The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use


Smart phones are making their way into the classroom. Whether using the Remind app as a way to help kids remember to do homework, or Kahoot, so kids can play review games. Teachers are finding more ways to use this technology all the time.

This article does a good job at explaining the benefits of texting, and how you can use it in your classroom to help your students.

The article discusses how it helps with oral communication, they may write more quickly, and it may help with grammar. Also, the article discusses how to use it in the classroom with telling a story through text, turning texting into notetaking, and other ideas.

John Marshall Teacher of the Year Award

Every year since 1989, on Law Day, May 1st, The John Marshall Foundation has awarded $2500 each to one outstanding high school social studies, government, history or civics teacher and one middle school civics teacher in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Attached is a flyer that I am requesting you to email to all state social studies/history coordinators, if possible. We want as many outstanding Virginia teachers as possible to be aware of these "no strings attached" awards.

Important Information:

  • Nomination forms are available online.
  • Nomination packets must be postmarked by Friday, March 27, 2015.
  • Awards will be presented on May 1, 2015 (Law Day) in Richmond, Virginia.

SOL Public Hearings

The Virginia Board of Education has selected five historic locations for a series of public hearings on proposed revisions to the History and Social Science Standards of Learning (SOL). The standards – which were last revised in 2008 – describe the knowledge and skills students are expected to master in the subject area by the end of each grade or course.

“From Jamestown, to the Revolution, the Civil War, Emancipation and the Civil Rights Movement, Virginia and Virginians have been at the center of our national story,” said Board of Education President Christian N. Braunlich. “The board is conducting these hearings at some of the commonwealth’s premier historic sites to underscore its commitment to quality instruction in history, geography, economics and civics that prepares students to think critically about who we are as Americans and Virginians.”

The nearest location to us is on January 6, at Virginia Union University, 1500 North Lombardy Street, Richmond.

Each public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. Registration of speakers will begin at 6:30 p.m. Speakers will have three minutes to address the board and are encouraged to bring a copy of their comments.

The proposed revised History and Social Science is available on the Virginia Department of Education website.

Instructional Planner: More on A, U, and T and Unpacking

Acquire, Understand, and Transfer

In an effort to make the Instructional Planners easier to complete, I wanted to highlight this Blooms Chart to help you create Driving Questions. Since Blooms drives the Planner, this chart can help you create good driving questions.

The first column, Red, would be your Acquire column. The second and third, Yellows, would be your Understand column. The last three, green, purple, and blue, would be your transfer column.

Unpacking the Curriculum

Since most of us are using the Google Doc version of the Instructional Planner now, I've transferred the unpacking chart for Stage 1 into a Google Doc chart. Click here to see all the possible charts for SOL classes. The document is my Google Folder for Instructional Planner materials, all found in the Google Group.

Top use it:

  • Know which SOLs you are including in the Instructional Planner and know which verbs from the Standard and Column 4 you need
  • Copy the correct chart into your Instructional Planner
  • Delete the verbs you don't need

The chart has been updated since the Word version. So if you're using the Word template of the Instructional Planner, it will differ. After getting feedback, I added all the verbs found in the "skills" SOL and found a few from the rest of the standards that I overlooked.

Twitter, Your Best Source for Everything: UPDATED

Last Monday, I participated in my first #sschat on Twitter for a long time. I forgot how great they are for learning. They are each Monday night at 7pm. Just log in to Twitter and search on #sschat.

If you've never done one, here's how it works:

  • Someone has been designated as the moderator. Last night, it was someone from iCivics.
  • They will first introduce themselves and ask others to do the same.
  • Then they'll ask the first questions, each night is usually 4 or 5 questions. So you'll see, Q1 ... and the question...
  • Those in the chat will respond with A1 #sschat and then give an answer. If you're on the #sschat search page, all you'll see are answers. The rest of the Twitter world is filtered out.
  • You'll see answers from around the world. Some are ok, but others will inspire you. If that happens, "favorite it" or retweet it.
  • Soon, you'll see that someone will have done that to one of your responses.
  • Then after about 10 minutes, Question 2 will pop up

This is a great way to meet new teachers from around the world. The connections you can make are invaluable. It's free PD, done at home, and you can even do it while your spouse thinks you're listening to them (shhh!)

Below, you can actually see the whole conversation.

UPDATED: I'll be hosting a #sschat night on Dec. 15 at 7pm. All are welcome.

Teacher Opportunities

Skyping the Slave Trade

A collaborative education project, Mapping the American Slave Trade will bring students from the Richmond and New Orleans areas together to learn about the interstate slave trade in America from many different perspectives. Students will receive a set of primary sources from the Library of Virginia (LVA) and The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) and work together using a digital platform. Three to four high school teachers and their classes from high schools in both areas will collaborate on the project during the spring 2015 semester. Classes from Richmond will be paired with partner classes from New Orleans, and the students will research and write context for primary source documents that highlight the interstate slave trade. The classes will showcase their work on an interactive online map.

If you're interested, more information is here.

Causes Won and Lost: The End of the Civil War

The capstone event in the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission’s Signature Conference series brings together leading historians to discuss the Civil War’s dramatic closing scenes, its turbulent aftermath, and its long-term legacy in American life.

For more information, click here.

It's all day long, Saturday, April 18, 2015 at UVA

Internment Speaker

Please join the Virginia Holocaust Museum for a conversation with Sam Mihara.

