The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

Downton Abbey and Social Media Literacy

I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan and I'm super excited that Season 5 has begun. Admittedly, Season 4 was a bit slower than the usual plot line, but this season has already been interesting with how everyday life has been portrayed on the TV show.

SPOILER: This week, Lord Grantham entered the 20th century by buying a "wireless" for the manor - a radio. The purpose was to hear the King address the nation. It was the first time EVERYONE in England had a chance to hear the King's voice. It was a new era. In 1924, the King spoke in Wembley Stadium and speakers were set up all over England so everyone can hear him. It was a first for England, and this new technology, radio, would prove that it wasn't just a fad. In the show, folks were divided on whether it was good for the King to give a speech over the radio. Was it destroying the image of the King, or making him more relevant?

Years ago, folks wondered if social media would last. Twitter? Facebook? Now, history is being defined by social media. US Presidents are on Facebook and go on The John Stewart Show, the Iranian President tweets, the TSA is on Instagram, and terrorists recruit. I even had the app on my iPhone that told Israelis when they were being bombed the last time they were under attack.

Social Studies teachers have a lot to teach, content and skills. One of those skills is teach students how to understand social media and how its used by the current history makers.

Article: Downton Abbey

A New Year

I'm sure many of us have resolutions for the New Year, but along with making new goals, the new year is a good time for reflection. In last night's #sschat on Twitter, @ReadingThruHistory (@bigmarshdawg77) asked six questions that are good questions to ask for reflection:

  1. How does Social Studies differ from other educational fields?
  2. What is the most important role of a Social Studies teacher?
  3. What are the essential skills to pass onto students?
  4. How do you create a remarkable experience for your students?
  5. What topics (events/themes) do you have difficulty teaching?
  6. What is your most effective teaching style and why?

Good questions to think about as we begin this year and move into the second semester. See how your answers can influence how you teach.

Flipping the Flipped Classroom

Have you tried flipping the classroom and it didn't go how you wanted? Or were interested in flipping, but didn't want to risk it? Or have no idea what I'm talking about?

Flipping a class, done correctly, can have huge rewards. But, it does take time to develop good habits from the students. The most difficult part of flipping is trusting that your students do the work at home. Which is always a problem. The video below and this article explains how you can actually flip the classroom, in the classroom.

It's based on stations and might not take that much more time since the activities that students are doing, you've planned for anyway, they are just rotating in stations instead of doing them all at the same time.

So read the article and watch the video below if this interests you.

The In-Class Flip

Using Social Media as a Learning Tool in the Classroom

Just stumbled across this article:

Social media is an ingrained part of today’s society. Our students are constantly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and likely many sites we’re not hip enough to know about, and by reading this blog, you’re interacting with social media at this very moment. If you want to bring the “real world” into the classroom, consider integrating social media into your lessons.

Full article here.

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.

Teacher|Student Opportunities

Students Can Make a Global Impact

Do you have a club or maybe teach being a global citizen in your classroom? There's a great website you can use for either situation. It's called Students Rebuild. As they say,

"We inspire young people worldwide to connect, learn and take collective action on critical global issues." There are a number of ways your students can impact the world. The site has challenges, "water challenges, literacy challenges, bookmark challenges,

Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation, born in January 2010 in response to the devastating Haiti earthquake. Since then, we’ve mobilized thousands of young people in 65 countries and all 50 United States and raised more than $2 million in matching funds for rebuilding schools in Haiti, youth facilities in Japan and livelihoods in Africa. Click here for a downloadable fact sheet about Students Rebuild, and learn more about each Challenge below.

Students Rebuild


To go along with the Selma movie out in the theaters, the Liberty Museum has an Essay Contest for students, $5,000 prize! The topic is:

“The movie Selma tells the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr. and others peacefully protested to advance voting rights. What do you think needs to be done today to protect individual freedom and self-determination? What are you doing or will you do to peacefully advance those rights?”

Sadly, I just heard about this contest. Essays are due Jan 30, 2015.

Selma Essay Contest

Auschwitz Exhibit at the VA Holocaust Museum

Join the Virginia Holocaust Museum on January 25th for a lecture and special preview of our upcoming Auschwitz exhibit. The event will begin at 2:00pm at VHM with an introduction by Dr. Charles Sydnor, which examines the history of Auschwitz and the legal cases against camp guards. Following the lecture by Dr. Sydnor, Tim Hensley will give audiences a sneak peek of the upcoming exhibit on Auschwitz, which is expected to open in April 2015. This event is free and open to the public.

Gilder Lehrman Teaching Seminars

Gilder Lehrman has posted their summer institutes this year, and there are a few new ones, even one on THEODORE ROOSEVELT (I'm applying). These are amazing summer opportunities that allow you to travel and learn. They even help with a $400 stipend. The one catch is, you're school has to be an AFFILIATE SCHOOL, but I think most of you already are one.

Here is the link.

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.

Selma Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr. Movie HD

Free AP Questions

Here you go: Free questions for ALL AP classes, not just APUSH: Click here.

You get plenty of free questions, but if you register, you can get more for your content area for pretty cheap.

They are even marked as Easy, Medium, or Hard.

Crazy.... free!

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.

Digital Storytelling

As we try to incorporate more projects in classes, the perfect project for social studies is Digital Storytelling. I've talked about this before, but let me summarize again the benefits of DS and how you can do it in your class.

The main benefit is that it's highly flexible. You can have students create short, 30 second stories, or highly detailed 3 minute stories. Students can retell a historical story, or make it more biographical (the better way). It's also very hands on, uses images, music, and their own narration. The story can be yours to assign, or ideally, theirs to create. Furthermore, with laptops, it's easy.

Students can use Movie Maker on their laptops or websites like Animoto. With Vimeo, students can upload their Stories rather then trying to turn them in with a flashdrive, email, or other clunky way.

This project uses literacy skills, puts context to history, can involve research, and is very creative. It can be narrated (the best way) or written using timelines. There are even apps for smartphones that can be used.

There pretty much isn't anyway that you can't use Digital Stories in your classroom.

Here are some examples: Example 1, Example 2, and Example 3.

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- 5 and Me- 7

Last Week: Which archipelago were the Greeks most interested in conquering?

No winners. The answer was the Aegean Sea. In Greek, Archipelago means a sea studded with many small islands.

This week: Which nation was actually made up of 7 different, inland, regions?


Don't Take your Job Too Seriously

"If or when you've had a bad day, you had to deliver bad news to a child, you gave out report cards with bad scores, you can't seem to get it right when it comes to instruction, just remember that you're not alone. There are millions of teachers around the world who have, believe it or not, the exact same struggles that you have! They struggle with delivering effective instruction, managing classroom behavior, dealing with a micro-managing principal, etc., etc.

"While thinking about this might only help in the short run, remember that our lives really only move forward - luckily. Tomorrow is a completely new day, and sooner that you realize it, all of today's worries will become concerns of the past."

This is Tip #5 in an article called, "Staying Healthy and Managing Stress While Teaching," and you can read tips 1 - 4 here.


Black Gold: An American History of Oil [rebroadcast] by BackStory