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Posts tagged ‘government’

#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

Ben Franklin and Constitution Day

Ben Franklin has always been one of my favorite Founding Fathers. He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.

Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?

And on this Constitution Day, it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign:

Mr. President, Read more

Only true election and poly sci fanboys will enjoy this post

Fanboy

Syllabification: (fan·boy)
Pronunciation: /ˈfanˌboi/

noun
An extreme fan or follower of a particular medium or concept, whether it be sports, television, film directors, video games, etc.

Yes. That’s me. I follow politics. I’m an extreme fan of elections and love talking strategy, candidates, and poll numbers – and just about anything else that connects somehow with the process. I’m an election fanboy.

So I’m probably one of a very small group of election geeks who cares much about yesterday’s presidential election.

Read more

Fact, opinion, bias, media literacy and the need for democrats with a lower case D

It may be one of the most important things we do as social studies teachers. But it seems as if it’s often one of the first things pushed to the side in our frantic attempt to “cover” all of our content.

What’s it?

It is what we do when we teach our kids to distinquish between fact and opinion, to recognize bias, to identify propaganda and misleading statements – providing the opportunity for our kids to develop strong media literacy skills. These are skills that we should not teach in isolation as simply part of some lesson plan in the back of our supplementary materials. These are skills that prepare your kids to be democrats.

We need more democrats. And I’m not talking Democrats as in the opposite of Republicans. Read more

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