An essay and lecture by Time’s Nancy Gibb’s recently caught my attention. I wasn’t looking for it. But in between several other tasks, I happened to pick up the latest issue. And there she was.
I’ve been thinking about civic engagement a lot lately. And how important it is. About how we’ve not done a very good job of teaching those skills to our students. About how that is now coming back to bite us in the butt.
This isn’t anything new to most of you. We all see divisiveness. We read hate. We hear attacks. So do our kids. Civil discourse. Compromise. The greater good. Melting pot. We’re all in this together. All things that seem to be in short supply.
The cool thing is that our students want that to change. And are willing to help make it happen. Our job? Simple. Read more
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of yelling going on. Social media. Cable news. Local coffee shops. People disagreeing, not getting along, refusing to compromise their “values.”
And school classrooms can seem like a safe space where we can protect our students from all of that ugliness. Education Week survey data gathered back in February suggested that many teachers find it difficult to talk about race, politics, and other controversial topics. Almost 30 percent expressly avoid it completely. Part of the problem is that many of us – 44 percent – don’t feel prepared to lead conversations that might get emotional.
So . . . two questions here. Read more
I still remember the week of The Civil War by Ken Burns. It was early in my first teaching position as an 8th grade US history teacher in Derby, America. And it was amazing. So Ken and I have continued to hang out over the last few decades.
Jazz. Baseball. World War II. The Roosevelts.
And now . . . Vietnam.
But this one feels different somehow. Still mesmerizing. Still great production values. Still engaging. Still solid history. But maybe it just feels too recent to be comfortable history.
Vox writer Read more
For years, experienced social studies teachers have been asking kids to solve problems using evidence. Teaching them to practice historical thinking skills to analyze primary and secondary sources. Training them to evaluate evidence. To create arguments using that evidence.
This sort of instruction and learning wasn’t always officially encouraged. Great teachers did it because they knew it was good for kids. But our recently created state standards, the Common Core Literacy standards, and the NCSS Framework all now support this kind of quality teaching. Historical thinking skills are cool again.
And that’s a good thing. But . . . Read more
Martin Luther King Day is next week and you’ve probably already finalized your lessons. Hopefully you’ve got multiple days built in to widen the discussion to US history, government, and current events. To help with your planning, take advantage of the different resources and ideas below. (Developed in part by the New York Times Learning Network.)
Start with a couple of Teaching Tolerance articles – Do’s and Don’ts of MLK Day and Going the Extra Mile. Then head over to the LOC. Read more