The Digital Broadside

News You Can Use

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Round 4

Rowdy Roddy Piper once said, "Just as you have all the answers, I change the question!"

The VDOE is already revising the next set of SOL Standards, the 2015 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. They are revised every 7 years, and then take 2 years to implement. So, the 2008 Standards came in officially in 2010. So, 2017 is just around the corner.

When the SOLs are up for review, every one with a historical bone to pick comments and wants their story told. That's why it's important to know that Robert E. Lee was the President of Washington College.

I would like to stress to everyone to please comment. Here is the link. If you don't comment, dozens of interest groups and museums will dictate WHAT YOU TEACH. Some of that may be fine. But... as Whodini says, "The freaks come out at night...."

HCPS Teachers of the Year

Schools are choosing their 'New Teacher' Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year. So far, here is what I know (I'll keep adding):

Teacher of the Year

Holman Middle School is Heather Racer

New Teacher of the Year

Short Pump Middle School is Rob Przybylski

Congratulations to our teachers!

We The People, part 2

Last Friday, Glen Allen High School and Freeman High School competed against 8 other schools for the state title in We The People. Both teams did great:

Freeman came in second place and GAHS came in 5th. We were the only school district to have 2 schools in the competition.

As I said last week, this is a great way for students to go in-depth with the Constitution. If you have an honors Government class, or AP Government class, I'd recommend you use this curriculum in the classroom.

Or I'll ask, if you have an honors Government class, or AP Government class, and aren't doing We The People, why not?

They also have a middle school version for this, which can be tough since students interested in this are probably in World History in 8th grade, but it could be an after-school club.

If you're interested, you can apply to attend a summer session on being a coach.

Presidents' Day

With Presidents' Day approaching, C-SPAN Classroom has aggregated short videos, bell-ringers, and a lesson to help your students learn about the lives of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and the role of the Executive Branch. Students may also use C-SPAN's "American Presidents" website to research former presidents and learn about their lives, families and administrations.

General Assembly Update

IMPORTANT NEWS: As of now, there looks like there will be drastic changes to the SOLs in K - 8. For example, there will only be an SOL test for Virginia Studies (elementary kids) and Civics. School districts will still have to prove that content was taught, but that hasn't been determined.

There is also still talk about giving public grades to schools (A - F) for student growth measures.

Needless to say, no 6th or 7th grade SOL would be huge.

Teacher Opportunities

Virginia Historical Society In cooperation with the University of Richmond, the Virginia Historical Society presents “The Story of Virginia: An American Experience,” a program for Virginia teachers that will broaden and deepen their knowledge of Virginia history—through classroom work, discussion, writing, and hands-on experience in its outstanding exhibition galleries.

It's $150 and a week long, with two sessions to choose from. Click here for more details.

Student and Teacher awards are given by the Virginia Historical Society. The Bobby Chandler High School Student Award is sponsored by the Kip Kephart Foundation. This award is given to the high school student who enters a paper or classroom project that uses original primary sources and who demonstrates a knowledge and understanding of American history.

Similar to the Bobby Chandler High School Student Award, the Anne R. Worrell Middle School Student Award is given to the middle school student who enters a paper or classroom project that uses original primary sources and demonstrates an understanding of American history.

Last, there is a teacher award as well, but just for US History teachers.

More info here.

NEH Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators

Each year, NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,200-$3,900 help cover expenses for these one- to five-week programs. Click here if interested.

NCSS is accepting proposals to present at the 2014 NCSS Annual Conference Join social studies educators from around the world in Boston, November 21-23, 2014, to explore the civic mission of schools in the 21st Century. The 94th NCSS Conference will showcase powerful practices and initiatives aimed at preparing all students for college, career, and civic life. The DEADLINE for submitting proposals is February 18, 2014.

Check out these opportunities for teachers:

Cultural Legacies Workshop

Henricus Historical Park

Become a part of the SOL Review Committee
VCU Economics Institutes January 15 - April 30
Gilder Lehrman Summer 2014 Sessions
The Holocaust and Human Behavior on February 10
SOL Resources per content area

National Teacher of the Year

Instructional Ideas

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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.

