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Bill of Rights Day 2017: “Pushing to expand liberty to all . . .”

It’s been a long year.

So perhaps a reminder of our fundamental rights is a good idea. So  . . . after taking a trip in the Wayback Machine, I found this earlier post in the History Tech archives. I think it still fits.

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Okay . . . admit it. How many of you didn’t know that today is Bill of Rights Day?

Come on, it’s okay.

Yes, I see those hands.

I first ran across Bill of Rights Day a few years ago. I consider myself a person who keeps up with this sort of thing but I had no idea. Back in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. So it’s been around a while.

And we probably need to make a bigger deal out of this than we are. Civic literacy and understanding of the nuance embedded in the first 10 Amendments seems a bit low right about now.

FDR observed in 1941 that Read more

Flipgrid is not a misfit toy: 10 ways that it can engage kids and improve historical thinking

A few weeks ago, I got hooked back into Flipgrid. I joined several years ago and messed with it a bit. Talked with others about it. Used it a few times. And then, like a lot of the new tools I get the chance to play with, I threw it on the pile with the rest of the Island of Misfit Toys.

Not that it was broken. Some other shiny thing caught my attention and I moved on.

Then last month I needed something quick, easy, and fun to use with a group of elementary teachers for a reflection activity. So . . .Flipgrid. And it was awesome. So I’m back.

Not sure what Flipgrid is? Read more

Need some NatGeo goodness? Try one of these 49 tasty videos

If you haven’t bookmarked Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day page yet, well . . . I’ll wait. Head over and take care of that.

Larry teaches ELL and mainstream kids in California while maintaining Websites of the Day, writing for the New York Times and Washington Post, teaching undergrad ed classes, and hosts a weekly podcast. And it’s all awesome.

I share this because I’m always finding something new and cool on Larry’s site. Yesterday was no different. Read more

3 ways the National Humanity Center will make your kids smarter

The National Humanity Center has been supporting the humanities for over 40 years. That’s a good thing. Because they’ve had plenty of time to develop a ton of tools that can help make you a better teacher and your students a whole lot smarter.

Start with the NHC’s suite of lesson plans. All of their America in Class lessons have Read more

Eagle Eye Citizen saves the world

Okay. Saves the world may be a bit optimistic.

But Eagle Eye Citizen does give teachers a great tool for supporting critical thinking, civil discourse, and civic engagement. Yesterday, I posted part of an essay by Nancy Gibb. She spoke about how we can get caught up in the “bias against the positive” instead of finding ways to instead focus on the “expansive, embracing, oxygenated opportunity of optimism.” She urged us to show students what does work well, how democracy works well.

I liked it.

It was a great reminder about how important social studies teachers truly are.  And so while Eagle Eye Citizen probably won’t save the world by itself, it certainly should be one of the tools in your toolbelt.

And what’s Eagle Eye Citizen? Read more