The Digital Broadside

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Presenters Needed

If you're interested in presenting at this year's state Social Studies Conference, applying now is best. We have half the presenters we need. Here's information you'll need when picking a topic to present:

This fall we are excited to bring the Virginia State Conference to Northern Virginia with a focus on Virginia and the Global World. We are seeking proposals that incorporate this theme in the presentation of social studies content. This might include topics such as:
• Teaching the diverse students from around the globe in our classrooms
• Preparing students for their role in a global world
• Linking events in USA History to their global implications
• Linking World Events to their global implications
• Explaining the role of the government and the economy in a global world

The length of each session is one hour.

Special consideration will be given to proposals that address areas of need. These include Differentiation, Technology, Civics and Economics, and World History.

Presentation rooms will have wireless connectivity and an LCD projector. Presenters will need to bring a computer and any additional technology.

Proposals accepted until May 1 at this link.

Take One and Take Two: African American Beauty

Thur, May 8, 4:30 & 7 pm | Conference Suite & Galleries
Two captivating scholars are your guides for this gallery experience that examines the shifting aesthetics and complexities of African American beauty. Dr. Lauranett Lee, Curator of African American History at the Virginia Historical Society, and Dr. Elizabeth O’Leary, American art historian, delve into perceptions of beauty, race, class, and gender as reflected in art, popular culture, and politics.

Buy tickets here ($20).

Freeman Students Taking on the World

Four students from Douglas Freeman will compete in the National Title at the Academic World Quest contest later this month at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The coach is John Larkins.

The competition has a team of 4 students who compete in a Jeopardy style contest where they are asked 100 questions about the following topics:

  • Cybersecurity
  • U.S. Energy Policy
  • Global Economic Realignment
  • Middle East
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • U.S. Education
  • UN Millennium Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger
  • Global Health
  • Geography
  • Current Events

The team will compete on April 26 against other high schools across the nation. Good luck to the team.

10 Reasons to Teach History

When I interview folks who want to teach n Henrico County, I always ask, "Why do you want to teach history?" Not why do they want to teach, but history, specifically? Usually I hear, "I'm passionate about history." While that's a fine answer, passion doesn't often last. This blog from "Why Teach History" has a good list of 10 reasons:

  1. History gives students an opportunity to develop basic skills: reading, writing, and analytical thinking.
  2. History helps students better understand the society in which they live.
  3. History helps students better understand human beings, and in the process of understanding others, students can better understand themselves as individuals.
  4. History helps students understand people who are different.
  5. History allows students to gain perspective and learn to see a bigger picture.
  6. History can inspire students.
  7. History can provide students with a reason for being; it can give meaning to their lives.
  8. History can help students feel a sense of connection.
  9. History is entertaining and fun.
  10. History allows students to dream and wonder; it gives them the opportunity to imagine a better future.

This link gives a full description of each reason.

Prevention Project

I've mentioned Prevention Project a number of times in the newsletters, and a few teachers have used the curriculum in their classrooms over the last two years as a pilot. Well, the curriculum is finally set and ready to go. As a reminder, the Prevention Project is about Modern Day Slavery. It discusses the role human trafficking plays in society today, the size of it, and how students can prevent themselves and friends from becoming a victim (our middle and high school students are the prime age group for being targeted).

If you teach an elective or want to go in-depth with a modern problem, this is perfect for your class. It uses video, discussion, and a call to action for your class. It's easy to use and will engage your students.

If you have any questions, let me know. They can even come to your school if you want to discuss this with you.

Blooms and History

As history teachers, we ask questions to find out what a learner knows and to encourage analytical thinking. Benjamin Bloomʼs Taxonomy of Educational Objectives provides us with a framework for developing a solid questioning strategy.

Level One — Knowledge

• The Level of Simple Recall: Questions ask for factual information. Answers are either right or wrong.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: define, repeat, record, list, recall, name, relate, underline.

• Example: Name the president of the United States during the Civil War.

Level Two — Comprehension

• The Level of Understanding: Questions ask for reasons. Answers are usually right or wrong.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: translate, restate, discuss, recognize, explain, express, identify, locate, report, review, tell.

• Example: Explain the primary causes of the Civil War.

Level Three — Application

• The Level of Usage: Questions usually ask for ways to use knowledge and allow for individual creativity. There many be more than one correct answer.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: interpret, apply, employ, use, demonstrate, dramatize, practice, illustrate, operate, recreate, role play, schedule, shop, sketch

• Example: Role play a debate in the U.S. Senate over the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Level Four — Analysis

• The Level of Relationships and Intent: Questions ask for comparisons to be made or for component parts of an idea to be developed. Answers are more divergent and personal.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: distinguish, analyze, calculate, experiment, test, compare, contrast, criticize, diagram, inspect, debate, inventory, question, relate, solve, examine, categorize.

• Example: Compare and contrast Franklin Rooseveltʼs New Deal with Lyndon Johnsonʼs Great Society.

Level Five — Synthesis

• The Level of Ideas: Questions ask students for ideas for new or different solutions to problems. Answers are creative and divergent; there is no one correct answer.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: compose, plan, propose, design, formulate, arrange, assemble, collect, construct, create, set up, organize, manage, prepare.

• Example: Construct a plan for reforming the American political process.

