The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

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.

Instructional Planner: Big Idea/Theme

In the last Quarterly meeting with principals, the Big Idea and Theme was discussed from Stage 1. I addressed this in the Oct. 13 Staff Development Day and I want to reiterate what I said that day. The Big Idea should contain 3 parts:

  • Condition: What are the students given, or topic of the plan?
  • Behavior: What the students will be doing in the class?
  • Criteria: What will a result be measured by?

To make this easier, I showed how Column 1 and 4 of the Framework will help you with this. The Example I gave was with World Geography, SOL 11.C:

Column 1, Essential Understanding: Urban populations exercise a powerful

influence in shaping the world’s cultural, political, and economic ideas and systems, and; Urban development may lead to problems related to human mobility, social structure, and the environment.

Column 4 had the following skills:

  • Gather, classify, and interpret information.
  • Draw conclusions and make inferences about data.
  • Explain cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Identify and interpret regional patterns on maps.
  • Locate places on maps and globes.

Thus, the Big Idea would be:

Given multiple activities involving urban growth and development (the Condition comes from Column 1); students will work independently and collaboratively to gather and interpret migration patters, explain the cause and effect of human made pollution, and locate major urban areas on the globe (this is the behavior from Column 4); by analyzing modern day topographic maps (this is the Criteria and should show up in Stage 2 and 3).

In the Big Idea, you'll see how I used the two columns and made it specific to the 11c content (e.g., migration patters, pollution, urban areas). Also, for the Condition, I saw "multiple activities" since the Planner will last a week or two. For the Behavior, I added independently and collaboratively because you're creating an Instructional Planner that will last 1 or 2 weeks. Students will be doing MANY things during that time. This simple sentence helps reflect most things students will do in your class. The topographic map would reflect your idea as the Criteria.

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.

Parallel Teaching

In parallel teaching, the teacher and student teacher plan jointly but split the classroom in half to teach the same information at the same time. For example, both teachers could be explaining the same math problem-solving lesson in two different parts of the room. If the room had two computers, each teacher could use a computer to model the use of the Internet or a new piece of software to half of the class. Each half of the class could be involved in a literature study group during a novel study.

Some advantages of this approach are:

• Pre-planning provides better teaching.

• It allows teachers to work with smaller groups.

• Each teacher has the comfort level of working separately to teach the same lesson.

• Splitting the class allows students to be separated who need to be.

Some disadvantages of this approach are:

• Both teachers need to be competent in the content so the students will learn


• The pace of the lesson must be the same so they finish at the same time.

• There must be enough flexible space in the classroom to accommodate two


• The noise level must be controlled.


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 (before you leave town) 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.

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.


As usual, Glenn Wiebe has some excellent resources about Ferguson and things to use in the classroom.

"Then head over to a list of Do’s and Don’ts for Teaching About Ferguson. The tagline? “Process it yourself first, ask students what they want to know and by all means, don’t make the lesson color blind.”

Read the whole post.


I love being able to quiz or survey an entire group of students or teachers. I'm still amazed that when I do this, it's often a first time for the group. One of my favorite tools in the past was Poll Everywhere. Folks can use smart phones and it's easy to set up.

However, I just learned about Kahoot, another and easier way to poll an entire classroom. It's free and easy to set up. Many teachers are already using it. What's fun is it's designed to be a competition where you can see how students are doing while they answer questions.

Here's why it's a great formative tool:

  • Every student is participating
  • You get data to see which kids didn't know material
  • Kids can use laptops or smart phones
  • Easy log in

How to use it:

One way to use this is if you know you'll be teaching specific content over a two days or more. End the day with a Kahoot quiz and that night, see which students knew material and who didn't. The next day, divide students into groups to facilitate differentiated learning.


ConSource is a free online library of constitutional history. We digitize and cross-reference source documents written by individuals who drafted, ratified, and influenced the creation of the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments. We also run programs and host events that make use of constitutional sources.


Digital Exit Tickets

Here's a great article on 5 Ways to Collect Digital Exit Tickets.

This was one of the themes of the October Staff Development Day: Using 21st Century tools for Formative Assessment so you can informally assess EVERY student.

A simple Formative Assessment tool I saw in an Orlando school recently can be done with a simple Google Form, like this one.

Using this form, you can quickly gauge where your students are in the learning. Use it consistently enough, and it will become a more successful tool for you.

Student Created Timelines

Having students create a timeline is a great way for students to create something historical, use the content, but add their own flair to the project. Here is a new tool students can use, called TIMELINE JS. With this site, students can use a template from Google to create an interactive timeline for class.

Students just need a Google account, which they all have, and content.

Below is a quick tutorial on how to do this. If you have your kids use this tool, let me know!

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- 4

Last Week: Brennan Maynard was correct with guessing the World Islands in Dubai.

This week: Which icon is this: 555, 897, 1848, 1888, 2011 and what does each number represent?

Big image

History in the News

Below are current event stories, or the issue it raises, that most likely will end up in a textbook one day. My narrative will link to stories and give you an idea on how to approach the subject in class. If you have a current event that I've missed, let me know.

  • "Ferguson," what has now become a one word title for the tension in a small, Missouri city may or may not go through more troubled riots. This can be tough to teach in class because of the misinformation that has resulted from the case. For example, does evidence show that Michael Brown raised his hands and said, "Don't Shoot," or has that become an urban myth? This is when discussing facts versus opinions or misconceptions is important for students. Think of what the Grand Jury may be going through. Here is a NY Times article about the events of the day.
  • Here's a site for teaching controversial topics.


For the Christmas season, and for 12 weeks, 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.


Health Nuts: A History of Nutritional Advice by BackStory