During yesterday’s fantastic Kansas state social studies conference, I had the chance to talk with Melinda Stanley from the 2020 Census Civic Outreach Effort in the conference Vendor Village. She shared the following information about how teachers and students can get civically engaged with the Census process.
The Kansas State Department of Education in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau is providing training & support for Kansas educators who sign up to help raise awareness & engage their local community in the 2020 Census.
Shape the future for your students and school. Fall recruitment is now live! Become an ambassador with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools (SIS) program, which uses Census Bureau statistics to educate pre-K through 12th grade students about the importance of a complete and accurate census count.
SIS equips teachers with free and engaging activities to use in classrooms. For the 2019-2020 school year, these new materials teach students about the importance of the 2020 Census count and empowers them to share this knowledge with adults in their home.
The U.S. Census Bureau looks to Teacher SIS ambassadors to champion the program in their classrooms, schools, and communities, and in doing so promote a complete 2020 Census count. As leaders in the program, ambassadors will:
- Promote national SIS events on social media platforms, leading up to and during events, to increase awareness and engagement.
- Network with fellow ambassadors.
- Receive exclusive 2020 Census promotional items for use in and outside the classroom.
Ideal candidates are active pre-K through 12th grade teachers who are excited to spearhead a national initiative at their schools while shaping the future of their communities through social media, collaboration, and leadership. Application reviewers will consider the following qualifications:
- Past leadership positions or an expressed interest in gaining experience.
- Knowledge of or experience with SIS materials.
- A social media presence.
Making sure all children and families are counted in the 2020 Census is especially important for education. Responses to the 2020 Census survey will determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds is distributed to communities each year for the next 10 years, including money for school programs such as:
- Special education
- Teacher training
- School lunch assistance
- Head Start
- Title I funds
- After-school programs
As an SIS ambassador with the U.S. Census Bureau, you will help your students, schools, and communities benefit from the 2020 Census. You and your students can get involved with a two step process:
1. Register with the KSDE to get specific training + student involvement + fun that equals making a difference. Click here to get involved!
2. Register with the U.S. Census Bureau by October 24 via email. ( CLMSO.SISambassador@census.gov) You get national involvement, training, and swag!
If you miss the October 24 deadline, you can STILL register to be part of the Kansas effort!
More Census resources:
Continue reading Each Kansan Counts Teacher Ambassador
January 27th marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorating the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War.
And while you may not be teaching a class that specifically focuses on the events of 1941-1945 as well as earlier discrimination and persecution under the Nazi government, it does provide a chance to connect those events to similar genocides both past and present. And to other acts of discrimination and persecution happening around the world and in the United States.
By remembering the Holocaust, we can honor survivors and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to inform our lives today.
There are many resources available. You might start with these:
As a poly sci junkie, I’m torn.
The 2018 government shutdown is bad for just about everybody. And it seems like it happened over something that most Americans want to see happen – protection for Dreamers. A Fox News poll says 86% of us support DACA. A CBS poll reports 87% supporting the idea.
But the shutdown does create an opportunity to jump into all sorts of conversations involving civics and procedure and policy and elections and checks and balances and three branches and media bias . . . well, you get the idea. If you haven’t already, this week might be a good time to jump ship on your scheduled curriculum and spend some time making connections to the government side of the social studies.
Need a few quick resources? Continue reading Teaching Toolkit: 9 resources for discussing the government shutdown
A couple of months ago, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.
I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.
I should have stopped while I was ahead.
But after learning more about the Learning Lab, I decided to dig in a bit and see what all might be available online from the Smithsonian. And that’s where I got into trouble. About an hour later, I dug my way out of the incredible amount of goodness that Smithsonian folks have made available for educators. I felt smarter but not smarter all at the same time.
Smarter because I learned about some sites and resources that were new to me. Not smarter because . . . seriously, how I have I not known about these things before?
Just so you know, there is a ton of materials, lesson plans, and resources that the Smithsonian has put online. Seriously . . . a ton. Darren told us that the Smithsonian isn’t really sure how much stuff they have – he rounded it up to around 160 million objects. And that’s just the stuff in their collections, not the lesson plans and online exhibitions.
So just to share some of what I learned, here a few places that you need to pencil into your schedule to visit: Continue reading Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!
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