The Kansas state social studies standards are designed to “prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves.” Different benchmarks under each of the standards require that students make connections between the past and contemporary issues.
The recent Kansans Can Vision developed by the Department of Ed is pushing schools throughout the state to focus on authentic civic engagement and integrate it across grades and content areas.
I’m sure that you have similar sorts of standards and expectations where you teach.
It’s pretty simple really. When kids are informed and thoughtful, when they understand the necessity for being civically engaged, and when they actually put into practice the ideas outlined in the founding documents, our communities and our country are a better place.
And now . . . we have the recent events in Charlottesville.
Your task as a social studies teacher has never been easy. Connecting past to present can make it harder. Conversations about race and violence harder still. It can be easy to just wait for things to blow over. But if we truly believe that what we do makes a difference, those conversations need to happen.
What can that sort of conversation look like?
The words of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are a good place to start: Read more
Studying contemporary genocide and the Jewish Holocaust should always be part of our social studies scope and sequence. But with the rise of anti-immigrant and far-right groups around the world, remembering the events and consequences of the 1930s and 1940s is becoming even more important.
And there are some no-brainer places to start as you gather and develop Holocaust teaching tools. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. Facing History and Ourselves.
But be sure to add the Echoes and Reflections site to your go-to list.
Echoes and Reflections is the result of a partnership among three other leaders in Holocaust education who bring specific knowledge, capacity, and practice to help you responsibly and effectively teach the Holocaust.
Echoes and Reflections combines: Read more
It’s been a while. Between spring break, family visits, emergency home repairs, college basketball March Madness, work related travel, and late night viewing of latest NetFlix fave Frontier, I’ve fallen behind a bit on the updates here.
It feels good to be back.
One of the things I missed over the last few weeks was the April 6 ceremony in Kansas City at the World War One Museum. The event commemorated the centennial of America’s entry into World War One. In case you missed it too, you can view the archived live stream online. And when you’re finished with browsing through the ceremony video, head back to the main section of the Museum site for other very useful resources. But be sure to budget some time – you quickly get sucked into the
The mission of the museum is pretty simple. National World War I Museum president Dr. Matthew Naylor outlines its purpose:
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is committed to remembering, understanding and interpreting the Great War and its enduring impact and this event underscores how this calamitous conflict continues to significantly affect everyone to this day.
The Museum was designated by Congress as the official WWI museum in 2004. And it is incredible. Soon after World War I ended, the Liberty Memorial Association formed to create a memorial to those who had served in the war and collected more than $2.5 million in less than two weeks. A tower was constructed along with displays. Later, in 2006, additional museum space was added.
What are some of the tools available? Read more
In 1975, the United Nations declared March to be International Women’s History Month and March 8 International Women’s Day. Later, in 1981, several women’s groups convinced Congress to declare a national Women’s History Week in the United States. In 1987, after lobbying by the National Women’s History Project, Congress expanded the week to a month.
The point is pretty obvious. March gives us a chance to take a very intentional look at the impact of women in history. It’s also a great time to examine how we can all work together to improve the rights and living conditions of women and girls around the world. But like other history months, don’t let March fool you. This is not a one time thing. Like I said back in February:
Too many of us still use February to have kids memorize random black history facts and call it good. (We also seem to have a habit of doing the same thing with women’s history and Latino history and Asian American history and Native American history and . . . well, you get the idea.)
Integrating the beliefs, values, actions, and impact of women into our content is an ongoing, year long process. But it’s a habit we need to get into and it can sometimes be difficult finding resources to plan lessons and units around.
Need a few starters? Kick off your research here Read more
You all know photographer Dorothea Lange. If not Dorothea herself, you’ll recognize her famous candid photos taken during the 1930s highlighting the struggles of Americans suffering during the Great Depression. Her iconic Migrant Mother and the series of photos around that image depict the desperation many felt during the period.
Later in 1942, she was hired by the US government to capture images of the relocation of Japanese-Americans affected by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Thousands of American citizens were being stripped of their civil liberties, their businesses, and their homes before being placed in internment camps scattered around the country.
Lange was originally opposed to the idea but accepted the task because she thought “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.” But after reviewing her photographs and their portrayal of the Japanese American experience, the military became concerned how the images of the internment program would be received by the public. Read more