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Posts tagged ‘civics’

Tip of the Week: Poly Sci Nerd Goodness

Yes. I am a poly sci nerd. Love elections. Love debates. Love the data. So meeting in DC this last week was . . . awesome.

And this morning, I ran across LegEx. A great way to close out a Poly Sci nerd week.

Short for Legislative Explorer and maintained by the University of Washington Center for American Politics and Public Policy, the site is a interactive visualization that allows you and your students to explore actual patterns of lawmaking in Congress. The graph provides a great way to get the big picture while providing opportunities to dig deeper. Compare the bills and resolutions introduced by Senators and Representatives and follow their progress from the beginning to the end of a two year Congress. Go back in time and compare / contrast different years, bi-partisan vs. partisan, parties, or House vs. Senate.

You can Read more

What would you say to your Senator?

I get the chance this week to spend time with some pretty amazing people. Michelle Herczog. Peggy Jackson. Kim O’Neil. All leaders of the National Council for the Social Studies Board of Directors. And almost 30 other social studies educators from around the country representing state level councils.

We’re meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss ways to support classroom teachers and to advocate for the Social Studies at the local, state, and federal level. Good times. Seriously. I mean, how often does someone like me get the chance to hang out with the movers and shakers of the social studies world? These are all excellent classroom teachers, committed to social studies, and history geeks like me. So I’m loving it.

We’ve had formal and informal conversations about all sorts of stuff and will continue those conversations through tomorrow. But one of the main reasons we’re here is to chat with representatives from the House and Senate, urging continued support for the teaching of high-quality social studies across the country.

Later today, Read more

Things that suck and your social studies classroom

It’s not what you think. Though I suppose that it is possible that a social studies class could, well . . . be not very good. I’m not talking about history classrooms where learning goes to die. I’m talking about a class that encourages high levels of thinking, connects emotion with content, allows for physical movement, and forces kids to make choices.

I’m talking about Things That Suck. Read more

#SOTU, wordles, and historical thinking

Tough choice. Today is Kansas Day. Last night was the 2014 State of the Union address.

What to write about? I mean . . . it’s Kansas Day. How cool is that? Renovated capitol building. Cool resources. Buffalo. Sunflowers. Wide open spaces.

But it’s the #SOTU. How cool is that? As an old poly sci major, there’s nothing like listening to a good political speech. Heck, sometimes even the bad ones are fun. And the 2014 State of the Union had the best of everything – all three branches of government in one place, cranky opposition, pundits, social media, Sarah Palin references, multiple GOP / Tea Party responses, and no out of control yelling from the audience.

So today you Kansas Day fans are on your own.

How best to use last night’s festivities? Some thoughts: Read more

History Nerd Fest 2013 – Mary Beth Tinker and your 1st Amendment rights

It was the best of the times. It was the worst of times.

The last session of the weekend. Good? Because I’m tired. Bad? Because . . . duh, no more hanging out with, and learning from, other social studies nerds.

But I am looking forward to this session. The focus is on First Amendment rights, Mary Beth Tinker, and citizenship in the 21st century educational world. Mary Beth is one of the Tinkers in Tinker vs. Des Moines, the landmark Supreme Court case that outlines the First Amendment rights of students.

She’s here. (How cool is that?) And she’s talking about how her case is being defined and how it should be defined in the current world of social media and technology. (how cool would it be to be able to say “my Supreme Court case?) Need a more in-depth review of the case? Head to Oyez site.

Mary Beth is working with the Newseum and the Student Press Law Center to educate kids about their rights. And perhaps more importantly, educators. The question they are focusing on?

What is the schoolhouse gate in the 21st century? Read more

13 resources for learning about the government shutdown

I’m hoping that by the time you read this, Congress has moved past kicking sand at each other and turned the government back on. I’m not holding my breath but who knows, maybe some grownups will show up and actually do something productive.

Until that happens, you might find the following resources useful in your conversations: Read more

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