Category Archives: Uncategorized

Civic Engagement In The Classroom…We The People

adam-topliff

This week’s blogger is Adam Topliff: I teach 8th Grade Social Studies & Civics at Wamego Middle School in Wamego, KS.  I love all things Hamilton!


 

It’s that time again! Teachers and kids across the nation are preparing to head back to school.  As we prepare to kick-off the new school year, it might be important to start considering the ways you are working to develop more civic engagement with your students.  For the past couple of years, Education Commissioner Watson has stressed the importance of an education that develops the 21st century student.  One key element of that is having our kids understand their role in the world around them and how they can impact it.  In short, we are talking about civic engagement.  Check out the KSDE HGSS site to learn more about the initiatives to bring more civics to classroom.  

A key aspect of the civic engagement initiative is Civic Knowledge: Continue reading Civic Engagement In The Classroom…We The People

The Syllabus Can Wait! A Day One Strategy for Fostering Student Ownership

Despite the best efforts of teachers nation-wide to freeze their calendars and squeeze in as much family and pool time as they can, the school year is fast approaching.  As we begin to transition back into educator mode the plan for the first day of school begins to crystallize in our minds.  For the past several years I have utilized this activity to get my students communicating with each other, receiving invaluable guidance for myself, modelling a skill we utilize repeatedly, and setting the tone for our entire course..

After a standard intro and icebreaker I write the following prompt on the board:

“Describe an effective teacher.”

Since I have taught freshmen four of my six years in the classroom, I am keenly aware of the importance of explaining EVERYTHING.  As much fun as it is to hear a student say “no homework” as if they are the first to come up with the joke, I immediately ask students what the mission of a teacher is.  

As they come to their consensus I break up the class into groups of three.  I task each group to collaborate and develop four criteria to judge whether a teacher is effective or not, keeping in mind the mission of a teacher.  After 3-5 minutes of conversation, each group shares out their list of four.  As they share I write down every response on the board.  Normally we end up with a list of between 10-15 characteristics, since I do not write down repeat suggestions. Continue reading The Syllabus Can Wait! A Day One Strategy for Fostering Student Ownership

Kansans Can: Social Studies Leading the Way

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Plans are underway for the 2017 Kansas Social Studies Conference and we hope you will save the date for November 5-6, 2017 in Wichita.  This year’s conference will focus on how Kansans Can with Social Studies Education.  Registration is only $50 for Kansas teachers/administrators and pre-service teachers will pay only $20.  There will be great sessions for all K-12 grades and you can’t go wrong with the price so be sure to register!  This year we will be in Wichita at the Hotel at Old Town Conference Center in the heart of downtown Wichita where all the action is located.  From out of town?  We have reserved a block of rooms at the Hotel at Old town.  You’ll love the hotel price of $79/queen studio or $99/2 queens studio.  Be sure to reserve your room at 877-265-3869 and request the Kansas Social Studies Conference block rate.  It is a great bargain for a great hotel and just steps away from the conference center with its own parking garage.  You can request an invoice for your school when making your reservation.

Hotel at old town

DON’T MISS SUNDAY!

Sessions will begin at 3:00 p.m.  There with be an awards ceremony after the sessions with hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  Don Gifford, KSDE, will discuss current issues for Kansas social studies education.  The evening will end with a special screening of Dawn of Day and a Q & A time with director Rusty Earl.  Dawn of Day is 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.

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MORE SESSIONS MONDAY:

Monday will begin with breakfast at 8:00 a.m. and followed by a day of sessions with lunch included.  The Keynote Speaker is Mark Schug, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and President of Mark Schug Consulting.  Mark taught for 36 years at the middle school, high school and university levels with his teaching fields being social studies and economic education.   Mark has written and co-authored over 20 publications like Economic Episodes in American History.  He has spoken around the world about economic education, American economic history and financial education for all ages.  You’ll love what he has in store for you so plan to join us.  There will be sessions for all K-12 grades so don’t miss this great conference!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PRESENT?

Submit your proposal online today!  We will be accepting proposals through mid-September.  Let us know how your proposal can address the theme of Kansans Can:  Social Studies Leading the Way!

Register today