The Digital Broadside

Making America Great Again :/

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Elko Connects

About a month ago, I sat with Jason Vest and Tim Kiser from Elko Middle School to discuss Problem Based Learning with their students. So just like the UCONN Women's basketball team, they crushed it. On March 22, they had an after school program with their Civics and World History students.

As Tim said, "The format presents students with a driving question that they must investigate, research, and propose solutions to, in small collaborative teams. Additionally, the program involves a heavy volume of cross-curricular material and skills, based on collaborative planning with teachers in other departments. Perhaps most exciting about our project is the direct involvement of the community it entails. We have individuals who are experts in our subject matter both visiting to steer research and inquiry in class, and attend our culminating showcase event. The Civics classes are studying public policy making, and their proposals will be presented at the showcase event with Delegate Bagby and Rev. Nelson from the Board of Supervisors judging their presentations. The World History classes are producing works of art that are both influenced by different periods in history, and illustrate the cultural patterns of our multi-ethnic society."

Pictures are scattered throughout the newsletter.

Great job Tim and Jason!

Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation? Or ...

... is it just history?
SFSU 2016 - Campus employee assaults white student for "cultural appropriation"
Colleges never cease to provide Internet fodder. The exchange above has gone viral and raised the question of dreadlocks on white people, and whether it's Cultural Appropriation. But when you read the article, you read a lot of historical content... about hair.

Students need to understand that history is much more than just a curriculum framework, a means to a test, multiple choice, or something that doesn't mean anything to them.

Sharing this article allows the students to see how diverse the field of history is, e.g., "Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles," how history can make people feel at a university in San Francisco in 2016, and how it can affect race. Students can also examine the viral video and ask questions such as, "what happened before and after?" "Does the video really reflect what really happened?" "How does this impact the people in the video?" It can lead to a discussion on what is Cultural Appropriation?

At the very least, you're bound to have an interesting classroom discussion.

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Voter Registration for Seniors

A new law takes affect this year, in a few weeks, that can affect our Seniors. From the Governor:

April 24-30, 2016 as Virginia High School [Voter] Registration Week. The purpose of the week will be to encourage high school students and teachers across the Commonwealth to conduct voter registration drives at their schools.

Virginians can apply to register online at the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal, located at Registration is also available at the Department of Motor Vehicles, at local voter registration offices and at voter registration drive.

I'd love for this to be an annual thing we do at our schools. I'm going to set a goal of 50 students newly registered at each school. The teacher with the most registered students will get a cool gift card! Use this form to record your numbers.

Schoology News

Welcome to Schoology! Now that all teachers have access, we can start transitioning from Google and School Space. Here is my goal:

  • Everything will be in Schoology, only. I'm not moving anything from School Space anymore as it's old, bad, or won't fit the 2015 Curriculum Framework. I'm moving anything from Google into Schoology. I will no longer use Google docs to share resources, just Schoology.
  • I have a group in Schoology for all Social Studies teachers. Soon, I will shut down the Google Group. To gain access to the group, go to Groups>Click Join>Paste in the following for the code to get in: 89QMX-SRCK4.

For those who are new to Schoology, there are many ways I can share resources with you all. Each has pluses and minuses. Other Specialist may do things differently, but for us, I am using COLLECTIONS which is a tool in the Resources section of Schoology. My number 1 goal is for you to have access to a folder that updates on your end whenever I upload items into a folder.

If I just used the Resources folders in the Group, or had you link to my Personal folder, as soon as you have access to my folder, you won't get new things I upload unless if you deleted the folder and then re-linked. That's a pain.

So, I will personally add each and every one of you to a collection. But once that is done, whenever I update, you'll be updated without even knowing it. That will be the easiest way.

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VCU Clinical Faculty

Are you interested in building up a new generation of Social Studies teachers?

The VCU Clinical Faculty Program is an initiative created and supported by the Metropolitan Educational Training Alliance (META), a partnership among Chesterfield County Public Schools, Hanover County Public Schools, Henrico County Public Schools, Richmond City Schools and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), to prepare exemplary teachers to serve as mentors to VCU preservice (intern/student) teachers.

Clinical Faculty training provides teachers with coaching skills and formative assessment tools to enhance the preservice teacher experience. The Clinical Faculty training will occur throughout the spring semester of 2017; therefore applicants must be eligible and available to be assigned a preservice teacher during spring of 2017.

Teachers eligible to become Clinical Faculty must have the following:

  • Valid Virginia Collegiate Professional Certificate
  • Virginia Teaching Endorsement for the subject(s)/grade(s) currently teaching
  • Successful classroom teaching experience for a minimum of three years
  • Recognition as an accomplished teacher with positive human relations skills
  • Full-time teaching assignment

Teachers who are accepted into the training and successfully complete all requirements will become part of VCU’s Clinical Faculty and be eligible for additional teacher leadership opportunities in their school divisions.

The training requirements include:

Full participation in all 5 training modules. The first session is a full day from 8:30- 4:00 on Saturday, January 7, 2017. There are 4 follow-up training modules that take place from 4:30-7:00 on the following dates:

  • Module 2: Thursday, January 19, 2017
  • Module 3: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
  • Module 4: Thursday, February 16, 2017
  • Module 5: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Further requirements include:

  • Participation in the Clinical Faculty online community;
  • Successful performance as a cooperating teacher for an assigned VCU preservice teacher or if not assigned a VCU preservice teacher during the training, novice or veteran teacher in your school;
  • Consistent demonstration of best practices in your content area;
  • Compilation of a portfolio showcasing your use of the VCU coaching tools;
  • Successful completion of an assessment process that includes a video recording of a reflective conference and written responses to reflective questions.

Applications are due June 1, 2016.

