Austin ISD Social Studies News

Vol. 24, September 2017

Welcome to the 17-18 School Year!

We are excited about the 17-18 School Year!

Just a reminder that Yearly Planning Guides (YPGs) and Student Performance Guides (SPGs) are available on the Social Studies website and in the BLEND Commons!

The YPGs have been updated with new BLEND modules and lessons that integrate the District Initiatives of Literacy, Whole Child, and Technology and support student mastery of the 6 Austin ISD Power Skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, connection, and cultural proficiency.

Please read all the way to the bottom of this newsletter so that you don't miss any upcoming opportunities!

Modules NOW in BLEND!

WG: Urbanization - Austin Case Study (1st six weeks)

WH: Asia in the First Global Age (3rd six weeks) - An example of Talk Read, Talk Write literacy strategy

USH: Chinese Immigration and Exclusion (1st six weeks) - Available after 9/5

USH: Changes in Civil Rights Goals (5th six weeks) - An example of a Structured Academic Controversy

GOV: Civic Participation (1st six weeks)

ECO: Circular Flow Model (3rd six weeks)

Questions about BLEND? Click here

September Observances

Celebrate Freedom Week and Constitution Day

According to State Laws:

(A) Each social studies class shall include, during Celebrate Freedom Week ...appropriate instruction concerning the intent, meaning, and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, in their historical contexts...

(B) Each school district shall require that, during Celebrate Freedom Week ... students in Grades 3-12 study and recite the following text: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."

Celebrate Freedom Week will be observed September 11-15.

Constitution Day is observed on September 17 or during the week it falls in if it is on a weekend.

Constitution Day Resources

Celebrate Freedom Week Resources

AISD Professional Learning Opportunities

SS HS Department Chair Meeting #1

When: September 19, 2017 from 9:00am - 12:00 pm

Where: Baker

Who: Department Chairs and Social Studies Instructional Coaches

Sign up here


  • Welcome - Icebreaker - Announcements
  • Technology: ArcGIS Introduction
  • Community Partner: Hemispheres
  • Whole Child: TEKS Streamlining
  • Literacy: Talk Read, Talk Write

This is the first meeting of the 17-18 school year. Many campuses have new department chairs and/or instructional coaches, so it's important for every department chair and instructional coach to attend. However, if the department chair is unable to attend, please find a representative for your campus to attend so that she/he can bring the learning and resources back to your campus.

I look forward to working with and learning from you this year!

US History District PLC Meeting #1

When: September 19, 2017 from 1:00-4:00 pm

Where: Baker

Who: US History teachers, all campuses, all levels of experience

Sign up here


  • Welcome - Icebreaker - Announcements
  • Semester 1 Pacing
  • Example BLEND module: Chinese Immigration and Exclusion using the Literacy strategy, Somebody Wanted But So summary, and supporting the Whole Child by embedding Cultural Proficiency.
  • Unit and Lesson Planning
  • BLEND module vetting
  • Wrap-Up

This is the first meeting of the USH District PLC for the 17-18 school year. I hope that in addition to any new USH teachers who sign up, all previous attendees are able to come to share with each other so that our students can be as successful at showing their mastery as possible!

AP World History District PLC Meeting #1

When: September 26, 2017 from 9:00am - 4:00pm

Where: Baker

Who: AP World History (WHAP) teachers from all campuses

Sign up here


  • Welcome - Icebreaker
  • The AP Exam
  • AP best practices
  • Semester 1 Pacing
  • Unit Planning
  • BLEND module vetting
  • Wrap-Up

This is the first meeting of the WHAP District PLC! This District PLC was created to support all WHAP teachers with content and strategies. Together we will create units and lessons that challenge student thinking and provide scaffolds where necessary.

I look forward to working with you throughout the school year!

Teacher Opportunities

TAH: Presidents and Political Parties

When: September 12, 2017 from 8:00am - 2:30 pm

Where: SHRC, Room 104

Who: US History and US Government Teachers, all campuses

Austin ISD Social Studies will cover the cost of subs.

Sign Up Here!

The relations between presidents and political parties have changed a great deal over the last 2+ centuries, from the earliest years of the republic, with parties still forming, to the later 19th Century during which parties mostly dominated presidents, and into the 20th Century when presidents have become increasingly free from party control. This program is relevant for both American History and American Government/Civics teachers and offers a diverse selection of original documents as source material for the discussion. This program is open to all area teachers; however, Austin ISD teachers will receive priority for program placement.

Discussion Leader: Dr. Jeremy Bailey, Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston

Access PDF copies of the reader and agenda here.

s3 Strategies: Writing Historically

When: September 20, 2017 from 8:30am - 3:30 pm

Where: Science Health Resource Center

Who: All Social Studies Teachers, all campuses

Austin ISD Social Studies will cover the cost of subs.

Sign Up Here!

Examine easily implemented ideas to integrate content and writing! Learn how to engage students in meaningful opportunities to make authentic writing a common practice. Empower students to analyze, synthesize and evaluate as they spiral from main ideas and supporting details, to the powerful and meaningful writing necessary to attack even a DBQ! Writing can be fun – for you and your students!

South Asia Institute K-12 Teacher Workshop Epic Tales from Ancient India: Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art

When: Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 8:30am - 3:30pm

Where: Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118), UT Austin Campus

Who: World Geography and World History Teachers, all campuses

Abduction, betrayal and heroic battles. Larger-than-life stories depicted with the miniaturist’s delicacy of touch and vibrant colors.

Join Hemispheres for a teachers’ workshop where we explore this exhibition. While drawing upon the primary resources displayed in the exhibition, professors and graduate students from UT’s Departments of Art History, Asian Studies and Religious Studies will talk about the role of these dynamic images in depicting court life from several regions of the Indian sub-continent from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

The workshop is designed for art, ELA, and social studies educators at the middle and high school level, and addresses themes related to Indian history, religious studies, storytelling and oral traditions. Participants will have the opportunity to tour the exhibit. Space is limited to 25 participants who will be chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendance is free of charge to all teachers, but pre-registration is required.

Attendees will receive:

  • Professional Development Hours (CPE)
  • Teacher materials (books, articles and lesson plans)
  • Continental Breakfast, Lunch and other refreshments

To register and for more information on the workshop please send an email:

Please include information on where and what you teach (school/district, and grades/subjects).

Student Opportunities

National History Day 17-18

Every year National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past.

This year’s theme is Conflict and Compromise in History.

The Conflict and Compromise in History theme webinar will be on September 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Find more information and resources at

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 Secondary Social Studies

High School Specialist - Melanie Kirchhof

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

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