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
Some of the best days of the school year are when I get the chance to spend time with the #ESSDACK social studies PLC. Yesterday was one of those days. We talked about a ton of things including the idea of Twitter chats as a professional learning tool. Most of the group already have Twitter accounts and some like , , , and are more serious users. But it was fun working together with the whole group to do a sample online chat with everyone in the room at the same time, exploring the power of scheduled chats. Lots of learning and discussion.
But I’m always amazed at the rabbit hole that you can fall into once you start with the Twitters. And yesterday was no different. As several of us were exploring different social studies hashtags, I ran across something called the World’s Largest Lesson.
The goal of the WLL is simple – support and foster the idea of Sustainable Development Goals.
Several years ago, a ton of world leadership folks got together and finalized 17 different things that will make the world a better place. They titled them the Sustainable Development Goals.
Basic stuff like zero hunger, quality education, reduced inequalities, peace and justice. Yeah. The biggies. Saving the world kinds of things.
The cool thing is that they also developed a plan for actually finding ways to make it happen. To follow through and find solutions.
Another cool thing? Read more
We all know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. It’s a great story with a pretty amazing cast. (I’m looking at you #Hamilton.) And we all have our favorite actors in that story. My fave?
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 one of the 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 so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign in 1787: Read more
It’s a little bit the perfect storm. Tomorrow is Women’s Equality Day, Constitution Day is in a few weeks, and Kansas is encouraging schools across the state to develop civic engagement programs.
So it seems like a good time to share a few lessons and resources that focus on voting rights. Use the resources below to help your students develop context, connect past events with contemporary issues, and practice historical thinking skills. 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
“As a mapmaker, I can have more impact on an election than a campaign. More of an impact than a candidate. When, I as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system is out of whack.”
Republican redistricting consultant following 1990 Census
I don’t think we spend enough time having kids explore the whole gerrymandering thing as part of our government / civics engagement instruction. David is right. And I don’t think enough of us understand the power that redistricting can have on the democractic process.
Quick primer. Gerrymandering is the legislative act of creating voting maps that favor your particular political party. And according to a recent Wired article, it usually involves one of two different tools: Read more