down to:

How much are we willing to change so that our kids are prepared for their future?

It’s been a fun couple of months since the holiday break. I’ve had the chance to spend time with a variety of folks doing all sorts of cool stuff. A group of us have been struggling to write questions for the social studies state assessment pilot due out this spring.

I’ve spent time with teachers discussing social studies best practices that are aligned to the state’s recently adopted state standards. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of teachers as we shared ideas and discussed ways to integrate technology into instruction.

It’s all part of what is perhaps the best job in the world. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy themselves spending time with dedicated, amazing people who are literally changing the world?

But . . . sometimes I walk away feeling a little uncomfortable after spending time with teachers. Once in a great while, I leave a group angry. And while I honestly think I do a good job of hiding my feelings, I’m starting to think those feelings need to be a bit more obvious.

Change is difficult. I understand that. And society already asks teachers to be superheroes. But it still bothers me when I hear teachers say things like: Continue reading “You’re starting to make me cranky.”

Buzzworthy Social Hour, KS SS conference, and engaging project smackdown

Social Hour LogoIf you’re on the fence about making the trip to Emporia for this year’s Kansas SocialStudies Conference, take a quick listen to a podcast from Buzzworthy Productions aka TJ Warsnak and Derek Schutte of Halstead High School.  In this edition of The Social Hour podcast, TJ and Derek display their own unique flair while sharing excitement for the direction the discipline is taking, battling it out in a social studies most engaging project smackdown, and highlighting some of the topics they’ll be sharing during their session at the conference.

Catch The Social Hour Podcast by clicking the link below:



The 2018 Kansas Social Studies conference targets the teaching and learning of historical thinking skills and assessments with a special focus on creating civically engaged students.

In addition to TJ and Derek’s Buzzworthy Productions, there are over 45 breakout sessions during this year’s conference including keynotes by Joel Breakstone, executive director of the Stanford History Education Group. Joel will focus on SHEG’s latest online civic literacy tools and share tips and tricks for using their award winning lessons and assessments.

The conference is October 28 and 29 at the Emporia State University student union. Get all the details and registration information at the conference website here.

And be sure to catch all the TJ and Derek Buzzworthy goodness during their breakout session:

Adding BuzzWorthy Engagement to the Social Studies
Monday October 29
9:30 am – 10:20 am
Blue Key Room
ESU Memorial Union 2nd Floor

Can we combine civic engagement, technology and project based learning in a cohesive way? You bet we can, and when we do, our classes become more engaging. Check out our methods of how we combine these three components to expand learning opportunities and make your classes more buzzworthy. Hear about a new projects that can easily be integrated into your classes as well as how to use Google Sites as a basis for future designs. Join us for a a fun session full of ideas, laughs and some new teaching designs.

Both TJ and Derek are active on Twitter and can be reached at:
@thewarsnack
@coachshutte

I Was in the Room Where it Happened!

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 2.54.13 PMThis week’s post comes from Dr. Robyn Kelso. Robyn teaches senior American Government, American National Government, and International Relations at Eudora High School in Eudora, KS. Robyn enjoys learning across social studies and am curious about the world as a whole.  Robyn also enjoys reading and working on her hobby cattle farm.


Those who are familiar with the headline . . . yes, it is a shameless steal from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. I was lucky enough to have stars align and enable me to take three different professional development fellowships this summer. I felt this lyric particularly applied for my first trip as part of the Supreme Court Summer Institute through Street Law in Washington DC.  From content learning to lesson plans and a visit to the Supreme Court to hear opinions announced during the last days of the term, this was a terrific opportunity all the way around.

My takeaways from this experience included several things:

Continue reading I Was in the Room Where it Happened!

Teacher’s Deserve More Than An Apple! KCSS Teacher of the Year Award

all winners

Nominations for the 2018 KCSS Teacher of the Year are now being accepted at both the elementary (K-6) and secondary (7-12) levels. Winners will be announced at the fall state social studies conference and are awarded $250, conference registration, and travel expenses. Both winners are automatically considered for the Kansas State Combined Teaching Award and are also eligible for the National Council of the Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

Continue reading Teacher’s Deserve More Than An Apple! KCSS Teacher of the Year Award

Summer Professional Development . . . on Instagram?

barefoot beach blur break

Teacher Perks: “You get summers off.”

How many times have you had someone outside the education profession say this to you? If you are reading this blog post, chances are you know that it’s really not true. You probably know that teachers use these precious summer months to recharge, refuel, and LEARN. We strive to find ways to perfect our craft and answer questions that came up over the past school year.

This is the first summer that I did not physically attend multiple professional development conferences or workshops in June and July. I say “physically” because looking back on the past few months, I do feel that I attended professional development in a new and different way. Over the past year, I have found a new community on Instagram.

access blur close up colorful

This community is filled with educators from all different content areas and age ranges. Educators are posting lesson plan ideas, classroom management strategies, classroom organization tips, and even personal stories and experiences. Many of them have stores on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogs, or vlogs and are sharing content / pedagogical strategies for the world to access at our finger tips.

How to Get Started

I first started by creating a separate account just for my education world. I tried to Continue reading Summer Professional Development . . . on Instagram?