Level Six — Evaluation

• The Level of Judgement: Questions ask students to make value judgments about ideas of their own or others. Answers are very personal, divergent, and sometimes argumentative.

• Begin questions or commands with the following words: judge, appraise, evaluate, rate, revise, score, assess, estimate, choose, measure, select, value.

• Example: Assess the relative importance of foreign and domestic affairs in shaping the election of 1968.

Student Growth Measures

As we come toward the end of the year, a reminder for everyone and Student Growth Measures. For the first one, the multiple choice test, please make sure you've taught all the SOLs on the test. We were hoping that this would be around the end of the 3rd marking period, but with the snow, that might not be true. So download the tests you need, and give the SGM after you've taught all the material. Remember to download the post-tests, those without the "e) I don't know" option.

For the second one, please make sure you create an environment for success. Make sure your students have time to complete the assignment and that there aren't distractions in class.

2014 Drop-a-Thon

Part two of the Drop-a-Thon begins today! Last time, we went from zero to 2.7 gigs (100s of files) of resources shared in our Dropbox. That's great news for people looking for resources.

However, most of this is first semester material. So I'm now asking teachers to drop second semester material and SOL review material.

This newsletter is global (one guy in China), so email me for a username and password.

What to share:
· Power Points
· Flip Charts
· Worksheets
· Notes
· Exam View files
· Project ideas

General Rules:
· If you use anything from the dropbox, please give back to the dropbox
· If you already see 3 Power Points for SOL VUS.4a, you don’t need to add a 4th VUS.4a power point
· If you’re putting something in the dropbox, you know people may alter it to fit their own needs
· Always give credit for someone else’s work when possible
· If you borrowed from someone, and you know who’s it is (maybe their name is on the Power Point), email them a Thank You!

Teacher Opportunities

War of 1812 Symposium

The Virginia Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Commission is sponsoring the Legacy Symposium on the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, which will feature a two-day Educators Institute for teachers and division personnel who work with students in Virginia Studies, United States History to 1865, and Virginia and United States History.

The objectives of the Institute are to:

  • provide content information related to the War of 1812 by recognized experts;
  • expand historical thinking skills by using primary sources; and
  • investigate artifacts at Ft. Monroe to learn about its 400 year history.

The dates and locations for the Institute are as follows:

Friday, June 20, 2014

8:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Fort Monroe

151 Bernard Road

Fort Monroe, VA 23651

Saturday, June 21, 2014

8:15 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Hampton University

100 E. Queen Street

Hampton, VA 23668

The Educators Institute will accommodate 120 participants. School divisions are invited to send teachers and/or division personnel. The Educators Institute will provide a $50 stipend for attendees, parking, lunch, and material. Additional information, including a tentative agenda, an online registration link, and lodging details can be found at this link. Registration will be conducted on a first-come, first-serve basis until Friday, May 30, 2014.

Check out these opportunities for teachers:

JMU Social Studies Academy (June 23 - 27)

Henricus Historical Park

Eisenhower Summer Institute (not free)

Econ and Personal Finance Summer Institutes

Some of the Basics of Teaching

Instructional Ideas

Click here to go to the HCPS SOL Resources WikiPage

Digital resources for SOL courses including state guidelines, online textbooks, and other resources to use in the classroom.

Questioning the Author

Three key elements in RIGOR are: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry. In Questioning the Author, students do all three. With this activity, students will better understand the author's purpose in writing the article. This isn't an activity where students create questions to an author, rather, given questions to answer to get in the mind of the author.

Generally, there are 5 questions students answer in a reading (generally no more than a few paragraphs):

  1. What is the author trying to tell you?
  2. Why is the author telling you that?
  3. Does the author say it clearly?
  4. How could the author have said things more clearly?
  5. What would you say instead?

The key here is to show students that sometimes, it's not that they are a bad reader, but that the writer isn't 100% clear.

Sparking Inquiry

Part of RIGOR is Inquiry, where teachers and students are asking higher order thinking questions. A good activity for this is a Dialectical Journal, used a lot in the English classroom.

It's pretty easy to set up and looks a lot like class notes. You can also implement this in small steps. Here's what you do:

  1. Divide a piece of paper in 2 or 3 columns.
  2. In column 1, provide students with text (primary or secondary), a quotation, picture, graph, chart, etc... You can provide this on the worksheet, or have students hand write it down themselves. They can even choose their own passage in a longer reading.
  3. Column 2 is optional, and simply is used to cite where the passage came from, whether a page number, URL, etc... But this reinforces research for students.
  4. Column 3 is the student response to the passage. Students react, analyze, predict, summarize, or question the passage.

If you want more samples, please email me.


Please make sure you get the Flocabulary link from your department chair and sign up. Once you do, you'll see videos and songs for your content area (US History, World History, and Civics/Government), quizzes, printable lyrics, questions to ask, and more.

There is also a student password for them to use the site at home.

Let me know what you think.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia: Teachers- 13 and Mike- 9

This week: Where is this?

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History in the News

Below are current event stories that most likely will end up in a textbook one day. My narrative will link to stories and give you an idea on how to approach the subject in class. If you have a current event that I've missed, let me know.

  • The battle over Affirmative Action continues in the Supreme Court. It does't seem like a case equal to Brown v. Board of Education, but another new law that can create good classroom conversation.


The Departed: Extinction In America by BackStory