Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 11, December 2015

In this December issue of our Austin ISD Social Studies Newsletter, we have included information about upcoming professional development opportunities inside Austin ISD as well as in the community, information about student opportunities, and highlighted online instructional materials.

Don't forget to check out our updated social studies website for more resources, CRMs, and exemplar lessons!

Austin ISD Secondary Learning Opportunities

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USH District-Wide PLC on HCP


Discussion and Screening: Interpreting the Civil War

Join the Bullock Texas State History Museum, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, and the James A. Michener Center for Writers for a discussion of the Civil War in popular culture, the evolution of the subject through the years, and its continued relevance today. Scholars, authors, and filmmakers will discuss depictions of the war and its aftermath as seen on screen over time. Following the discussion, enjoy an exclusive screening of portions of the first three episodes of new Civil War drama Mercy Street before it airs on PBS nationwide in January 2016.

December 5, 2015

2:00pm - 4:00pm

Texas Spirit Theater at the Bullock Museum

Price: FREE when you RSVP

For more information or to RSVP


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We the Students Essay Contest

Each year, the Bill of Rights Institute hosts an essay contest that does two things: encourages students to think deeply about their constitutional rights and helps them pay for college! And this year, we're asking students to weigh in on the ongoing debate between liberty and security.

Here's the prompt:

Our Founders believed that the Bill of Rights should guarantee your individual liberty. But how has our government compromised on your rights in the name of security?

Students who answer this question in a 500-800 word essay will have a chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 and a scholarship to our annual summer event for students in Washington D.C. There are also a number of cash prizes for runner-ups.

Deadline to Enter: February 7, 2016


World Geo: Negotiating Climate Change: Paris 2015 - Free e-lesson from Choices

From November 30 to December 11, countries from around the world will meet to discuss how to deal with climate change. This year, the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) is being held in Paris. The central goal for the Conference is to make a comprehensive and legally binding international agreement on climate change.

In this lesson students will:

  • Examine the need for, and challenges associated with, creating an international agreement on climate change.
  • Assess the importance of the climate change conference (COP 21) in Paris.
  • Monitor the coverage of COP 21 and climate change in the news.
  • Analyze how the outcomes of COP 21 and responses to the conference relate to the key issues at stake.

Negotiating Climate Change: Paris 2015 e-lesson

All Subjects: Resource Guide on the Terrorist Attacks in Paris from Choices

All of us at Choices are struggling to understand the tragic and terrible events that happened in Paris on November 13, 2015. The many dimensions and the diverging opinions about the events make approaching the tragedy all the more daunting. We realize that teachers who want their students to consider these events in a thoughtful and constructive way are seeking resources for themselves and their students. We have compiled an annotated list of online sources that may be helpful for approaching some key aspects of the crisis.

Resource Guide at Choices

GOVT - What's the Deal with the Electoral College? e-Lesson

The Electoral College has many quirks and complexities than can be difficult to explain. Learn more about how the Electoral College functions and why the Framers thought it was a good idea, and why some think it’s time for a replacement.

Bill of Rights Institute Lesson Plan

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Austin ISD Secondary Social Studies

Middle School Specialist - David Levee

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

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