VT Alliance for the Social Studies

2017 Conference: Social Justice in Vermont and Beyond

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How does Vermont address issues of social justice? How should we address these issues in the classroom?

The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the state. He is charged with representing the state in all matters in which the state is a party or has an interest. Recent and continuing work of the AG's office includes:

  • Filing a lawsuit to protect Dreamers and preserve DACA
  • Convening a Racial Disparities Panel
  • Urging congress to protect transgender service members
  • Supporting protecting national monuments
  • Joining coalition of state Attorneys General in suing the U.S. DOE for abandoning critical student protections

  • Protecting LGBTQ employees from discrimination

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Inquiry IS Learning: How to Set Students Up for Daily, Personalized, Proficiency-Based, Self-Paced Inquiry Projects in Social Studies

Participants will hear about experiences of MVU teachers piloting tools and activities that enable small scale inquiry at all levels, and align with our C3 based PBGR framework. Samples and templates of organizers, rubrics, and class plans involving journaling, research, discussion, and conferences will be available. Participants will discuss, share ideas, and spend the majority of the time designing materials to bring back to their sites with group feedback. The goal of this workshop is to create a network of support and resources for social studies teachers in Vermont to successfully transition to an inquiry model of education.

Setting the Record Straight: John Brown's Legacy Today

Vermont became the first state to recognize the courage and sacrifice of John Brown, the much-maligned abolitionist. This session will attempt to complicate attendees' thinking around Brown by providing deeper context to who he was as a passionate advocate for full equality for all Americans. Key to this conversation is a reflection on the role we play as bystanders in unjust systems. More broadly, this session will provide resources helpful for facilitating discussions around controversial figures and topics.

Creating Empowered & Informed Citizens with iCivics

What do interactive lesson plans, digital games, and action civics have in common? They are perfect for teaching students about our government! In this hands-on session, participants will be inspired and equipped to educate students about the ways in which their local, state, and national government work through the use of dynamic, engaging, and free curriculum, including digital games, action civics, and other interactive instructional activities.

Teaching Religion in Public Schools

Religion, while included in social studies, is often not taught all on its own in public schools, and many schools do not have a curriculum for a course on religion to follow. This seminar will review how one teacher started from square one with only the tools available at her school and offer a run through of her curriculum as well as ideas for how to include religious topics into the everyday classroom.

Radio Program Production

Attendees will be exposed to the logistics of using course content to produce a weekly radio program, modeled after Brattleboro Union High School's "Film, Music & History" collegiate high school Social Studies Seminar. Click here for a sample from week 4 of the program on WTSA FM 96.7 https://archive.org/details/TtTE4S1.

Improving Practice through National Board Certification

National Board Certification is a voluntary certification for K-12 teachers embracing the National Board Standards for Professional Educators, the highest standards for teaching in the United States. Last year, Vermont had over 55 candidates, a record for a state who has only had 141 teachers achieve this certification. In 2014 the process was revised, making it more flexible and more affordable. Vermont-NEA is the NBCT Network in the state and has organized cohorts and a 3-credit course to support candidates. For each course, Vermont-NEA members receive a scholarship for up to 2 components.

Introducing Students to Abenaki Culture

In 2011 and 2012, four Abenaki Tribes (Elnu, Koasek, Missisquoi, and Nulhegan) were granted state recognition in Vermont. During the recognition process, new scholarship about Abenakis came to light. A recent study done by the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA) shows that teachers want to introduce their students to Abenaki history but are unsure of how to begin because they don't feel comfortable with the resources they currently have available. This session will introduce educators to new study materials currently being developed by the VAAA education team to introduce this vibrant culture to their students.

Immigration and the U.S. Policy Debate: From Dillingham to Trump

What does it mean to be an American? How should the U.S. balance its stance on immigration with its approach to national security? How can educators discuss this topic in a way that promotes informed deliberation of multiple perspectives? Session provides a C3-aligned Choices curriculum and videos to help educators address this contested issue from multiple perspectives. This is a hands-on session in which participants will engage in lessons found in the curriculum. All resources are provided.

Drones: They Aren't Toys...They Are Precision Mapping Tools!

