Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 13, February 2016

In this February issue of our Austin ISD Social Studies Newsletter, we have included links to Black 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!

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Fifty Years after the March on Washington: Students in the Civil Rights Movement

Online Lesson
Students hear stories from former civil rights activists and analyze what motivated students to join the movement and what their experiences were like.

Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and early 1970s

Learning Opportunity

WED. FEB. 24, 2016 10-10:50 a.m.

Free registration

Register for one of the following Formats:

  • Videoconference (interactive questions): Interactive slots get face-to-face question and answer time with the presenter. Please submit up to three questions to Dr. Shirley Hammond, Director of Education, at or by phone at 979.691.4013 by Feb. 18. Selected questions will be asked during the videoconference, time permitting.

  • Livestream: This registration is for the live stream. We recommend viewing the program live on one computer only and connecting that computer to a television or digital projector for classroom viewing. You will be sent a link to test the stream two days before the program date.

  • Recording : Can't join us live? No problem! This program will be recorded and archived for viewing at any time. You will receive a link to access the recording within three days after the live program on Feb. 24.

This presentation examines the role that black popular music played during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Black music helped disseminate a message of protest and resistance which spurred reform activists into action as they fought for racial equality in the United States.

Dr. Earnest Obadele-Starks, expert on the civil rights protest of the 1960's, will be speaking on the societal influences of the civil rights movement and the impact of African-American protest music.

Austin ISD Secondary Learning Opportunities

High School Social Studies Instructional Leadership meetings

Dear HS Instructional Leaders, our Spring meetings will be:

Thursday February 4, 2016 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm

Wednesday April 6, 2016 from 9:00 - 12:00 pm

Please sign up on HCP and if you are unable to attend one of the meetings, please send a campus representative.

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Sign up for the USH District-Wide PLC on HCP

Learning Opportunities in the Community

Humanities Institute: Controversy and Conversation

Please join us for the next film in the Controversy and Conversation series, "Before You Know It."

Thursday, February 4, 2016 7-8:45 PM
Terrazas Branch, Austin Public Library, 1105 E. César Chávez St.

"Before You Know It" portrays three gay seniors as they confront the challenges and the pleasures of old age. Dennis, a quiet septuagenerian who moves to a retirement home in Oregon; Ty, a longtime gay rights activist in Harlem; and Robert (known as "The Mouth"), owner of what is reportedly the oldest gay bar in Texas, Robert's Lafitte, are part of the first "out" elder generation. The film follows each of them through a year.

We will be joined by the filmmaker, PJ Raval, for a Q&A after the film.

Investigating Weather workshop, February 6

February 6 in San Marcos, Texas

8:30 am - 12:30 pm with optional field trip from 12:30 - 3:00 pm (limited spots)
Workshop Cost: $10

Learn ways to use technology to teach about the weather. In this workshop, you will participate in content-rich presentations on the geography of weather and then use ArcGIS Online to explore how to make and use digital maps to view and analyze weather patterns and regions. This workshop is an excellent opportunity for the participant to connect geography and earth science through technology.

In the afternoon, workshop participants are able attend a field trip to the National Weather Service in New Braunfels. The field trip is first come, first serve. The workshop is BYOD (Bring your own device - laptop preferred). Lunch is provided. No prior knowledge of ArcGIS is necessary. Participants will receive access to resources, including lesson plans and activities. CPE hours available.

Learn More and Register

Dr. Joseph Kerski, Education Manager for ESRI

Dr. Richard Dixon, Department of Geography at Texas State University
Dr. Rich Earl, Department of Geography at Texas State University

Workshop is hosted by the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education

Evening for Educators: Life and Death on the Border, 1910-1920

Join us for a FREE event exclusively for teachers. Explore the Museum’s special spring exhibitions focusing on the changing borders and border communities of Texas.

Life and Death on the Border 1910-1920 re-examines the events and context that represent some of the worst racial violence in United States history. Through displays of rare artifacts, photographic records, court documents, newspapers, family histories, and eye witness accounts, this poignant exhibition provides a fresh perspective on a little-known story that shaped the Mexican American civil rights movement and continues to have lasting impact today.

