The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

Teacher Appreciation Week

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What teachers want

It's amazing how much work teachers do to help their students grow. I see it every day with all of you that I work with, and with those in Hanover that teach my own two children. I can't thank you all enough for what you've done this year. Each year seems tougher than before, so congratulations on the perseverance and all the successes you've had this year.

I found this article that I thought was a good summary of what teachers want...

I walked into my classroom this morning a bit groggy and bleary-eyed from a terrific weekend -- a weekend not spent grading or lesson planning, but instead, spent with my daughter on a surprise early Mother's Day weekend visit. There's nothing easy about teaching first period English in junior high school -- the only thing just a touch harder is teaching LAST period English -- so I typically start the class with a bit of relationship building, often my best bit of comedy for the day.

More of the article here.

Flipping Historical Thinking Skills

There has been a lot written about Flipping the Classroom in the past few years, and a lot of attempts, but I haven't really seen a lot of: "Wow! That worked awesome!"

Despite that, I think it has value. Here's why:

  • Having recorded videos is great for remediation, home bound, sick kids
  • If it's part of what you do, it's a great way to break up the way you teach
  • There are already plenty of resources to use that you don't have to create

But, with SOLs, students not doing the homework, it's been hard to implement. So I came across this idea that would work:

When teaching historical thinking skills, you can record the a lesson on how to do the skill. For example, if you want them to dissect a political cartoon, have a video that explains how to do it. Thesis writing.... have a video.


  • Saves you time
  • The skill transfers to any class. If you have 3 preps, one video works for all 3 preps.
  • Parents can learn how to help students at home.
  • These videos already exist, see below.
How to do a Close Reading - TeachLikeThis

Summer PD

I'm planning on 3 sessions this summer to help plan for next year:

AP Euro

AP Euro is being redesigned this year. Schuyler Van Valkenburg is attending the training and leading a session for HCPS AP Euro teachers who could not attend their own training. This will be on August 10, 9am at Glen Allen High School. It should end at noon, but it depends on the actual training done by the College Board and how much of a change it is.

Sign up here.


With one year of the redesign under out belt, I'd like for APUSH teachers to meet on June 15, 10am at Hermitage High School to discuss the year and how to move forward. This will end at noon.

Sign up here.

World Geography

As World Geo numbers increase in HCPS, it's important that we share the wealth when it comes to our resources. All interested teachers will meet on June 15, 9:30am at Hermitage High School. This should end at noon with maybe some digital sharing being done over the rest of summer.

Sign up here.

Freeman takes third at Nationals in DC

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- and hell must have froze over*....

"What's wrong with kids these days?"

Nothing, according to the judges of the 6 Units for the Douglas Freeman We The People team. For many months now, Rob Peck's students in his AP Government class have been living and breathing the Constitution, case law, the Federalist Papers, and history. All the while, making history themselves.

After winning Regionals and then placing second in the State, it appeared that Team Holmes would put their We The People textbooks away, and prepare for their normal AP Government lives. But some of Rob's students had a different plan. They weren't taking second place lying down. They wrote a letter to the Civic Ed folks explaining why they still deserved a spot in the National Competition. So with persistence, the Freeman team was given a chance to compete at Nationals.

(Enter Rocky Music Theme Song... except Eye of the Tiger... that would just be silly)

Working as teams during school, after school, and on weekends the Freeman students prepared for three questions that even Harvard Law students cry over.

For two days, the Freeman team presented their research and took questions from judges. By the end of the day on Saturday, this Wild Card team had made the Top 10. On Monday, the 6 minute questioning round becomes 11 minutes, with judges who are ready to see who really knows their Constitution.

When New Jersey won 9th place, Freeman became the highest placing Wild Card in WTP history. But then Michigan, Nevada, and California placed next. With Washington state winning 4th place, the Freeman team knew they made the Top 3.

With Freeman winning third, and Maggie Walker getting second, it was the first time any state had 2 teams in the top 3.

The students and Mr. Peck worked very hard for a long time and did themselves and Henrico County proud.

*Oh, and why did "hell" freeze over? Not because of the students of DSF, rather, Rob Peck signing up for Twitter and live tweeting the weekend.... see here.

Teacher|Student Opportunities

Teaching Dharmic Traditions

India is an ancient civilization with widespread social, political, linguistic, cultural, philosophical, artistic, religious, spiritual, and natural diversity. In recent decades, it has taken center stage with its global economic and political roles. Teaching India in classrooms is becoming more interesting and important, but its complexity and diversity pose a challenge to any teacher in a grade school.

Participants will be required to attend the five-day training session, from July 13th – July 17th, 2015, at Bridgewater State University. This will be an immersion program with cultural events in the evenings. Participants will be required to attend the complete session (day and evening cultural events) of the five-day training program. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the four Dharmic Traditions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism) have created training materials and teacher training modules for the recipients of these fellowships.

Click here for more info.

"See Freedom Speak - Teacher Institutes"

This summer will be the tenth year the VIRGINIA WAR MEMORIAL presents the See Freedom Speak Teacher Institutes. For 2015, they have put together an outstanding lineup of interesting topics, locations and well qualified guest speakers – including combat veterans from World War II and the Global War on Terrorism who will relate their first hand experiences. Also included will be university scholar lecturers and historians, book author presentations, and tours of hosting venues. There goal is to give teachers the additional knowledge and resources to make history come alive in their classrooms. They encourage teachers from to attend and register early as space is limited.

Click here for more info.