Staff from the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab will provide a presentation and demonstration about the power of drones to collect timely and targeted information about the landscape. From emergency response, to environmental monitoring, to asset management, drones are powerful tools.

Benedict Arnold: Founding Father?

Benedict Arnold is the best-known traitor in history, but as an early Patriot, what were his contributions to the American Revolution? The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga (1775), the Battle of Valcour (1776), and the battles at Saratoga (1777) each would have earned Arnold a place among the Founding Fathers had he not gone over to the British in 1780. Through a series of primary sources we'll examine his early contributions to the American cause and analyze an important but little-known Champlain Valley document Arnold authored in the first weeks of the Revolution.

Community as Curriculum

What could place-based learning look like in the 21st century? The Burlington City & Lake Semester is an immersive semester program in which Burlington High School students will use the vibrant, urban landscape of Burlington as both the classroom and the curriculum. They will collaborate with community partners as they explore and address relevant local issues, build community, and grow as agents of change. Currently in development, the program is due to begin in 2018. Join us to learn more about the program design, and to discuss how this unique, emergent flexible pathway can be implemented in your community.

Strategies for Classroom Dialogue

How can we transform teaching and learning from traditional teacher-directed instruction to classrooms where students actively drive their own learning? In this interactive workshop, Katherine Cadwell and students from Harwood Union High School will introduce participants to the pedagogy of Socratic Dialogue and "Harkness Table" discussions where students utilize deeply probing questions to examine text based material, fiction, poetry, historical documents or scientific investigations. Harwood students will lead participants in a Harkness discussion, and attendees will receive an extensive resource list and materials on classroom dialogue and materials as to how to learn more about the Harkness Pedagogy can be implemented in a public middle and high school classrooms.

Ties that Bind the U.S. and East Asia

Ties that Bind is an innovative, collaborative digital mapping project which provides opportunities for users to learn about historical and contemporary people, places, events which connect the United States and East Asia. This project is accessible by anyone for free on Historypin and is populated with information like photographs, primary source documents and narratives for sites across the country which underscore the depth and breadth of relationships between the United States and East Asia. This session will cover the projects goals and strategies for classroom use, and participants will learn how to contribute to the project.

What is a Teacher Worth? A Student's Deep Dive into Teacher/School Board Negotiations

The night before school began the South Burlington School Board imposed working conditions on the teachers in that district. This controversy shook up the town of South Burlington causing a further rift in the community. Amelia Charbonneau, a student in the district, took a deeper look into this and other negotiation related issues. In her session she will present her independent study, including interviews with all major constituents and Vermont legislators. Her findings include the resolution in the SB district, as well as the newly proposed bill that would end striking and imposition, and how this would affect unions, school boards and Vermonters.

Boxes from Home: Using Primary Sources to Teach about Vermonters in the Civil War

During the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Vermont Historical Society digitized and transcribed hundreds of letters from Civil War soldiers. These letters, and specifically the requests for familiar items from home, form the basis of a newly designed school program which will soon be available at the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier. Participants will help prototype the activity and learn about easily accessible resources that can be used in the classroom to bring the experience of Vermont Civil War soldiers and their families to life.

3D Vermont: History, Technology, Art, and Personalized Learning in One Amazing Project

3D Vermont, now in it’s 4th year, is a project that combines deep local historical research, study of architectural styles and functionality, and 3D printing technology. Student teams from schools around the state research their town’s history through the lens of a historic structure, replicate that structure using 3D technology, then present their findings at a statewide competition. Judges include historians, architects, and historic preservationists from around the state. Join four consultants at the Vermont Agency of Education to learn how 3D Vermont aligns with arts, global citizenship, and technology proficiencies and can also be a reflection of a student’s personalized learning pathway.

8:30 - 9:45 Welcome and Keynote
9:45 - 10:00 Exhibits and Networking

10:00 - 10:50 Session 1 Workshops

11:00 - 11:50 Session 2 Workshops

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch / Recognition of Outstanding Vermont Teachers

1:00 - 1:15 Exhibits and Networking

1:15 - 2:05 Session 3 Workshops

2:05 - 2:55 Session 4 Workshops

3:00 - 3:30 Executive Committee Meeting

VASS Conference

Friday, Dec. 1st, 8:30am

60 Battery Street

Burlington, VT