February 10, 2016 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Bullock Museum

Free parking in museum garage

Come anytime from 5-8pm, but you won’t want to miss these scheduled events:

  • 5:00-5:30 pm Refreshments and explore the exhibitions
  • 5:30-8:00pm Hear guest speakers from the University of Texas, the Texas General Land Office, and the Bullock Museum. Learn content information, and rotate through breakout sessions with hands-on activities to take back to your classrooms.
  • 7:00-8:00 pm Help us welcome back an old favorite! Preview the film, Born to Be Wild,which will be playing in the Museum's IMAX Theatre during the month of March.


Capital Area Council for Social Studies Event

​The Capital Area Council for the Social Studies will meet February 23 for a program that features the back story on the movie "Bridge of Spies." See the handout for further information.

LBJ Presidential Library: 2016 Civil Rights Movement Related Exhibits

1) President Johnson's Condolence Letter to Coretta Scott King - After Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, President Johnson wrote a letter of condolence to his widow, Coretta Scott King. According to published media accounts, Mrs. King kept the letter until 2003, when she gave it to the singer, Harry Belafonte. In 2014, Belafonte gifted the letter to his half-sister, Shirley Cooks, who sold the letter at auction in March 2015 for $60,000 to a private collector.

The letter was then donated to the Library by a private collector for our permanent collection. This is the first time the letter has ever been displayed in a public museum.

2) The Continual Struggle by Brian Washington - This exhibit's artwork documents the civil rights movement and America's historic struggle against segregation and other forms of race-based disenfranchisement. Carefully researched and drawn only in black and white, the 17 stark drawings portray sharecropping, non-violent protest, freedom rides, protest marches, voter registration campaigns, police violence, and the realities that provoked those actions – vividly demonstrating the conflict-ridden nature of social change.

Both exhibits run through April 10, 2016. Plan your visit!

Join Us for a Special SXSW EDU Global Bridge-Building Event!

Building Hope

By the Nobelity Project

Paramount Theatre
Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
11 AM – 1 PM (This is a 2 hour event.)

Please join this special event celebrating the value of education for every child across the globe.
*Including a LIVE Skype call to Kenya,

The cost of admission is only $8.00 per student.
Title I schools will receive a discounted admission of only $4.00.

Recommended for middle & high school students

TEKS Connections: Social Studies, Global Studies, Philanthropy, Film & Fine Arts

This presentation will begin with a screening of the award-winning documentary Building Hope. Nobelity Project founders and filmmakers Turk & Christy Pipkin will follow the film with a Q&A and a live stream, Skype call, with students in Kenya. Austin students will have the opportunity to ask questions in real time and experience global bridge-building for themselves as we explore the importance of education for all.

More about the film: Through challenges and triumphs, Building Hope chronicles the construction of Mahiga Hope High, the first high school for this remote African community, and the connection between a thousand people in the U.S. and an African community working to create a better future for their children.

The Nobelity Project, founded by Turk and Christy Pipkin, is a non-profit organization seeking solutions to global problems through education and action. Advocating for basic rights of children everywhere, they have a special focus on enabling rural Kenyan communities to fill the gaps in educational infrastructure so their children can see a brighter future.



Texas Citizen Bee - Scholarship Opportunity

The Texas Citizen Bee is a statewide civic education program and competition which offers teachers and high school students (9th-12th grades) an exciting way to teach and study America’s heritage.

Join us here at Region 13 on Saturday, March 5, 2016

Citizen Bee Flyer for 2016

Study Guide

Registration will begin at 9:30 AM and the competition will begin at 10 AM. The competition will end at approximately 12 PM.

For further information or inquiries about this event, please contact Betsy Gonzales at

Super Student Primary Mock Election - February 22-29, 2016

February 22-29, 2016
Practice voting skills and prepare for the 2016 National Mock Election by having your students participate in YLI's second Super Student Primary. Students will weigh in on current presidential hopefuls. The Super Student Primary will work just like the National Mock Election- all that is necessary is your teacher code. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Super Student Day Mock Election!


Primaries, Debates, Caucuses...Oh My!

The presidential primary season is upon us again, and Americans are re-familiarizing themselves with the candidate selection process. In this eLesson, students will identify the difference between a caucus and primary, discover when their state's nomination contest takes place, and analyze how the power of political parties has changed over time. They will also participate in a mock caucus within their own classroom.

View the eLesson here.

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Austin ISD Secondary Social Studies

Middle School Specialist - David Levee

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

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

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