The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

history majors in the NFL

Came across this interesting story about a Harvard Football player entering the draft...

If Hodges—who at 6'2" and 250 pounds is projected by scouts to be a midround selection—sounds like a deep thinker, it's because he is. A government and philosophy major, Hodges answers questions not in sound bites or even paragraphs, but in four-page soliloquies, almost like he should be on a balcony with one arm raised.

Read more here

Hands on Learning at its Best

Here is video taken of Nancy Pierpont's 7th grade class, learning about Victory Gardens and using the Fairfield Garden.
Fairfield Victory Garden

The New SOLs

An update on where the new SOLs stand:

Last week, the VDOE finally approved the Standards for Social Studies, grades K - 12 with a thrilling debate on whether to include the The Marquis de Lafayette (they did). However, this puts the state behind on implementation.

Next, the Curriculum Frameworks need to be approved, which becomes even more political. Hopefully the Framework will be approved in November, 2015.

They are talking about two years of field tested items, some Technology Enhanced Items, which means, we may until Spring 2018 before the SOL tests counts for the new standards.

There was no discussion about a crosswalk document and there are no firm dates as of yet. Nothing really new will be known until decisions are made in November.

VCSS Conference Info and Proposals

The VCSS website got a face lift. Check it out. The VCSS's goal is to foster professional growth, develop communication among stakeholders in the social studies community, and to promote the teaching of social studies in Virginia, the United States, and the international sphere. The Virginia Council of the Social Studies is an affiliate with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).

The VCSS also runs the state conference, which will be in October this year. If you want to be a member, you can do it 1 of 2 ways. By joining the NCSS (national), you can add $10 to become part of VCSS at the same time. Or, go to the site and fill out the form for the VCSS application.

NEW INFORMATION: The conference this year is Oct. 16-17 and you can book your room now and if you want to present, you can do that here. Get information about the conference here and presenting, here.

We still need more teachers to present!

Teacher|Student Opportunities

Echoes and Reflection

A few months ago, I had asked folks if they'd be interested in a free workshop at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, but it had to be postponed because too few people signed up.

Well, we have a new date:

Saturday April 25, 2015

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Virginia Holocaust Museum

2000 East Cary Street

Richmond, VA 23223

To register contact, Megan Ferenczy at 804-257-5400, ext. 234 or

This workshop is free for educators and includes an Echoes and Reflections Teacher Resource Guide ($95 value) for all participants. A certificate of attendance will be awarded to participants at the conclusion of the workshop.

Specifically, Echoes and Reflections:

  • Promotes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the Holocaust to today’s students.
  • Addresses academic standards—including Common Core State Standards—using informational texts and primary source documents.
  • Incorporates compelling visual history testimony into ten multi-part and modular lessons to engage students in the lives of survivors, rescuers, liberators, and other witnesses of the Holocaust.
  • Combines the experience and resources of three world leaders in education: the Anti-Defamation League, USC Shoah Foundation, and Yad Vashem.

Learn more here.

About Echoes and Reflections - Leaders in Holocaust Education

Virginia Historical Society

The VHS currently offers three teachers institutes. "The Story of Virginia, an American Experience" is a week-long program that is offered twice each summer. The dates and subject of the E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute and Primarily Virginia, the VHS on-line institute, vary from year to year. All institutes are open to private and public school teachers of any grade level.

For more information, click here

2015 Stratford Hall Summer Institute for Teachers

From the afternoon of July 15 through noon on July 18, 2015, twenty-five teachers from across Virginia and the nation will have a unique opportunity to participate in a practical educational experience.

Set on the grounds of Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, Virginia, home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, this four-day workshop will feature lectures from four nationally respected scholars and workshops led by a nationally prominent Master Teacher and Professor of Curriculum Development. Participants will examine four distinct components of the reality of Tidewater Virginia colonial life on the eve of the American Revolution. These examinations will be accomplished through the use of selected primary sources.

For more information, click here.

Constitution Center|Montpelier

The Montpelier Seminars are fully funded for social studies educators thanks to the generosity of private donors. Offered throughout the year, programs begin on Friday evening, and adjourn on Sunday afternoon, maximizing the experience while minimizing time away from the classroom. Six courses are offered each year, each with a distinctive perspective on American constitutionalism. The Center has a limited number of scholarships available for teachers in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., North Carolina, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. Teachers from other states are encouraged to apply to these programs and may be admitted if space is available.

Find more information here.

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.

The Problem With History Classes

From The Atlantic, lengthy, but good...

