The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

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Resources for the Olympics

Luckily, Larry Ferlazzo posted this for me, If you're interested in using the Olympics as a teaching tool. It's a lengthy list and includes a pretty cool infographic.

Instructional Idea: Television coverage often focuses on individual athletes and what they've overcome to get to the Olympics. Students could do this same thing on people or nations. For example, here's a list of nations sending only one athlete.

Here are more fun facts.

We The People

Rob Peck and Schuyler Van Valkenberg, along with their students from Freeman and Glen Allen, will be participating in the State Finals of the We The People competition this Friday in Williamsburg.

In the competition, students research constitutional issues for months in preparation for this event. At the event, a team of 4-6 students will read a prepared statement based on the question they've been assigned. For example:

The Declaration of Independence has been described as “the most revolutionary political statement in American History.” What new ideas about government and its purposes are set forth in the Declaration and why might they be considered “revolutionary”?

After reading their statement, they will then answer questions from judges, usually experts in the field, who ask questions the students haven't been prepped for.

This is a great way for students to go in-depth with the Constitution. If you have an honors Government class, or AP Government class, I'd recommend you use this curriculum in the classroom.

Or I'll ask, if you have an honors Government class, or AP Government class, and aren't doing We The People, why not?

They also have a middle school version for this, which can be tough since students interested in this are probably in World History in 8th grade, but it could be an after-school club.

Let me know if you're interested.

Good luck to Freeman and Glen Allen!

Student Growth Measures

Just a reminder to keep up with your Student Growth Measures. The post-assessments for the multiple choice (SGM 1) should be done at the end of MP3. The MP3 versions are in School Space. They differ slightly, but more importantly, do not include the "I Don't Know" option. But make sure you've recorded the first one (done early in the year) and are doing the Second Growth Measure.

Staff Dev for 2014

Shortly after the Staff Dev Day in October, I started asking for folks who would want to present in 2014. My goal is at least 2 teachers per school. So far, I have 22 teachers and 12 schools represented. That means I need 10 more schools and ideally, and 26 more teachers. You can collaborate with a teacher in your school or fly solo. I want to start planning now, because after summer, October comes up quickly. If you're interested, please click here and sign up. Just click on the right tab at the bottom and find your school.

General Assembly Update

IMPORTANT NEWS: This year is a 60-day session, so final bills are a ways off, still. House Bill 498 has been tabled right now, I"m not sure of its future. Usually, I get a Tuesday night wrap up of the SOL bills, but it didn't come last night.

Econ and Personal Finance Training

If you're still thinking about teaching the 6120 course, these options below give you the tools to best teach the class. You can also get re-certification points and/or college credit.

Best dates: June 23 - August 10 (Econ online)

August 11 - 15 (Personal Finance) at VCU

Teacher Opportunities

Virginia Historical Society In cooperation with the University of Richmond, the Virginia Historical Society presents “The Story of Virginia: An American Experience,” a program for Virginia teachers that will broaden and deepen their knowledge of Virginia history—through classroom work, discussion, writing, and hands-on experience in its outstanding exhibition galleries.

It's $150 and a week long, with two sessions to choose from. Click here for more details.

Student and Teacher awards are given by the Virginia Historical Society. The Bobby Chandler High School Student Award is sponsored by the Kip Kephart Foundation. This award is given to the high school student who enters a paper or classroom project that uses original primary sources and who demonstrates a knowledge and understanding of American history.

Similar to the Bobby Chandler High School Student Award, the Anne R. Worrell Middle School Student Award is given to the middle school student who enters a paper or classroom project that uses original primary sources and demonstrates an understanding of American history.

Last, there is a teacher award as well, but just for US History teachers.

More info here.

NEH Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators

Each year, NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,200-$3,900 help cover expenses for these one- to five-week programs. Click here if interested.

NCSS is accepting proposals to present at the 2014 NCSS Annual Conference Join social studies educators from around the world in Boston, November 21-23, 2014, to explore the civic mission of schools in the 21st Century. The 94th NCSS Conference will showcase powerful practices and initiatives aimed at preparing all students for college, career, and civic life. The DEADLINE for submitting proposals is February 18, 2014.

Check out these opportunities for teachers:

Cultural Legacies Workshop

Become a part of the SOL Review Committee
VCU Economics Institutes January 15 - April 30
Gilder Lehrman Summer 2014 Sessions
The Holocaust and Human Behavior on February 10
SOL Resources per content area

National Teacher of the Year

Instructional Ideas

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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.