Sam is a second generation Japanese American, who with his family was forced to move into an internment camp in northern Wyoming after the United States entered World War II. Sam’s 90 minute presentation at the Virginia Holocaust Museum will give visitors the opportunity to hear how discrimination and intolerance affected his life. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Sam questions after his presentation. This program is free and open to the public. Middle and High School students are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, December 13, 2014 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

More info.

Bill of Rights Institute

You know how people hate Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.... well, here's some info on Summer 2015 Professional Development:

Join the Bill of Rights Institute for five days of enriching professional development in Washington, D.C. This program will give attendees the opportunity to read and discuss the primary source documents surrounding the Constitutional Conference. Attending teachers will participate in scholar-lead round table discussions as well as visit historic sites in the area.

Eligibility: Social Studies teachers of grades 7-12.

They have two programs:

Liberty and the Constitution

Liberty and Security

Program Overview:

  • Lodging, transportation during the program, and most meals will be covered by the Institute.
  • A $400 travel stipend will be provided at the conclusion of the program.
  • Participants will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the program sites.

Application Requirements:

  • All applicants must complete the online application form.
  • Applicants will be notified if they have been accepted to the program by mid-April.
  • All applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on March 15, 2015. For questions, please contact:

Echoes and Reflections

Special Event for Richmond area teachers! On December 20th (9am to 2pm) the Virginia Holocaust Museum will host an Echoes and Reflections workshop for teachers. There will be two facilitators for this event. Jen Goss, a teacher in Staunton, VA and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Mentor will lead in the Echoes and Reflection portion of the day. Second, teachers will get a special tour of the Virginia Holocaust Museum by Charlie Sydnor, the Executive Director of the Virginia Holocaust Museum, who will also share his experiences.

At the end of the day, each teacher will receive a 10 lesson curriculum book from Echoes and Reflections, a $99 value.

If you're interested, please fill out this form.

There is limited seating for this and teachers from Chesterfield, Hanover, Richmond, and Powhatan have been invited.

About Echoes and Reflections

Be a Historian!

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University is pleased to announce Hidden in Plain Sight, an asynchronous, online U.S. history course for teachers. The course was developed with funding from the Virginia Department of Education.

Participants in this course work through eight modules. Requirements in each module include writing a hypothesis, exploring historical context, and reflecting on classroom applications. The cost is $40.

Register by January 16, 2015

More information here.

See Freedom Speak

High School Student Seminars (by online registration only, two students and one teacher per school) – Day-long instructional activity for students and teachers to gain accurate knowledge, discuss events and engage in conversations with people who were present at history changing events in America. Free.

February 4 (Wednesday) - Vietnam - Lessons Learned

Guest Speaker: BG John “Jack” W. Nicholson, USA (Ret.) – former Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission and Vietnam Silver Star Recipient

March 18 (Wednesday) - World War II Round table

Guest Speaker: Peter Bacque - Army veteran and Staff Writer for the Richmond Times Dispatch along with WW II veterans

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.

Free History Reader

Since we don't really do textbooks anymore, but need readings, here is a great option from Peter Pappas that you can have as a PDF or interactive book for free, through iTunes.

The readings include US and World History and use primary and secondary sources.

Each begins with an essential question and students then use historical thinking skills to learn about the issues.

This is his second book, the first one is here.

Top 100

What makes a leader? How do we evaluate leadership? 100 Leaders in World History is a resource for teachers that engages middle school and high school students in these questions and encourages students to take a position in a global voting activity (available through February 2015). The site features extensive profiles on 100 influential individuals and classroom materials for further exploration and evaluation.

Check them out here. Want resources? Here you go! And 100?!?! Surely, someone else can be on the list.

More Timeline Tools

HSTRY is a digital learning tool where teachers and students alike can create their own interactive timelines. Embedded social features promote collaboration and engagement between students.

With it, students can create interactive timelines that use images and video. It's easy for the teacher to create a class page, where all the student timelines can be housed. You can also create quizzes inside them. Once you have access, you can see professionally made timelines, those made by other members, your student timelines, and ones you've made.

Here's a sample about Sherman's March to the Sea. You have to register to see it.

World History I and II Online Textbook

Not sure how this is open, but found this for World History teachers. It could be a good source for you to use. It's the full textbook and some other resources.

APUSH Redesign: Great Site

From Ken Halla:

Rebecca Richardson has created a tremendous website which she uses with her APUSH students. It has readings, lectures, PowerPoints, word walls, chapter summaries, writing activities and strategies to deal with the new APUSH exam. A great resource for the AP US History class. Check it out.

How to Create a Multimedia Timeline - Timeline JS

PDF Maps at your Fingertips

For the last few years, eMaps was for just 10 specific schools. But now they are available to all schools, teachers and students.

Just go to the Software Center and download... easy. These are maps for:

  • 6th grade US History
  • 7th grade US History
  • World History 1
  • World History 2
  • US History

Students can also download these maps. once downloaded, you won't need the Internet. You can also print them out or use them on your Smart Board.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2014 - 2015: Teachers- 4 and Me- 5

Last Week: Nobody guessed last week: Which icon is this: 555, 897, 1848, 1888, 2011 and what does each number represent?

Answer is: The Washington Monument.

This week: What was my 3rd question? #sschat


For the Christmas season, from Dec 26 to March 27, I'd like to invite everyone for a BIGGEST LOSER challenge. It will be a $10 event, winner and second place get the prize money. You'll start off with your starting weight, and then each week you'll weigh in and let me know. I'll also post weekly updates showing everyone's progress (you'll be a number only you know). If you're interested, fill out this form. We'll start when the Christmas Break begins.


Tyrannophobia: Uses & Abuses of Executive Power by BackStory