Before the release of Selma, I wonder how many people ever reflected on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s attitude toward the 1965 marches in Selma. I wonder if anybody thought that conventional wisdom afforded him either too much or too little credit for the Voting Rights Act. I imagine that Johnson’s legacy was not on the average American’s radar until Selma ripped it into the public consciousness.

And I think the daughter of Glenn Wiebe's summarizes this article the best with this quotation from 4th grade:

"The past is what really happened. And history is what we say happened."

Read more here

Teaching World History through Popular Culture

Geography Galore!

What does it look like when we combine inquiry learning with geography? What resources are available?

Lots of links and ideas to improve Geography!

Read more here, from Glenn Wiebe

Creating a Multimedia Timeline on HSTRY

3 Overview of timeline

Meeting Words

MeetingWords is a free service for creating an online notepad and chat room. Through MeetingWords you can quickly create an online place to collaboratively create documents with one or more partners. You do not need to register in order to use the service. You can chat in real-time while creating a document. Every person contributing to the documents you build is assigned a highlight color so that you can easily track who wrote what in the document.

Go here for more info.

Original Post

The Price of Freedom

The Price of Freedom is a multimedia timeline of history of American wars. The timeline is hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Students navigate the timeline by selecting one of the conflicts highlighted on the timeline. After making a selection students are sent to an online exhibit that features a timeline of that conflict. Within the timeline of each conflict students will find the causes and outcomes of the conflict. Short videos, images, and primary source documents are included throughout the Price of Freedom timeline.

Check it out here.

Original Post

Co-Pilots and Wingmen

Yesterday, Maggie Walsh and I met with Varina Social Studies teachers to discuss Differentiation in the Social Studies Classroom. Part of this discussion was on how to organize a Socratic Seminar in the collab classroom.

Note: This would probably work in any classroom.

So first, if the concept of a Socratic Seminar is new to you, read this first.

Here are some basic rules:


  • No one can speak while someone else is speaking.


  • Speakers must try to build on what others say, not debate their views.

Refer to Text

  • Speakers must refer directly to the section of the text from which their ideas come, rather than making general comments and observations.

Co-Pilots refer to partners the main speaker of the Socratic Seminar has at his or her side. See the picture below.

Start with a question that one of the “pilots” has written over the text being used for the Socratic Seminar. Run the seminar as usual, but stop at an appropriate time (about every 5 minutes) and have the pilots turn to their two co‐pilots (wingmen) and gather input regarding the inner circle discussion.

Allow about one minute for conversations between the pilot and wingmen, and then refocus everyone’s attention on the inner circle.

From this point, you have several options depending on how the discussion is going and the time allotted to the seminar:

1. Resume the Socratic Seminar and have the pilots share insights from the two co‐pilots (wingmen).

2. Have one of the co‐pilots take over for each pilot and resume the seminar.

3. Have one of the co‐pilots ask a question to the original pilots, and the seminar resumes with this new question.

Continue to use contributions from the wingmen to keep the conversation moving and energetic. This allows the wingmen to still be able to contribute to the inner circle, and yet still work on their listening and evaluative skills as members of the outer circle.

Suggestion: To debrief the Socratic Seminar, have the inner circle rotate one position to the left so that each pilot now has at least one new wingman. Next, the new trio reflects on the discussion, the content, or personal insights as a product of the seminar.

Big image

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2014 - 2015: Teachers- 8.5 and Me- 12

This week: Why did Obi Wan Kenobi use the force against the Mae Klong?

Last week:

You may think I am measured by the Greek,

And at first I was,

But for over 90 years, I've been measured by the King and Queen.

But don't sing Caroline here, for that is nearby.

To win: what is it, and explain the riddle.

No one won. It's the Boston Marathon. Everyone attributes the 26 miles of the marathon to Greece, but really it was the 1908 Olympics in England when the Queen wanted the race to end in front of Windsor Castle that extended the distance to today's mileage.

If you're not sure of the Caroline reference: Here you go


Health and fitness isn't just about dieting and losing weight. Sometimes, you may need to gain weight! What??? I get to eat ice cream all I want??? Well... not really. Here's a good article on how to safely gain weight:

Whether you want to add muscle mass or simply look a little less like a string bean, gaining weight can be just as much of a challenge for some people as losing weight is for others. Maintaining a healthy diet while simultaneously beefing up the numbers on the scale requires a lot of hard work.

“For people trying to gain weight, it’s not [always] fun. And if you want to gain healthfully, it’s not about eating ice cream sundaes and chocolate and six slices of pizza,” says Marjorie Cohn, a Registered Dietician and the author of Belly Fat Fix and co-author of Overcoming Binge Eating For DUMMIES.

Read more


Rules of Engagement: Ethics in Warfare [rebroadcast] by BackStory