SUBJECT: History and Social Studies

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  • Summer Workshop Series: Build a Better Police Force

    Posted July 26, 2016 in Featured Stories

    From the violent protests in Ferguson following Michael Brown’s death to the 2016 shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and targeted killing of eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, students are attempting to understand the issues surrounding law enforcement’s use of lethal force and the frayed social contract between police and the…

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  • Summer Workshop Series: Civilizing Civic Debate With Empathic Imagination and Dialectical Thinking

    Posted July 5, 2016 in Featured Stories

    Under the best circumstances, civics education triggers student passions. In a recent column on the “Trump effect,” I outlined many educators’ concerns about discussing politics in the classroom during the 2016 election season. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is ensuring that students are comfortable enough to voice their opinions while being respectful of…

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  • Summer Workshop Series: Teaching Civil Rights as a Living Movement

    Posted June 28, 2016 in Featured Stories

    2015 marked the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the march from Selma to Montgomery, a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. The milestone celebration aired on numerous TV channels and received a tremendous amount of media attention, but for teachers, these events highlighted students’ fundamental lack of knowledge about the American civil rights…

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  • Mitigating the Trump Effect: Teaching Civil Discourse in a Time of Political Anger

    Posted May 11, 2016 in Featured Stories

    It is no understatement to say that in 2016, Americans live in interesting, if not nasty, political times. One significant contributor to the troublesome climate is Donald Trump, the presidential candidate whose platform of anti-immigration rhetoric appears to have worked its way into schools across the nation, from high school sporting events to elementary classroom…

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  • Can ‘Hamilton: The Musical’ Change History Education?

    Posted April 6, 2016 in Featured Stories

    On any given day in our home, you can hear the roar of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton: The Musical” soundtrack. My 13 year-old daughter has an Alexander Hamilton biography and “The Federalist Papers” on her nightstand, and I’m knee-deep in the book the musical is based on: Ron Chernow’s biography of the Founding Father. ‘Hamilton’ fever…

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  • When Politics Comes Up in the Classroom: 5 Tips for Teachers

    Posted March 24, 2016 in From the Principal's Office

    “Politics is boring, until it’s not” — Anonymous The author of that quote seems to have anticipated the challenging, complex nature of today’s political environment. Truth is stranger than fiction in this election cycle, so you should not be surprised to find your students trying to make sense of all that is happening in the…

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  • How Teachers Can Help Students Become More Engaged in Our Democracy

    Posted February 25, 2016 in From the Principal's Office

    We all need to try harder to turn our students into better citizens. Just look at voter turnout in major national elections. The U.S. Election Project, a non-partisan organization that tracks voter turnout, says the turnout percentage for U.S. midterm elections hovers in the mid-30s and moves into the mid-60s in a presidential election. Contrast…

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  • Teaching Social Justice in Theory and Practice

    Posted May 13, 2015 in Featured Stories

    Historically, classrooms have been the stage for social change, providing a venue to promote and accelerate new ideas. In addition to academic instruction, one of a classroom teacher’s most important roles is to help students develop the critical thinking, collaboration and self-reflection skills necessary to foster a better society. Goals of social justice Social justice…

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  • Essential Skills for the 21st Century: Teaching Students to Curate Content

    Posted April 22, 2015 in Featured Stories

    In my last piece, I discussed why content curation was an essential skill and discussed ways teachers could use Pinterest to curate content for students. Modeling this skill for students is important, but giving them the knowledge to do it themselves is crucial. The ability to sort through many sources for high-quality information was always…

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  • Content Curation: Tools and Strategies for Teachers

    Posted April 15, 2015 in Featured Stories

    “Content curation” is hip terminology in the marketing world. Businesses routinely develop and refine perceptions of their brand on social media through the information they choose to share with specific audiences. Curating content is an essential skill to share with students. With broad and easy access to information, seeing and practicing content curation can help…

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  • Diverse Literature for Women’s History Month

    Posted March 18, 2015 in Featured Stories

    As we move from Black History Month into Women’s History Month, one thing becomes clear: the go-to cast of characters in women’s history lacks diversity. Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, the suffragists, and Rosie the Riveter are important real and fictional women in history, but they do not represent the breadth of experiences of women of…

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  • What Should K-12 Students Learn About Feminism?

    Posted March 17, 2015 in Featured Stories

    In K-12 education, the most common debate over gender equity might be hidden biases in the ways teachers treat male and female students. But because feminism, sexism and gender equality inform middle and high school students’ self-perception and knowledge, teachers should recognize the value of discussing them in the classroom. Discussing feminism as defined and…

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  • Women’s History Month: Exploring the Impact of Women on U.S. Politics

    Posted March 11, 2015 in Featured Stories

    March is Women’s History Month in the United States. For 2015, the National Women’s History Project has chosen a weaving-centered theme to encourage incorporation of many women’s stories into the “essential fabric of our nation’s history.” Women’s History Month: a chance for young women to learn about their political history Women’s History Month is an excellent opportunity…

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  • AP Students Not OK With Oklahoma Legislator’s Bill to Defund APUSH

    Posted March 4, 2015 in Featured Stories

    Last October in Colorado, Jefferson County student protests brought national attention to their school board’s decision to assess the College Board’s Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) curriculum to ensure that it would “present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.” Conservative school boards and politicians increasingly oppose AP U.S. History curriculum Nicknamed…

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  • Using the #Fergusonsyllabus to Connect Black History to the Present

    Posted February 11, 2015 in Featured Stories

    During Black History Month, educators teach about African-American leaders and movements that are not included in the traditional curriculum. As we seek to develop strong critical thinking skills in our students by problematizing and connecting history education with today, this year presents an excellent opportunity for students to consider the role of race in America’s…

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  • Hosting a National African-American Read-In for Black History Month

    Posted February 4, 2015 in Featured Stories

    February is Black History Month. Participating in an African-American Read-In is an excellent way for teachers and students to read books, poems and speeches by black authors — and also highlight the importance of literacy. Celebrating African-American authors during Black History Month The National Council of Teachers of English’s Black Caucus held the first African-American…

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  • Unschooling: Inspirational Learning Method or Educational Neglect?

    Posted January 21, 2015 in Featured Stories

    The majority of America’s educational resources are focused on students inside classrooms. However, there is a growing population of young people who may never, or only partially, engage in formal schooling. The number of homeschooled students is small but growing In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education reported that about 3.4 percent of all age-eligible…

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  • Education That Counts: Connecting Classrooms to Communities With Service Learning

    Posted January 14, 2015 in Featured Stories

    Last week, my son’s class wrote their first persuasive speech. They identified a problem within their school, chose a specific audience, and using facts and research, attempted to persuade their school janitor to join them during recess every Friday to share his obstacle-course building skills with students. This was a small-scale service learning project, but it…

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  • The Jeffco Protests: How a Proposed Curriculum Review Board Created ‘Little Rebels’

    Posted October 8, 2014 in Featured Stories

    For almost two weeks, students in Colorado’s Jefferson County school district — often shortened to Jeffco — engaged in acts of civil disobedience. Some walked out of class; others rallied before or after school, holding signs saying “Don’t Make History a Mystery” and “Protest IS Patriotism.” The protesters were angry about the JeffCo school board’s proposed committee…

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  • Start Your Own Learning Revolution With Transformational Teaching

    Posted September 10, 2014 in Featured Stories

    In his 2010 TED talk “Bring on the Learning Revolution,” Sir Ken Robinson suggested that the best evolution in education can be made by moving from a factory-style mechanical model toward an organic model of teaching that adjusts specifically to the people being taught. Robinson’s criticism of education reform should be noted, but the reality…

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