The Digital Broadside

Making America Great Again :/

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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.

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.

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National History Day

This weekend, 5 Moody MS students (coached by Kathren Hershberger) will be participating in the National History Day Regional Competition at VSU. These students have been working and researching for months on the theme of Exploration, Encounter, Exchange.

Their topics include: Jamestown, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and Vikings. The students have created a web page and two "posters," one is the Viking ship.

At the competition, they will share what they have learned with judges who will score each researched item. Winners will move onto a state tournament and then Nationals.

Good luck Moody!

Teaching with Joy

Recently, I did a short PD for Brookland and Wilder Social Studies teachers about Teaching With Joy, and then saw this article, so I thought I'd share it...

From the Atlantic:

"Why not instead think of learning as if it were food—something so valuable to humans that they have evolved to experience it as a pleasure? The more a person likes fresh, healthy food, the more likely that individual is to have a good diet. Why can’t it be the same with learning? Let children learn because they love to—think only of a 2-year-old trying to talk to see how natural humans’ thirst for knowledge is. Then, in school, help children build on their natural joy in learning."

Student Winners

A while ago I posted some essay contests in the newsletter and we ended up having 3 winners from Moody Middle School.

The Chancellor George Wythe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored an essay contest focusing on the Stamp Act and its effect on families during that time. This was Moody’s first year participating and we are honored to announce that Sarah Morse won second place and Angel Lu and Purvi Seghal were tied for first!

Each wrote an essay that impressed the judges and they were all honored at their respective grade level Great Raider Assemblies this past month. Congratulations girls!

Congratulations to sixth grader, Clair Dickinson, whose essay for the 2016 Library of Virginia Essay Contest was chosen as one of four winners in the state. She will be attending an event at the Library of Virginia with her family where she will be honored with the other winners. Congratulations Clair! Thanks to History teacher Kathryn Hershberger for encouraging Moody students to participate!


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

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.

American Civil War Museum

The ACWM has a teacher institute this summer from June 27 to July 1.

What opportunities and challenges awaited newly freed African Americans in the days following the Civil War? Where did poor and infirm veterans find a place of shelter and a sense of community? How did the U.S. Army impact the course of Reconstruction? Are the issues with which we are dealing today a direct result of decisions made during this era? These questions and many more will be explored during the 2016 Teachers Institute as we look at not only the political intricacies of this critical period but also the human side of the story.

Through lectures, tours, and discussions, participants will acquire information that will enable them to go beyond the textbook. Teachers will receive a notebook of specially designed curriculum resources, utilizing copies of primary source documents that will make a hands-on approach to history possible. Additionally, the Institute’s collaborative environment will encourage teachers to learn from each other as they discuss what works for them in their classrooms. Finally, attendees will receive a certificate of completion for 32 hours, which can be used toward recertification points in most school systems.

Click here for more information.

Registration ends April 15.

Roots of Liberty Student Essay Contest

Roots of Liberty is an organization that tries to make the Federalist Papers understandable to students. They also have a student essay contest with the question, "To what extent, if any, is the federal government restricted by the powers enumerated under Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States in the regulation of ONE of the following: voting rights, marijuana, or the environment?"

Sounds perfect for We The People students.

Deadline is April 15, 2016

Click here for more info.

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.

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.

Oldest footage of New York City ever

Trigger warning:

Not all of it is what it's sold as, but still neat footage.

Getting Away from Lecture

There are many reasons to cut back on lecturing (re: not eliminate) in the classroom: 1) varying what you do; 2) it's hard for students to learn via lecture; 3) keeping students active; and there's more.

There are also other methods to incorporate, obviously, to limit lecture. But with SOLs and AP tests, for example, it is important for students to stick to specific content. For example, if you give your students a list of names to research (e.g., their accomplishments), you've cut back on lecturing, and the students will find good answers, but will they find the answers they will need for the SOL test?

The best thing you can offer a student is an opportunity to read and write. They can read a textbook, magazine article, online article . . . I'm sure you get the idea, but if it's something you picked for them to read, then you know it's valuable reading for your class.

Writing can go along with what they've read. Here is a article I found that includes 5 writing strategies your students can use in a paperless environment, e.g. Google Docs.

The first activity is called, "List, Group, and Label."

"As students read a selection, have them list details based on a guiding or essential question. This list can be typed in a column on a table or in a text box like in the example shown below. Whichever way you set up the digital work, the ability to later group the list items and label the groupings is key."

This is good because it has them focused on an essential question, which, if you're building in specific vocabulary, helps the students learn important words for your unit.

There are more ideas here.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2015 - 2016: Teachers- 11 and Me- 9

Last week:

Todd Rigler won last week:

  • What nation's favorite NFL team would be the Bengals? (India)
  • What do Mickey Mouse, Betty Boop, and Shel Silverstein have in common? (1930)
  • Where are the Crawley's from? (England)
  • Where Jared is right now... (Jail)
  • Though this board game was originally set in London. (Monopoly)

    The overall answer was the Salt March

  • This week: "Connections." For this, you need to answer each of the following questions, and then figure out what they ultimately have in common. The answers aren't what is in common.... you have to take one more step.

    • It's how information can be transferred between smart phones, and wireless;
    • They could be considered a hieroglyphs from the Dark Ages;
    • It sounds like you're shouting, but really you're just getting along with folks;
    • Author of a new HULU mini-series;
    • "Don't cross the streams." "It would be bad."

    What do they all have in common?


    Well-Regulated Militias: A History Of Armed Protest by BackStory