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Mid-Term Poll Question

As you all know, mid-term exams are in flux because of the snow. So I'm curious about your thoughts and have a short poll that's just for me to understand what you all would want for mid-terms, especially with the idea of having mid-terms before the Christmas break. THIS BY NO MEANS is a change in what we are doing. It's just for my curiosity.

But, if many of you feel like having mid-terms earlier in the semester would be better, I'd like to have the conversation with others. But if you all hate the idea, then I won't bring it up. So please answer the poll.

Poll is here.

Summer School Options

Please remind students that we have online summer options for Government and US History. Last year, we had 1 US History class and 2 Government classes. But they seem to fill up late and we never know if they will actually make until the last minute.

If you have students who need these classes, and may succeed in an online environment, please consider this option for them.

Student Growth Measures for MP2

Just a reminder to have students doing the SECOND GROWTH MEASURE before the Semester ends. Please remember to keep your spreadsheet updated so that you don't have to fill it all in later in June!

The End of SOLs?

Update: Two more bills introduced into the Senate proposing the same thing as SB 203, which would most likely end Social Studies SOLs in 2 years.

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.

Mercy Street on PBS

Mercy Street
I saw the first episode of Mercy Street, and while I wasn't "blown away," I think it's going to do a great job at show how the war played out at home, on the streets. It will also have a focus on women in the war. I often hear how our female students don't like history because it's all about battles, so this show may peak their interest.

If I could only avoid seeing "Ted," when Josh Radnor is on the screen.

It appears that there are only 6 episodes, so far. But I think it would still be good for a history class.


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. Voting is this Thursday on the new Framework.

Teacher|Student Opportunities

The Power of Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia

The James Age Film Project and the University of North Carolina Asheville welcome your interest in our two-week NEH 2016 Summer Institute, The Power of Place: Land and Peoples in Appalachia. If you are a K-12 educator, we invite you to consider joining the institute, from July 10 to July 22, at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, North Carolina.

Our two week institute will use environmental history to examine the role of landscape in the shaping of culture and history, with the Southern Appalachians as a powerful case study. Using the experience of Appalachia, we will see how environmental history presents new questions to interrogate past events, encourages an interdisciplinary approach to the study of place, and presents an excellent opportunity for team teaching in the classroom. deadline is March 1, 2016.

Check it out, here.

Demon Times: Temperance, Immigration and Progressivism in an American City

Program Description: The goal of the program is to consider the roles of Westerville, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio as landmark cities central to the themes of Temperance, immigration, and the Progressive movement in American history and culture. The Columbus area is a unique landmark allowing us to consider how the landscape and architecture of a major Midwestern city and a nearby small town are simultaneously typical of the American experience and a unique landscape of American reform traditions.

The influential Temperance organization the Anti-Saloon League was based in Westerville, a Columbus suburb. The Anti-Saloon League's influence and methodology was scientific and unapologetic in its approach, aiming directly at alcohol, Catholics, and immigrants. Columbus was home to a large German immigrant population, with an attendant brewing industry. The juxtaposition of these two elements makes for a unique landmark allowing us to consider the collision between immigrants and advocates of temperance in the Progressive era. July 10-15 and July 24-29, 2016.

Check it out here: Application Deadline: March 1, 2016.

The Political Thought of James Madison Seminar at James Madison's Montpelier

This seminar examines the life, character, political thought, and political practice of James Madison. Emphasis will be placed on Madison’s most active philosophical years, i.e., during the Founding period from 1786 to 1792. This 3-day teacher event will be led by Colleen Sheehan of Villanova University.

March 18-20, 2016

Application deadline: February 19, 2016

Learn more and apply at

Full scholarships are available for teachers from MA, NY, NJ, KY, CA, NV, NC, and VA!

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.

Who Started World War One?

An article from last year:

"Serbia bore the greatest responsibility for the outbreak of WW1. Serbian nationalism and expansionism were profoundly disruptive forces and Serbian backing for the Black Hand terrorists was extraordinarily irresponsible. Austria-Hungary bore only slightly less responsibility for its panic over-reaction to the assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne."

Read more here.

Vote Jerry Mandering

Wheel Decide

I love observing for many reasons. I know it makes some folks nervous, and I apologize for any of that, but I learn a lot from you all during my observations. For example, I observed Ashley Kelly at Tuckahoe the other day and she used a tool call Wheel Decide to call on students in class.

Basically, she had all her students name on the wheel, hit spin, and whoever it landed on had to answer the question. It's a great classroom management tool. I'm sure there are others like this, but if you haven't used one, this could be a good one for you.

Practice it as school first, though. The website appeared different at school than at home. But basically, you just create a wheel, type in kids names, and done!

Nearpod App

Many teachers have been using Nearpod in class recently, and now there is an iPhone app that works with it. Here's a short article about it if you're curious.

Nearpod is a pretty good way to change up how you use Power Points in class. The idea is, you upload your Power Point to Nearpod and then add some functionality to it like polling questions, open ended questions, fill in the blanks, and other activities. While Nearpod doesn't lock a student's computer screen, the students cannot move ahead of the slide show. Only the teacher can move the slides forward.


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.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia 2015 - 2016: Teachers- 8 and Me- 6

Last week:

For this, you need to answer each of the following questions, and then figure out what they have in common.

  • His birthday is on the 15th, not the 3rd Monday of the month. (King)
  • He was the star of such movies as Close Encounters and Jaws. (Dreyfuss/Dreyfuss Affair)
  • Pee Wee Herman's bike wasn't in the basement of this place. (Alamo/William Travis)
  • This George Washington was a Civil War veteran and elected to the Ohio State legislature (George Washington Williams/letter to King Leopold)
  • Author of the Daffodil Murderer. (Sigfreid Sassoon/WW1 soldier and poet)

Solve those, and then tell me what they all have in common? They all wrote Open Letters to the public.

Ellen Jewell, from HCMS, won this for the teachers

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.

  • What do Martin Sheen, Robe Lowe, and James Marsden have in common?
  • His New Yorker cartoons became the inspiration for a famous TV show family.
  • The winner of an important 8-7 vote.
  • This person likes fast pudding, and did so for at least a year (2 acceptable answers)
  • He had a pet ape.

Solve those, and then tell me what they all have in common?


City Upon A Hill: A History Of American Exceptionalism [rebroadcast] by BackStory