Virginia Historical Society

The VHS currently offers three teachers institutes. "The Story of Virginia, an American Experience" is a week-long program that is offered twice each summer. The dates and subject of the E. Claiborne Robins, Jr., Teachers Institute and Primarily Virginia, the VHS on-line institute, vary from year to year. All institutes are open to private and public school teachers of any grade level.

For more information, click here

2015 Stratford Hall Summer Institute for Teachers

From the afternoon of July 15 through noon on July 18, 2015, twenty-five teachers from across Virginia and the nation will have a unique opportunity to participate in a practical educational experience.

Set on the grounds of Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, Virginia, home of two signers of the Declaration of Independence, this four-day workshop will feature lectures from four nationally respected scholars and workshops led by a nationally prominent Master Teacher and Professor of Curriculum Development. Participants will examine four distinct components of the reality of Tidewater Virginia colonial life on the eve of the American Revolution. These examinations will be accomplished through the use of selected primary sources.

For more information, click here.

Constitution Center|Montpelier

The Montpelier Seminars are fully funded for social studies educators thanks to the generosity of private donors. Offered throughout the year, programs begin on Friday evening, and adjourn on Sunday afternoon, maximizing the experience while minimizing time away from the classroom. Six courses are offered each year, each with a distinctive perspective on American constitutionalism. The Center has a limited number of scholarships available for teachers in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., North Carolina, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. Teachers from other states are encouraged to apply to these programs and may be admitted if space is available.

Find more information here.

We The People Summer Institute

The We the People Summer Institute will take place at James Madison's Montpelier over June 29–July 2, 2015. The Institute will features lectures from a top scholar, lesson demonstrations from We the People master teachers, and will ask our educators to work as students by having them prepare and go through a simulated congressional hearing at the conclusion of the event. This year, the Institute will focus on Units 5 and 6 of the We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution textbook.

Click here for more info.

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May 16, 2015

Richmond Justice Initiative is holding one-day conference on trends in Human Trafficking. By attending, you can learn about ways you can slow the growth of Human Trafficking in the Richmond area. Topics include:

Holistic Survivor Care: A Community Approach

#EndSlavery: Leveraging Social Media to Create a Movement
Men and Boys Trafficked?

And more. For more information, click here.

Plus bonus! Act now!! Though I'm a part of this group, I will be out of town and can't attend. I've purchased one ticket already. The first person who asks can not only have my ticket, but I'll buy a SECOND ticket for a friend. That's right... two for one. But hurry, supplies won't last!

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.

HSTRY becoming easier

HSTRY is a great site for students to create projects for any content. I've mentioned it before, but according to Free Technology For Teachers, HSTRY has updated so that you can embed your timelines into a blog or website. Just copy and paste. It's easy. So if students are creating a portfolio, this just makes it easier.

This would be a great tool to use if your students still have laptops after SOLs or if you're in an elective and aren't sure what to do before the laptops are collected.

Below is an example.

AP Euro and APUSH Video Review

There are a lot of video reviews for APUSH, but here is one site that has both, AP Euro and APUSH. They are good videos and would give your students another chance at learning a weak area on their own. His full site is here.

Found from Free Tech for Teachers.

The Italian Renaissance (AP Euro Review)

The Problem With History Classes

From The Atlantic, lengthy, but good...

Before the release of Selma, I wonder how many people ever reflected on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s attitude toward the 1965 marches in Selma. I wonder if anybody thought that conventional wisdom afforded him either too much or too little credit for the Voting Rights Act. I imagine that Johnson’s legacy was not on the average American’s radar until Selma ripped it into the public consciousness.

And I think the daughter of Glenn Wiebe's summarizes this article the best with this quotation from 4th grade:

"The past is what really happened. And history is what we say happened."

Read more here

Teaching World History through Popular Culture

Geography Galore!

What does it look like when we combine inquiry learning with geography? What resources are available?

Lots of links and ideas to improve Geography!

Read more here, from Glenn Wiebe

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2014 - 2015: Teachers- 10.5 and Me- 12

This week:

  • World War 2
  • Unification of two rivals
  • Art was a major reason for unification, and a lack of men
  • lasted one year before they split permanently
  • Bitter rivals to this day
  • They last "clashed" on the field in 2012

Last week:

What event is this?

  • Nearly 11,000 Federal troops were used
  • The rise of a Presidential aspirant
  • 6 dead, $77 million in damage using today's money
  • Lasted one week
  • Caused by an assassination

Kathryn Hershberger won last week with the Baltimore Riots of 1968!

TeacherFit Challenge

If I were to ask what prevents folks from exercise, these might be the top 3 reasons:

  1. I don't have time
  2. It can cost too much money
  3. I'm not sure what to do

So, there is one exercise that you can do, that turns those three reasons into lame excuses:


So first, you can start for just 30 seconds. Surely, you have 30 seconds. If you don't have 30 seconds, you're living life wrong. You can easily boost this to 30 minutes... and you can plank while watching TV or reading.

Second, it costs zero. You can do it right now, in your classroom. Go ahead, do it. See... didn't cost you a penny.

Last, just get in a push-up position, rest on your forearms... done. It's not tricky.

The benefits:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces stress

Another benefit is that it can be a group activity to keep you motivated, but you don't have to go to a gym. Just do it at home. Here's a 30-Day challenge calendar that you can do on your own or with friends.

If you want to join a 30-Day Challenge, click here.

There are also free apps to help. Here is one in iTunes that I'll use for the challenge. It works well b/c the times are the same as on the google form.

The Challenge will begin Monday May 11 and go to June 9.

How To Do A Plank Exercise


1865: United States of Uncertainty by BackStory