Room 241: A Blog by
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History and Social Studies

Summer Workshop Series: Build a Better Police Force

By Monica Fuglei and Micah Pilkington July 26, 2016

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Can 'Hamilton: The Musical' Change History Education?

By Monica Fuglei April 6, 2016

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… Read More

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

By Brian P. Gatens March 24, 2016

“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… Read More

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… Read More

Teaching Social Justice in Theory and Practice

By Caitrin Blake May 13, 2015

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… Read More

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… Read More

Content Curation: Tools and Strategies for Teachers

By Monica Fuglei April 15, 2015

“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… Read More

Diverse Literature for Women’s History Month

By Monica Fuglei March 18, 2015

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… Read More

What Should K-12 Students Learn About Feminism?

By Caitrin Blake March 17, 2015

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More