The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

Freeman takes third at Nationals in DC

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- and hell must have froze over*....

"What's wrong with kids these days?"

Nothing, according to the judges of the 6 Units for the Douglas Freeman We The People team. For many months now, Rob Peck's students in his AP Government class have been living and breathing the Constitution, case law, the Federalist Papers, and history. All the while, making history themselves.

After winning Regionals and then placing second in the State, it appeared that Team Holmes would put their We The People textbooks away, and prepare for their normal AP Government lives. But some of Rob's students had a different plan. They weren't taking second place lying down. They wrote a letter to the Civic Ed folks explaining why they still deserved a spot in the National Competition. So with persistence, the Freeman team was given a chance to compete at Nationals.

(Enter Rocky Music Theme Song... except Eye of the Tiger... that would just be silly)

Working as teams during school, after school, and on weekends the Freeman students prepared for three questions that even Harvard Law students cry over.

For two days, the Freeman team presented their research and took questions from judges. By the end of the day on Saturday, this Wild Card team had made the Top 10. On Monday, the 6 minute questioning round becomes 11 minutes, with judges who are ready to see who really knows their Constitution.

When New Jersey won 9th place, Freeman became the highest placing Wild Card in WTP history. But then Michigan, Nevada, and California placed next. With Washington state winning 4th place, the Freeman team knew they made the Top 3.

With Freeman winning third, and Maggie Walker getting second, it was the first time any state had 2 teams in the top 3.

The students and Mr. Peck worked very hard for a long time and did themselves and Henrico County proud.

*Oh, and why did "hell" freeze over? Not because of the students of DSF, rather, Rob Peck signing up for Twitter and live tweeting the weekend.... see here.

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

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.

We The People Summer Institute

The We the People Summer Institute will take place at James Madison's Montpelier over June 29–July 2, 2015. The Institute will features lectures from a top scholar, lesson demonstrations from We the People master teachers, and will ask our educators to work as students by having them prepare and go through a simulated congressional hearing at the conclusion of the event. This year, the Institute will focus on Units 5 and 6 of the We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution textbook.

Click here for more info.

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May 16, 2015

Richmond Justice Initiative is holding one-day conference on trends in Human Trafficking. By attending, you can learn about ways you can slow the growth of Human Trafficking in the Richmond area. Topics include:

Holistic Survivor Care: A Community Approach

#EndSlavery: Leveraging Social Media to Create a Movement
Men and Boys Trafficked?

And more. For more information, click here.

Plus bonus! Act now!! Though I'm a part of this group, I will be out of town and can't attend. I've purchased one ticket already. The first person who asks can not only have my ticket, but I'll buy a SECOND ticket for a friend. That's right... two for one. But hurry, supplies won't last!

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.

AP Euro and APUSH Video Review

There are a lot of video reviews for APUSH, but here is one site that has both, AP Euro and APUSH. They are good videos and would give your students another chance at learning a weak area on their own. His full site is here.

Found from Free Tech for Teachers.

The Italian Renaissance (AP Euro Review)

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

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2014 - 2015: Teachers- 9.5 and Me- 12

This week: What event is this?

  • Nearly 11,000 Federal troops were used
  • The rise of a Presidential aspirant
  • 6 dead, $77 million in damage using today's money
  • Lasted one week
  • Caused by an assassination

Last week:

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

Hana Hecht was first last week by explaining that Alec Guinness was the star of the movie, The Bridge Over the River Kwai (Mae Klong).


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


1865: United States of Uncertainty by BackStory