August 2019

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Welcome back to another start of a school year. We had a busy Spring keeping up with the legislative session. The biggest change that came out of the session was an influx of funding for public schools that included raises for teachers. The other change was the addition of 10 questions from the U.S. Naturalization Civics Test to the 11th grade STAAR EOC. TEA is still working on what those will look like and how it will impact the current blueprint of the EOC and as soon as we have some more information we will get that out to our members.

As we are putting the final touches on our classrooms and students are anxiously awaiting meeting their teachers and fellow students for the first day of the 2019-20 school year TXCSS is in the midst of preparing for a unique event in November. For the first time the National Council for the Social Studies, Texas Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for Geographic Education are co-locating their conferences in one place and time for a mega-conference.

We hope you are planning to join us November 22-24 in Austin for a unique event that will bring together Social Studies educators from around the state, the nation, and the globe. There are a few things I would like to highlight about the conference:

  1. To receive the special Texas discounted rate you MUST register through the TCSS website. www.txcss.net/tcssconference

  2. There will be a special Bonus Day on Thursday, November 21. This day is included in the conference fees and will offer a full slate of breakout sessions. Come join us one day early and get a jump on your learning.

  3. Make sure you plan to join us for the Texas Breakfast on Saturday morning and stick around for the TCSS committee meetings. Later that day we will have our board meeting and general meeting. Details will be in the program.

  4. Consider joining us for the NCSS/TCSS/NCGE Awards Dinner at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum on Friday evening. We will have dinner, awards and then entry into the museum.

  5. Finally, make sure you stop by the exhibit hall and visit with the hundreds of vendors who will be there.

If you plan to join us in Austin for this once in a lifetime event I challenge you to find someone from a different state or country and make a connection with them. Also, enjoy the Austin music scene, some of the fantastic restaurants the city has to offer, and be prepared to take back some great learning to your classroom and school.

Have a great start to the year and I look forward to seeing you in Austin in November as TXCSS co-hosts thousands of Social Studies educators and shows off the Great State of Texas! www.txcss.net/tcssconference

Registration Today!

First Days of School

“Every child you pass in the hall has a story that needs to be heard. Maybe you are the one meant to hear it”. – Bethany Hill

It is easy in the hustle and bustle around the start of school to zoom into expectations and academic work but getting to know your students and building relationships also impacts their learning. According to Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Dr. Lia Sandilos, from the University of Virginia, “students who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflict in their relationships. . . The student is likely to trust her teacher more, show more engagement in learning, behave better in class and achieve at higher levels academically. Positive teacher-student relationships draw students into the process of learning and promote their desire to learn (assuming that the content material of the class is engaging, age-appropriate and well matched to the student's skills).”

Amid all the schedule changes, jammed lockers, and learning new copy codes, the first days of school offer time to build relationships with your students. Taking the opportunity for students to apply a skill while sharing about their challenges, strengths, and interests provides a way for students to share their story.

This could look like –

  • A Map of Me -- using an object that represents their interest as the base, students demonstrate an understanding of map properties and land/water features while sharing key experiences and turning points in their lives

  • My Culture Visual – a product; such as an infographic, interactive digital presentation (sway/smore), or poster illustrating the factors which shaped the student’s culture and their understanding of culture traits and institutions.

  • A Lifeline – illustrated timeline of their own lives that includes cause/effects of turning points in their lives, and/or making connections with significant historic events.

Check out these sources for more first days of school ideas –

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We want to share with our community a look inside the creative classroom spaces across the state. From recommended resources, unique themes, clever setups, and eye-catching displays – send photos of your classroom to laestrella@txcss.net.

Make certain to include the following in your email:

  • first and last name,
  • location: city (include school name, if you like),
  • social media handles: Twitter and/or Instagram, and
  • 2-3 landscape or portrait photographs of the empty classroom (no students), please no panoramic photos.

Photo tips: Lighting is a key factor in capturing all of the creative goodness found in your classroom. Control and manipulate the lights to get the best results.


Visit txcss.net/laestrella to view photos of previously featured classrooms to jump-start your set-up for the school year!

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TXCSS Election

The Texas Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce the Candidate Preview for the 2019 election. Voting is the most important way for members to have a voice in the leadership of the Texas Council for the Social Studies (TXCSS).

We are excited to announce ONLINE VOTING for this year's election. The election process is conducted online and will open September 1 and conclude on September 30. When voting online, make certain to login using the email address associated with your TXCSS membership profile. If you do not recall your password, please use the forgot password function.

The candidates are listed by the office for which they are running. Voters may select one candidate for each open position. To review the complete bios for each candidate, please visit txcss.net/election.

Being in the Know

So social studies TEKS have been streamlined, now what? Elementary grades K-5 have a full year to before streamlined TEKS will be required in their courses, due in part to the implementation of new Reading and Writing TEKS, but secondary social studies streamlined TEKS go into effect this school year. While many curriculum coordinators and specialists spent this summer updating documents to reflect the revised TEKS, classroom teachers maybe just getting to know the new student expectations.

Here are a few resources which could support the implementation of the streamlined standards.

From TEA

19 TAC Chapter 113. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies

Resources for the Streamlined Social Studies TEKS

STAAR Social Studies Resources – Changes to the TEKS also means changes to assessable curriculum and STAAR/EOC blueprints for Gd8 and HS U.S. History. This TEA page includes revised assessment documents for social studies. https://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar/socstudies/

Lead4ward Resources

  • Revised TEKS Snapshots, vertical content connections, and academic vocabulary https://lead4ward.com/resources/ under the content builder resource tab
  • TEKS side by sides – comparing 2011 TEKS with streamlined 2018 TEKS along with instructional impacts https://lead4ward.com/resources/ under Instructional tools tab (Recommend checking out the Instructional Playlist at the top of this same page for engaging strategies)

  • SS Process/Concept Alignment – connects process standards and specific concept TEKS across grade levels
  • Teacher Learning Reports – clusters TEKS by significant topics/events
  • Student Learning Reports – Reframes the Teacher Learning Reports into progress tracking document for students. Identifies TEKS as “I can” student learning outcomes with specific content broken down.

Also, check with your local ESC for more streamlined resources and professional learning opportunities.

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The following constitutional amendments were approved by the TCSS Executive Board at the 2019 TXCSS Executive Board Spring Meeting on February 16, 2019 and are being published in La Estrella and The Texan as specified by the TXCSS Constitution. They will be voted upon by TXCSS members at the TCSS General Business Meeting on Saturday November 23, 2019.

  • Amendment Proposal 1 - Elected Officers NCSS
  • Amendment Proposal 2 - Appointed Officers NCSS
  • Amendment Proposal 3 - Board Representatives
  • Amendment Proposal 4 - Advocacy Liaison
  • Amendment Proposal 5 - Advocacy Liaison
  • Amendment Proposal 6 - Board Representatives
  • Amendment Proposal 7 - Professional Learning Committee
  • Amendment Proposal 9 - Advocacy Liaison

  • Review the amendments.

    La Estrella de Tejas

    La Estrella de Tejas (The Star of Texas) is the official e-newsletter of the Texas Council for the Social Studies. To ensure La Estrella is delivered to your mailbox, add laestrella@txcss.net to your contact list.

    La Estrella is published four times a year to provide our community with timely information and opportunities related to social studies education in Texas. The contents of La Estrella are not copyrighted unless indicated. It is appropriate, however, to credit sources as well as La Estrella when reproducing items from this e-newsletter. Reproduction for profit is prohibited.