I wrote this post about 18 months ago.
Back during the Before Times.
Back when, you know, things were normal and not so fricking . . . not normal. At the time, along with some amazing social studies rock stars, I got the chance to review and update the state standards document. That revised document was approved by the state board just days before all of this fricking . . . not normal stuff started. And I do think this newly approved, just rolled out document is better. It focuses on process while providing flexibility for local districts to decide on specific content.
And in many ways, it’s a fairly radical departure from what many state level standard documents look like. It’s got some suggestions on broad ideas and themes, some ideas on grade level scope and sequence. But no required history minutiae. No specific dates. Or people. Or events. We wanted kids to walk away with critical thinking skills that they can apply in a variety of contexts.
But now I’m curious.
If we had known then what we know now, would we have created something even more revisionist? As in, as the educational system is shifting towards a more blended, hybrid learning environment – one focused on problem-based learning, on a competency-based model rather than seat time – do the standards need to be pared down even more?
What truly is important for social studies students to know and be able to do? And do we even call them social studies students any more? Would Humanities students make more sense?
This Wayback Wednesday post focuses on 2018 Washington Post article that asked seven history gurus a simple question:
What are the most important things young people should be learning in school today?
Your homework is simple. Answer the question: Read more
I’m starting to get the feeling that we’ve reached critical mass. When I work with social studies teachers around the country, I always make sure they’re familiar with the work by Sam Wineburg and the Stanford History Education Group.
SHEG’s Reading Like a Historian lessons and Beyond the Bubble assessments are the kinds of non-negotiable tools that belong in every teacher’s toolkit. But for the longest time, it seemed as if very few teachers had actually heard about the SHEG site. Of course, as soon as these teachers had the chance to explore the available tools, they were blown away.
Lately I’ve run into more and more teachers who are already familiar with the site and are finding very cool ways of integrating SHEG resources into their instruction. Maybe we’ve reached the point where most teachers have heard about the SHEG goodness and we all love it. (If you’re still not sure what sorts of SHEG lessons and assessments are available, for Pete’s sake, stop reading and head over to check it out.)
If you are using SHEG resources, I feel a little like a TV infomercial host this morning when I say, “but wait . . . there’s more.”
Because SHEG has some new stuff. Read more
Can you ever have too many maps?
The obvious answer is no. You can never have too many maps.
So when I ran across some very cool old maps last Saturday at the Wichita Flea Market, there really wasn’t any question about whether or not I would buy them. The question was how many will I buy.
I settled on two. Which means my wife helped me decide that I should settle on two. There are quite a few maps already in my house and I was gently made aware of that fact. Which means semi-gently.
Both of the maps I walked away with are almost 100 years old. One is a 1924 map of tourist Rome published in Italian, the other a map highlighting the 1924 British Empire Exhibition with suggested mass transit options from around the London metro area. So cool.
Perfect for displaying, reading, primary source analysis, (the Empire Exhibition and its various colonial pavilions is just asking for some in-depth conversation) or just wafting in the 100 year old smell.
But while we all can agree how cool old maps are, new maps are nothing to sneeze at. I love the ability of digitized maps to allow access to all sorts of data in all sorts of very visual ways. Take a look at these two Read more