Black History Month Resources

Every February, America and Virginia observe Black History Month, celebrating and honoring the many achievements and contributions made by African Americans to the economic, cultural, and political development of America. African Americans are prominent in Virginia and American history. The famous historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a native Virginian and the son of former slaves, brought this fact to the world’s attention by founding the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, publishing several scholarly works and establishing Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month. The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to provide teachers and school divisions with Black History Month resources. These resources support the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning.

The U.S. Department of Education, Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, provides an in-depth collection of African American resources at

African American Mosaic is a Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Topics include colonization, abolition, and migration

African American History Month resources are available from the Library of Congress at

African American history sites from the Library of Virginia focus on topics in Virginia history and are available at

One final site:

Tour Builders

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new tool Google map to make using Google Earth easier. It's called Tour Builders. Daniel Dickey at Deep Run High School did this with his students and produced some great timelines to share on Latin American Revolutions, this one and this one.

By using this tool, students collaborated, researched, and presented information they learned in class. For RIGOR, his students: read for a purpose, grouping, organized information, and 'rote for a purpose. There could have been inquiry, but I'm not sure if that was part of it. The best part: it's easy to learn and free.

Political Quiz

I'm often asked by teachers for a political ideology quiz. This is one of the best I've seen: I Side With. Unlike many others, it asked questions on relevant issues and gives the reader choices and options since many times, answers aren't as black and white as most quizzes make them. Also, it can be quick, 3 questions for example, or you can take the option to answer more questions on a category. Save this link for future use if you're already done with political ideology.

Online Flashcards

Flashcards are staple for studying. I had stacks of them in a shoe box during college. Today, Flashcards can be done online and there are many different online tools to create these. As a teacher, it's probably better to know about the many options available, choose one you like and can suggest to a student, but, allow your students to choose the site they want to use. Some students may have years invested in one site, like Quizlet, and they won't want to use a second site just for your class. Also, warn students about Flashcards they may find online that are already done. Cards made by others may or may not be SOL specific, so while they are studying Progressives, it may focus on things we don't teach, or answers could be wrong. Warn your kids about this. They should make their own.

Here are some options:

Flashcard Exchange boasts two unique features: cram mode and three-sided cards. In cram mode, students engage in a structured practice where trouble cards are repeated and mastered cards (those correctly answered five times) are set aside. Three-sided cards include a term, a definition and a hint. Flashcard Exchange integrates its card decks with other flashcard mobile apps.

StudyBlue has some creative features that stand out. It will send you a text message to remind you to study and you can customize the kinds of tests you take. Its clean, simple and classy design is inviting. But its best features aren’t available for free ($30/year or $5/mo. premium), which turns the penny pincher in me off, especially when so many alternatives exists.

Quizlet offers a nice mix of polish and options. Learning options include a fill-in-the-blank test, a test where terms are read aloud and spelled, and a test with a variety of questions. Learning games include the catch scatter (match scattered terms together) and space race (type the answer before it crashes). Its iPhone app includes a fun tactile twist on the scatter game. I've posted some SOL cards on this site.

Other options:

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia: Teachers- 8 and Mike- 7

Last week's question was: What country is this?

  • A favorite son "bridged" Europe and the world (Vasco Da Game Bridge, longest bridge in Europe)
  • They love Santa Claus (Portugal always has the largest Santa parade every year)
  • Edward III became their ally (the oldest alliance in the world is England and Portugal)

Answer is: Portugal

This week: Which nation has been the most successful in winning medals at the Winter Games. It's NOT: Norway, the US, or USSR/Russia. Think.... what are ways to define "successful?"

White House Petition

As you may know, the White House has an online petition site. All you have to do is submit an idea and get 100,000 signatures. Once it gets to 100,000, the White House will review it.

So, I created one in hopes that the Department of Education might actually do something useful for teachers for once.

My idea: Create online, digital text, readings, and curriculum for K - 12 education.

You can read more about it here, and sign up to sign my petition. Deporting Justin Bieber has over 200,000 signatures! Surely, a serious one can break though.

Emma Civics Update

Her Civics class is now in the process of learning "How a Bill Becomes a Law."
Amazing Olympic Facts


Outed: Sexual Identity in America by BackStory