Category Archives: professional development

What are you doing this summer?

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Andrew Peterson on Pexels.com

If you teach in a large enough district you likely have access to professional development in the social studies. If you teach in a smaller district, you may not have many opportunities outside the state social studies conference or training presented by one of our service centers. The good news for social studies educators is that what we may not be able to access during the school year can be found during the summer and quite often for free.

I have had the honor to participate in several summer programs and find that I come home invigorated from spending time with other outstanding educators. Not only do you expand your professional network, but you will get to see the places where history happened and be able to bring that back to your students in the most impactful ways.

Right now applications are available for any number of summer opportunities that last from a few days to three weeks. There are the ones you’re most likely to have heard of: Continue reading What are you doing this summer?

Start the New (Finish the School) Year Strong

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This week’s contribution comes from Kansas Council for the Social Studies secretary Lori Rice. She teaches 4th grade at Wamego West Elementary school and is the 2018-19 KSDE Social Studies Teacher of the Year.


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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The time between the end of December and beginning of January is magical for teachers as schools across the state shut down for “WINTER BREAK”!! The alarms are shut off. The coffee is hot! And you may have even read a book that was simply for your own enjoyment or caught up on that Netflix/Hulu series you love. As with all good things, winter break must come to an end.

Over the next week, classes are starting back for teachers and students. Alarms are ringing, coffee is cooling and the responsibilities are mounting again.  In classrooms, it is generally back to business as usual. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you gear up for the second semester: Continue reading Start the New (Finish the School) Year Strong

“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!