Category Archives: Uncategorized

Under Contract: Blended Learning in the Social Studies Classroom

downloadTechnology integration, individualized learning, differentiation, data based decision making, standards driven content…the list of expectations in any given lesson could go on and on, but how do teachers go about efficiently meeting all of these demands in their classrooms?  Blended Learning is a great solution that many teachers are turning to, and one model frequently used is Learning Contracts.  These contracts are agreements between the teacher and their students, which allows students some choice in their learning while requiring students to meet conditions set by the teacher.  Contracts outline an entire lesson or unit for students before they begin learning the content, providing them with what they will be learning, how they will learn it, due dates, and assessments.

Continue reading Under Contract: Blended Learning in the Social Studies Classroom

PD Opportunity: Calling all teachers to the National WWII Museum!

The National WWII Museum has an amazing opportunity for teachers this summer. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this! But hurry – the deadline for applications is February 1, 2018.

Explore World War II in New Orleans and Hawaii!

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Applications for The National WWII Museum’s Summer Teacher Institute are now OPEN! This professional development experience for middle and high school social studies teachers includes a weeklong seminar at the Museum in New Orleans (July 22-28, 2018), plus a trip to explore WWII-related historic sites in and around Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (July 21-27, 2019). This year’s institute focuses on the US Home Front, and will include seminar discussions with top WWII scholars, guided tours of the Museum’s innovative exhibits, artifact analysis, and interaction with WWII arvites1veterans. Participants receive up to six hours of graduate credit for participation. Travel, graduate tuition, and seminar materials are provided free of charge by the Museum. For full details and the application, visit nationalww2museum.org/institute.

If you have other questions, please contact Joshua Goodman at Joshua.Goodman@nationalww2museum.org.

 

Winning the RACE of writing

It’s been that kind of school year for all of us, so here’s a great post on writing from last October by KCSS board member Adam Topliff. Happy parent-teacher conference season everyone!

Doing Social Studies

student-at-computerStudents + writing = frustration . . . sound like familiar?

The growing expectation of integrating writing  in our Social Studies classroom makes us as anxious about the process as our students. Why does this happen? There are a variety of factors that contribute to this fear and frustration but the most common that I hear from other teachers is

I don’t have a solid system to assist my kids with writing.

We teach a topic and then assess students by asking them to write a response or reaction. What do we get back?

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Sociology Spotlight: Teaching Social Stratification with Music and Fantastic Lies

animal farmTeachers of social studies across the curriculum probably don’t realize that they cover the issue of Social Stratification (social class systems, poverty, Karl Marx, etc) in their classes. Teachers of sociology probably could spend a whole month on the topic! Social Stratification is one of my favorite units in my semester-long sociology course. Last year, I had my students read Animal Farm (it’s not required in English anymore) and compare the animal’s problems with the issues of social class and social mobility.

I may do that again – just because, in my personal opinion, I think students still need to read this classic! But I have two other favorite activities to go with this unit:

  • Music
  • Fantastic Lies

First, students watch a few videos and we discuss some important vocabulary with Social Stratification. Then I have the students listen to “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) and “Fast Car” (Tracy Chapman). They pick out the issues that relate to social stratification after listening to the songs and reading the lyrics. Next I set them free to find their own examples of stratification in music. Obviously there are some ground rules – nothing racially or sexually offensive. You could also make sure that the songs are clean, but I really want the students to look at the music that they like and pick out these issues within the songs they are listening to everyday. And like almost everything else, you’ll have those students who just google “Songs about social stratification” — normally they pick “Allentown” by Billy Joel.

But I do have some kids who really become more aware of social class issues that people write about and how there are SO MANY songs with these issues to choose from! To complete this part of the unit, students view a Slide Mission with videos, notes, and responses embedded. I like this format because they can insert their YouTube videos right into Google Slides without me have to go search for them. A copy of what I used in my class can be found here.

After a class discussion about poverty in the U.S., we watch the ESPN 30 for 30 called mv5bmjqwmtcymdg2n15bml5banbnxkftztgwmtcxnjg0ode-_v1_uy1200_cr8906301200_al_Fantastic Lies“. This is the story of the Duke LaCrosse team rape scandal back in 2006. I show this because it covers individuals from across social classes and their expectations vs. reality. Students who are unfamiliar with the story are always shocked once we get about three-fourths of the way through it! Afterwards, they will write a reflection (usually around 300 words) and they make connections with the episode and the terms we discussed regarding Social Stratification. I purchased this episode of 30 for 30 (Season 3, episode 6) on Amazon Prime Video.

Sociology teachers out there: I’d love to hear what you do in your classes to teach social stratification! Comment below.

-Megan

KCSS Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Awards

large_kcss toyKCSS is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Judy Cromwell Excellence in Teaching Awards.  This award is intended to reward and encourage high quality instruction in the social studies. Winners of the award exhibit innovative and effective instructional strategies, utilize state and national standards, foster a spirit of inquiry, develop democratic beliefs and values, and participate in professional organizations.  Nominees for the award must be presently serving as a social studies educator (K-12) with at least a half-time appointment and have taught a minimum of three years at the designated grade level. Awards will be given at K-6 and 7-12 grade levels.

If you are interested in nominating a social studies teacher, or you would like to nominate yourself, please complete and submit the nomination form.  Complete nomination packets (1-2 page letter from nominee, professional resume, and 2 letters of recommendation) can then be submitted to either the email or mailing address listed at the top of the nomination form.

Complete nomination packets must be submitted by September 15th, winners will be notified by October 1st, and are expected to attend the Kansas Social Studies Conference in Wichita on November 5th & 6th.  Winners will be announced during a reception at the conference on Sunday night 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 Award.

Download the information sheet for additional details about the award.