Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 14, March 2016

In this March issue of our Austin ISD Social Studies Newsletter, we have included links to Women's History Month resources, upcoming professional development opportunities inside and outside of Austin ISD, information about student opportunities, and highlighted online instructional materials. There are multiple opportunities for social studies educators coming up this month!

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

Women's History Month

“Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government”

The National Women’s History Month theme for 2016 honors women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their public service and government leadership. Although often overlooked and undervalued, collectively they have dramatically influenced our public policy and the building of viable institutions and organizations. From championing basic human rights to ensuring access and equal opportunity for all Americans, they have led the way in establishing a stronger and more democratic country.

Each of these public leaders succeeded against great odds. The diversity of their experiences demonstrates both the challenges and the opportunities women in public service have faced. Their ability to use the art of collaboration to create inclusive solutions and non-partisan policies, as well as their skill and determination, serve to inspire future generations. The tenacity of each Honoree underlines the fact that women from all cultural backgrounds in all levels of public service and government are essential in the continuing work of forming a more perfect union.


NEA: Women's History Month for the Classroom

Smithsonian: Women's History Teaching Resources

Library of Congress: Women's History Month

Zinn Education Project: Women's History Women's History Month

National Women's History Museum: Online Exhibits

Austin ISD Secondary Learning Opportunities

Social Studies Institute - Call for Presenters!

Social Studies Summer Institute

August 4, 2016 (Save the Date!)


Anderson High School

Sessions will be 65 minutes in length.

If you are interested in being a presenter at our 2016 Social Studies Summer Institute, please fill out the Social Studies Summer Institute Presenter Proposal Form. To fill it out, visit:

Proposals are due by July 14, 2016.

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Sign up for the USH District-Wide PLC on HCP

Learning Opportunities in the Community

Hemispheres Summer Opportunities

Hemispheres March 2016 newsletter describes multiple summer workshops around the country as well as summer travel opportunities to Cuba and Morocco.

C-SPAN's 2016 Summer Educators' Conferences

This July, C-SPAN will host a conference for high school teachers. The conference is a day-and-a-half long and will be held at C-SPAN's offices in Washington, DC. Airfare to and from Washington, two nights' hotel stay, and meals during the conference are all provided by C-SPAN.

Participants will learn about C-SPAN and our online resources (including Campaign 2016 coverage), as well as how to better integrate these materials into your classroom.

July 14-15, Washington, D.C.

C-SPAN 2016 Summer Educators' Conference Application (Google Form)
Conference Applications must be received no later than Friday, April 8, 2016.

30 educators for each conference will be selected and notified by Friday, April 22, 2016.


Economics Challenge Student Competition- TCEE

This competition is a great way to get students excited about Economics.

  • 3 divisions: middle school, first time high school participants and veterans in advanced classes
  • $20 fee for each team of 3 – 4 students
  • State competition is an on-line exam to be completed between March 14 and April 8, 2016
  • Cash prizes for each division
  • High school state winners advance to the National Semi Finals and if they win there travel to the National Finals
  • Texas teams have been national winners in the past

Click here for more information

Constitutional Connection for Students

How do you feel about key issues like immigration, free speech, college affordability, and more? Join the debate below and you could win a $25 gift card for providing the most constitutional argument on either side. Check back every other Monday to see the new topic and another chance to win! Want to suggest a topic? Email us! (oh, and the rules/regulations for the debate are available here.)

This website is an online forum for students to actively debate with students from around the country about various topics. It provides resources for both sides of the debate and you can read the arguments being posted by students. Even if your students do not post, it's a good resource for seeing different points of view about key issues that are important to high school students.


Debating Voter ID Laws - Bill of Rights Institute e-Lesson

With the presidential primary season in full swing, voters are going to the polls to pick their preferred candidates for the country’s highest office. Some of these voters, however, must verify their identity and eligibility before they cast their ballot. These state rules, or “voter ID laws,” are the subject of great controversy. Advocates of voter ID laws argue that it is essential to establish a voter’s identity in order to prevent fraud. Opponents claim that photo ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and people without the means to obtain a photo ID, and that these laws address a problem that doesn’t exist.

This eLesson introduces students to the debate surrounding voter ID laws, enables them to learn more about voting laws in their own state, and challenges them to think deeply about bigger questions about the nature of voting, privacy, and the duties of citizenship.

Black Lives Matter: Continuing the CIvil Rights Movement

In order to better understand this complex history and the positions of black activists today, it is important to examine significant events leading up to the present. This timeline provides an overview of many leading people and actions that steered towards racial equality in the United States beginning in the 1950s and continuing into 2016.

Lesson Objectives:

Students will:

  • Review a timeline of black activism in the United States from the 1950s to today
  • Identify core themes of the civil rights and Black Lives Matter movements
  • Recognize patterns among and create slogans for different decades of activism
  • Collaborate to consider accomplishments of civil rights activists and the enduring obstacles to racial equality in the United States.
  • Evaluate different platforms for activism and the role of social media in protest

Choices lesson
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Austin ISD High School Social Studies

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

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