Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 21, February 2017

February is Black History Month!

There are a wide variety of resources available for social studies teachers to incorporate Black History into their classrooms. Here is a small selection of possible resources:

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month blog post from Scholastic includes ideas about music, literature, poetry, civil rights movement, science, and "firsts"

African Americans in the Handbook of Texas Online: Brief history of African Americans in Texas. Lesson idea: Give small student groups different passages from the article to research and decide whether they agree, disagree, or remain neutral with the following statement: "This article accurately represents the history of Black Americans in Texas." Use philosophical chairs to facilitate student discussions.

Black in the Past The Austin History Center proudly presents Black in the Past, one-minute vignettes depicting the stories of African Americans and the communities they built. Vignette topics highlight the events, places and people that characterize Black Austin, using historic photographs and documents from the archival holdings at the Austin History Center.

National African American History Month Browse ready-to-use lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids.

EDSITEment's Guide to Black History Month Teaching Resources EDSITEment offers a revised and updated version of our Guide to Teaching Resources a comprehensive collection of free NEH-supported, vetted websites and EDSITEment-developed lessons on African American history and literature arranged roughly by historical period.

Teacher Opportunities

World War I Centennial Commemoration

April 6, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of the United States officially entering the Great War. In some ways, World War I remains America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives during that war than during the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, and even though it profoundly shaped the rest of “the American century.” The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission provides information, guidelines, and primary sources that you can use for free to help educate students about the First World War. The Texas World War I Centennial organization, part of the National World War I Centennial Commission, is committed to commemorating the role of Texas and Texans in the Great War.

To learn more about the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and its educational resources, go to

To learn more about the state-wide Texas World War I Centennial Commemoration and to register for its Planning Meeting that will be held on February 3rd in Austin, go to

DBQ Project Workshop

Democratizing the DBQ:

Helping ALL Students to Read, Think and Write about History and Literature

When: Saturday, February 11, 2017, 9:00am to 3:00pm

Where: Region 13 ESC Austin, Texas

Workshop Fee: $50.00 (AISD Social Studies will cover the fee if you are interested in attending)

Lunch will be provided.

For over a decade, The DBQ Project has promoted rigorous reading, writing and historical inquiry instruction for all students, not just those in advanced classes. Come discover ways to differentiate document analysis and argumentative writing through a document-based question (DBQ). This workshop will be interactive and participants will receive a sample unit from The DBQ Project materials. History/Social Studies and ELA/R teachers, administrators and instructional coaches of grades 4-12 are encouraged to attend.

If you are interested in attending this workshop, please email Judy Miller at and ask her to register you.

Teacher Tonic

Date: March 30, 2017

Time: 5:30 - 8:30 pm

Location: Blanton Museum of Art

Register now for this event at:

This event is FREE and open to all PK-12 teachers of all disciplines. This ticket allows you free admission, $4 parking, 1 free drink token, and is good for 3 C.P.E credits.

Space is limited – be sure to RSVP.

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NEH Summer Opportunities

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs for Educators

Each year, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers tuition-free opportunities for educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Through intensive summer programs of reading and discussion with recognized scholars, teachers have opportunities to strengthen their mastery of the subjects they teach in history, literature and languages, world cultures, art history, and political science, among others. These primarily residential programs encourage teachers to study common texts, visit collections in libraries and museums, and exchange ideas about the art of teaching. Stipends of $600-$3,300 help cover expenses for these one- to four-week programs. Applications are due no later than March 1, 2017.

For more information and application instructions, please visit:

Student Opportunities

E2 Summit for Young Women - Nominate one of your students Today!

Be a Mentor: E2 Summit for Young Women

February 25, 2017 at the Capital Factory in downtown Austin

This February, JA and EY launch the inaugural E2 - Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Summit for Young Women, a day-long event for young women in grades 10-12 to learn fundamentals of entrepreneurship and career success.

Participants will practice networking, prepare a resume and learn startup skills through JA It's My Business, culminating in a product-pitch competition.

After the E2 Summit, the young women can continue to grow with mentoring, financial workshops, and even running a start-up through the JA Company Program.

To nominate a young woman, please contact the JA office at 512.710.5437 or

Texas-Focus: ArcGIS Online U.S. School Competition 2017

Across the U.S., high school and middle school students are exploring their world and creating interesting map products with ArcGIS Online. Esri now challenges students to create and share maps about something in their home states, working to be among the best in the school, state, and nation.

The ArcGIS Online US School Competition 2017 is open to high school (gr.9-12) and middle school (gr.4-8) students in the U.S who can analyze, interpret, and present data via an ArcGIS Online presentation, web app, or story map.

Texas has chosen to keep the possible topics wide open, with no special theme, just focused inside the borders of Texas.

Deadline to submit maps is 6pm CST Monday, May 1st.

Learn more.

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Have you tried these out yet?

If you find any resources that you'd like to share...

just email Melanie with a brief description and the link!
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Austin ISD High School Social Studies

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by one of the means below.

Also, if you enjoy receiving resources more frequently than once a month, follow us on Twitter @AISDSoc !