If you're interested, please email me, and I'll send you the follow up information.

Reminders for Everyone

Just a reminder to for folks:

  • Student Growth Measures should wrap up by the end of MP3 (April 15). Please be sure you've updated your spreadsheets.
  • AP Teachers, as you create summer assignments, please remember the HCPS Guidelines for your assignments. If you are doing anything new, please let me review them to make sure they fit within the guidelines. If you have questions, ask me or your department chair.
  • On this year's SOL test, students will see the Technology Enhanced Items (TEI's) for the first time. Please make sure they are ready for that by practicing in IA. They don't count, it's just field tested questions, but you don't want them surprised on the test.
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National History Day

On March 19, 6 Moody students participated in National History Day. A showcase of history from kids across our region in VA. Projects included research on Vikings, the Berlin Wall, and Jamestown. All 6th graders!

The Jamestown product took 2nd place for web site design and the Vikings took first place for Exhibit. There was a picture in my last newsletter. These two projects will move onto the State Tournament on April 23.

Wish them luck!


UPDATE: The bill below has been vetoed!

The General Assembly passed a law recently (HB516) that forces teachers to warn parents about "sexually explicit" material in the course they teach. This came from the teaching of the book, Beloved. Many feel it's only natural to warn parents and allow for an opt out, others feel this is a slipper slope for censorship.

Here is a Times Dispatch article you can read. If you're fine with you may not need to do anything. If you want the Governor to veto it, here is a petition. I haven't found a petition asking the Governor to sign it into law.

Teacher|Student Opportunities

AP Workshops in Fairfax

There are still a number of sessions that have availability at the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) AP Summer Institute (APSI) which will take place June 27-30, 2016 at Woodson HS.

All the consultants are highly regarded with excellent participant feedback from past Institutes.

APSI registration can be completed here:

Primarily Virginia Online Teachers Institute: Va Historical Society

Primarily Virginia is an online course designed for teachers to explore Virginia’s past by examining objects and primary sources. These pieces of the past will be used as a lens to examine different historical eras in Virginia history. All course work is to be completed through the course website, and there are no required in-person class meetings. Each summer we will use this format to take a deeper look at a particular topic in Virginia history.

Click here for info.

Virginia Historical Society

The Virginia Historical Society announces its Weinstein Properties Story of Virginia Teachers Institutes for 2016. This week-long institute will be held June 27–July 1 and repeated July 25–29 and is open to all Virginia public and private school teachers. The institutes will provide teachers with an overview of the rich history of Virginia from the earliest habitation to the present. In addition, participating teachers will explore the vast collections of the VHS and learn how to teach their students to analyze primary sources and use historical thinking skills. The classes are aligned with the revised curriculum framework for Virginia Studies.

The cost is $75, which covers lunches and materials.

For more information, go here.

We The People

Secondary (middle and high) teachers looking for a new way to teach the foundations of our government, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights need look no further!

Thanks to funding from the Center for Civic Education (via the U.S. Department of Education), a consortium between James Madison’s Montpelier, Rice Attorneys, and the Maryland Council for Civic and History Education offers this opportunity for in-depth professional development.

During multiple PD events spanning the 2016-2017 Academic Year, participant teachers will dive deep into the acclaimed We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution text. With the guidance of experienced scholars and master teachers, participants will leave understanding the We the People curriculum and ready to implement it.

During and after your professional development, we will be there to support you. Join us!


  • Summer Institute at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, VA – June 20-24, 2016
  • Hearing Observation (State Dependent) – November, 2016 -January, 2017
  • Middle States Workshop – February, 2017

This is a great way to make Civics/Government come alive for students. If you want more information, please email me.

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.

Reading and Current Events

Looking for a site that you can use for Current Events, try Newsela. It's a site you can trust with tons of options for students. They even have Text Sets, which are multiple articles linked together under one theme, like the 2016 Campaign.

Check it out, it's something you can see now and use today.

Advise the President Series

For Government or US History teachers: I've uploaded pre-made lessons you can use in class with little prep. It's 5 Case Studies for Truman, Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton and how each handled a crisis in their Presidency.

Students learn the history and more importantly, the decision making that goes on in the Oval Office. This is a great tool, free, to use in class.

YouTube in the Classroom

Tired of being blocked by YouTube?

It's frustrating when you want students to watch something on YouTube, only to find no one can see it or some can. It can waste time and cause stress.

The nice thing about Chrome is that you can add extensions to the toolbar to make your Internet use better. One is called Vimsound/ You can get it here and students can also download it.

It loads automatically. Once students do this, YouTube videos will be played in a special player. No more YouTube problems.

Using Wikipedia

A great article on using Wikipedia in the classroom and a lesson to go with it:

The activity is one that I developed six years ago to help students and teachers understand that Wikipedia isn't always bad and that textbooks aren't always accurate.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2015 - 2016: Teachers- 11 and Me- 10

Last week:

Last week's Connections question:

  • It's how information can be transferred between smart phones, and wireless (Bluetooth);
  • They could be considered a hieroglyphs from the Dark Ages (Runes);
  • It sounds like you're shouting, but really you're just getting along with folks (Yelling/gelling);
  • Author of a new HULU mini-series (Stephen King/11.22.63);
  • "Don't cross the streams." "It would be bad." (Harold Ramis quote from Ghostbusters)

What do they all have in common?

Danish Folklore/Royalty. I'd have accepted multiple answers.

No winner last week.

This week:

  • Their motto is "always ready"
  • Moses, Annie, Babe Ruth, and Batman have this in common
  • Served as the US Capital for 1 year
  • It makes up 40 theaters
  • Before 1986, Bill Buckner's first bit of fame was from not catching 715 from who?
If Teachers Acted Like Students