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Double Exposure

Double Exposure is an instructional strategy using historical photos. For example, use the pictures above for the Civil Rights Movement. Do do this:

1. Select a topic for exploration (e.g. Civil Rights movement).

2. Gather two photographs that are likely to lead students to competing descriptions of a(n) person, event, institution, society etc. For example,

Photograph A (photo of Dr. King) = suggests that the story of the Civil Rights movement is the story of charismatic leaders such Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks.

Photograph B (photo of Selma freedom walkers) = the story of the Civil Rights movement is the story of thousands of courageous, everyday people.

3. Jigsaw: Split the class into halves. Divide students in both halves into small groups and distribute photograph A to some groups and Photograph B to other groups.

4. Have students analyze the photograph and discuss the following in their small groups: What does this photograph suggest about the topic (e.g. Civil Rights movement)?

5. Take students who analyzed photograph A and pair them off with students who analyzed photograph B. Ask each student in the paired group to describe the conclusions they drew from their photograph. If the photographs are well selected, students should arrive at competing conclusions

6. Ask students “why might historians arrive at different conclusions about the past?”

7. Debrief: explain that history is filled with different interpretations about the past. One reason for the different interpretations is that historians often rely on different pieces of evidence (e.g. photographs) to construct their accounts. Your experiences with the photographs suggest that there may be more than one story about the past.

Black History Month Resources

Every February, America and Virginia observe Black History Month, celebrating and honoring the many achievements and contributions made by African Americans to the economic, cultural, and political development of America. African Americans are prominent in Virginia and American history. The famous historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a native Virginian and the son of former slaves, brought this fact to the world’s attention by founding the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, publishing several scholarly works and establishing Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month. The Virginia Department of Education is pleased to provide teachers and school divisions with Black History Month resources. These resources support the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning.

The U.S. Department of Education, Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, provides an in-depth collection of African American resources at

African American Mosaic is a Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Topics include colonization, abolition, and migration

African American History Month resources are available from the Library of Congress at

African American history sites from the Library of Virginia focus on topics in Virginia history and are available at

One final site:

Tour Builders

A few weeks ago I mentioned a new tool Google map to make using Google Earth easier. It's called Tour Builders. Daniel Dickey at Deep Run High School did this with his students and produced some great timelines to share on Latin American Revolutions, this one and this one.

By using this tool, students collaborated, researched, and presented information they learned in class. For RIGOR, his students: read for a purpose, grouping, organized information, and 'rote for a purpose. There could have been inquiry, but I'm not sure if that was part of it. The best part: it's easy to learn and free.

Political Quiz

I'm often asked by teachers for a political ideology quiz. This is one of the best I've seen: I Side With. Unlike many others, it asked questions on relevant issues and gives the reader choices and options since many times, answers aren't as black and white as most quizzes make them. Also, it can be quick, 3 questions for example, or you can take the option to answer more questions on a category. Save this link for future use if you're already done with political ideology.

Trivia and Other Balderdash

Trivia: Teachers- 9 and Mike- 7

Last week's question was: Which nation has been the most successful in winning medals at the Winter Games. It's NOT: Norway, the US, or USSR/Russia. Think.... what are ways to define "successful?"

Todd Rigler got it right with Lichtenstein, which has the most total medals per population.

This week: Just for fun, Which Type of Teacher Are You? I tried others, but this seemed to be the best. When you're done, fill out this form.

White House Petition

As you may know, the White House has an online petition site. All you have to do is submit an idea and get 100,000 signatures. Once it gets to 100,000, the White House will review it.

So, I created one in hopes that the Department of Education might actually do something useful for teachers for once.

My idea: Create online, digital text, readings, and curriculum for K - 12 education.

You can read more about it here, and sign up to sign my petition. Deporting Justin Bieber has over 200,000 signatures! Surely, a serious one can break though.

Things You Never Say To a Teacher

From the We Are Teacher's Facebook Page: ”What do people say or ask you about teaching that drives you crazy?” Here's the list.
World War 1 in 6 Minutes


Sweet Talk: A History of Sugar by BackStory