The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

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The End of SOLs?

Senate Bill 203 states, "Reduces the total number and type of required Standards of Learning assessments to the minimum requirements established by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The bill requires the Board of Education to adopt and implement a transition plan over two years beginning with the 2017-2018 school year."

Here is the link.

This could end the rest of the Social Studies SOLs just like they ended the 6th and 7th grade SOLs. This has a huge impact on Social Studies content and teachers, especially in elementary schools.

Please follow this legislation and do what you believe is necessary when contacting the General Assembly.

They are also proposing Government students to take the Naturalization Test. It's HB 36, and failed last year.

Extreme Prejudice: An Article

I posted a link in Google Plus last week about a webinar and article to read about Muslim students in schools (nationwide, not just HCPS). The webinar is over, but here is the link to the article.

I was made aware of this article by another Social Studies Specialist in the state because of anti-Muslim activities happening in the schools and classrooms, which may make the news.

I'm sure we all saw the news prior to the Christmas break about the calligraphy lesson in Virginia which resulted in an early day off, Counties across the state are often questions by parents about the Islam curriculum, and we even had issues with a 9/11 movie in Hanover which has caused a lot of political turmoil (resulting in my briefly running for Board of Supervisors).

Anyway, I just want everyone to be aware of these growing issues and what I thought was a very interesting article.


By now, everyone knows we are moving from SchoolSpace to Schoology this year. Just so everyone knows, my plan is to fully utilize this tool from Day 1. We have two schools that get to pilot this: Hermitage and Holman. I've already sent them some information, but we can't really start doing things until January.

But in April, all teachers will have access and from then, you'll see how things are being organized.

This is the analogy I'm using with this tool:

I want folks to think of Schoology as a place like Starbucks, where you can go for an hour, join up with folks, talk, and get work done. I don’t want Schoology to be a soda machine. See the difference?

I asked a group of Social Studies teachers from across the country who use Schoology about their thoughts on it as an instructional tool, and I got 63 responses. Of those, 48 said it, "has greatly improved my social studies classroom."

2015 Curriculum Framework

Hopefully we will know by the end of January of the new Framework has been approved. Also, they have practice TEI items for teachers and students online. These practice TEI items will be on the 2008 Curriculum, but field tested.

Teacher|Student Opportunities

World War One @ the Virginia Historical Society

How has our understanding of the war changed in the last century? How do historians view the legacies of the war today? How can teachers make the most of primary sources from

the era, particularly local sources in Virginia?

March 1, 2016


12pm to 4pm

To register online, please visit their page.

Teaching World War One: 100 Years Later is the first program in the Virginia Historical

partnership with the University of Richmond’s Department of History.

NCSS in DC 2016: Volunteer and Get in Cheaper

The Local Arrangements Committee Co-Chairs for the NCSS 2016 Conference in Washington, D.C and are looking for volunteers to help during the conference. In exchange for volunteering, participants receive a discount registration rate for the conference. The discount received directly correlates with the time one volunteers. This can be a good deal, particularly for pre-service teachers.

The NCSS 2016 Conference in DC will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, December 2-4, 2016. We will need help beginning with preparations on Wednesday morning, November 30th and ending with closing on Sunday morning, December 4th.

More details about discounts and specific jobs will come later. If you or anyone else has questions about this, please feel free to email me. Your help is greatly appreciated!

If interested, email Wesley Hedgepeth at

Virginia Holocaust Museum Has TONS of Stuff

Over the break, I got a lot of emails for opportunities at The Virginia Holocaust Museum. Here are some of them:

  • “The American Response to the Holocaust.” This one day workshop will be taught by Facing History and Ourselves’, senior historian Dr. Mary Johnson. This year’s topic will focus on deepening our understanding of the Holocaust as we examine the response of the United States to the events that were unfolding in Europe from 1933 to 1945.
  • Visual Arts Contest. The concept of survival will be the focus of the Virginia Holocaust Museum’s 2016 Visual Arts Contest. Millions of people were affected by the Holocaust. During the Holocaust people lost their civil liberties, were forced from their homes, families and countries, into ghettos, concentration camps and killing centers. Many went into hiding, tried to immigrate to other countries or sent their children away in hopes that they would survive. It is important for students to know about these individuals and their varied personal experiences during the Holocaust in order to understand the importance of individual decision making, the dangers of intolerance and the diverse experiences of those affected by the Holocaust. Submissions are due March 18.
  • The Summer School Program in Grodzka Gate - NN Theatre” Centre, Lublin, Poland is pleased to announce the call for applications for the second edition of the summer student program “Memory – Place – Presence”, coordinated by the ‘Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre’ Centre in cooperation with The University College of Enterprise and Administration in Lublin, Poland. The program will start on June 23, 2016, and will continue through July 3, 2016. The summer school program is created for all those who want to experience and explore the lost Yiddishland and its fascinating history, the forgotten continent of shtetls and cities, the cradle of the Jewish diaspora, a source of inspiration for countless writers and artists, and a mute witness to the Holocaust. The program offers a unique, complex 10-day seminar on the Jewish cultural heritage of the Lublin region – located in the heart of Yiddishland.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Teacher Fellowship program is designed to immerse participants in advanced historical and pedagogical issues relating to the Holocaust. Join the program’s exclusive national corps of skilled teachers who serve as leaders in Holocaust education in their schools, communities, and professional organizations. If you are a secondary school educator or community college professor who has been teaching about the Holocaust for at least five years, please consider applying. For more information about the program, or to access to the online application, please visit this link.

If you have any questions, 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.

Martin Luther King Day Resources

Here's a good site with some resources for Martin Luther King. What's nice about this resources is that the readings are separated by reading level.
History: Bet You Didn't Know - March on Washington


Tellagami (the link I pasted above) is a pretty cool new app that teachers and students can download for free. It would be a fun way for students to present an "oral" report. Students can take their own picture or upload a picture from the Internet. Then, they write a script, create an avatar, and record their voice. See the example above.

Free is limited: it can only be 30 seconds and choices for the avatar are limited. But the full blown app is only $4.99. That might seem like a lot, but poster costs almost $5 also, but you only use that once.

Leveled Readers

In Google Drive Folder, for Leveled Readings, are a number of short stories (biographical and historical) you can use in your classroom. Each book comes at 4 different levels, you can decided who reads what.

They are free and in PDF format. Download them and see how you can use them in class.

Bill of Rights Resources

Within the half-billion pages of records in the care of the Center for Legislative Archives, there are some special treasures from the First Congress that show how the ratification of the Constitution necessitated the creation of the Bill of Rights, and how the creation of the Bill of Rights, in turn, completed the Constitution. The remarkable story of the relationship between two of our Charters of Freedom is told in Congress Creates the Bill of Rights.

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights consists of three elements: an eBook, a mobile app for tablets, and online resources for teachers and students. Each provides a distinct way of exploring how the First Congress proposed amendments to the Constitution in 1789.

Find all the resources here.

Introducing Congress Creates the Bill of Rights


Andy Givens shared this with me and other Government teachers might like this, too:

"Republicans contend that the 2016 election will be about Americans’ desire for change after eight years of a Democratic president. Democrats hope the election will tell a different story of change: a continued march toward a more diverse electorate that is ever more hostile to the GOP’s Electoral College fortunes.

We’ve built an interactive tool to help you draw your own conclusions about whether, as is often said, demographics truly are destiny. You can use it to see how changes in turnout and partisanship within five demographic groups would affect the outcome of the 2016 election. Paying homage to the BBC’s iconic tracker of vote swings in British parliamentary elections, we’re calling it the 2016 Swing-O-Matic. Check it out:"

Load the map here.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2015 - 2016: Teachers- 6 and Me- 6

Last year:

A mystery from history:

  • Originally, it was Amazon
  • It's not about pizza
  • It could have been a Sherlock Holmes case

The answer is the ship, the Mary Celeste. Amazon was the first name of the ship. Sir Arthur Canon Doyle wrote a story about it.

This week:

Below is a picture of a man whose most famous song you all know. He's the one in the middle. Clues:

  • The song was sung with his son, who may or may not be a little red-headed kid
  • You probably first heard this song on Feb 26, 1977, or April 9 1977, or July 15 1978.
  • Because of him, you know that buses need to stop at railroad tracks
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Podcasting and Learning

In the middle of the night, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl grabs a notebook, snacks, water, some cash. Then he quietly slips off a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into the dark, open desert. About 20 minutes later, it occurs to him: he’s in over his head.

Podcasting is transforming to an amazing venue for storytelling. While podcasts range on many topics, many historical, some are fictitious or investigative.

Last year, Serial hit the Internet in a big way investigating the murder of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, who was imprisoned for her murder.

This year, it's about Bowe Bergdahl and started on Dec. 10 with one episode a week to learn more about this case.

Click here for the Podcast.


The Future Then: Visions of America Yet to Come [rebroadcast] by BackStory