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Posts tagged ‘ncss’

History Nerdfest 2017: Using National Geographic Geo-Inquiries to empower students

Yes. I know. The 2017 NCSS conference is over. We’ve had turkey and pumpkin pie since then.

But events on the last NCSS day started to run together and I got seriously sidetracked a couple of times chatting with people that I ran into. So today you get the official final History Nerdfest 2017 post. And thanks to National Geographic, one of my favorites.

You know I love maps, right? National Geographic is all about maps. So anything NatGeo does is automatically awesome.

And their new Geo-Inquiry Process is awesome. Geo-Inquries are designed to help students understand how the complex and dynamic human and natural systems interact in order to help them make smart decisions. Using both “a geographic perspective and the Geo-Inquiry Process students begin to connect complex components, see patterns, and make connections that change their communities.”

It’s a five step process:

  • Ask
  • Collect
  • Visualize
  • Create
  • Act

The goal is to create students with an explorer mindset:

  • attitudes of an explorer – curiosity, responsibility, and empowerment
  • skills necessary for exploration – observation, communication, collaboration, and problem solving
  • knowledge areas – Our Changing Planet, The Human Journey, Wildlife, and Wild Places

Think PBL with a geographic perspective and an emphasis on action. The idea aligns well with the NCSS Inquiry Arc and our state standards – focusing on process rather than just content. This seems like the perfect tool for Read more

Live blog #mcss17: Inspiring Local Learners in a Global Community

Two words that you really don’t want to hear in the same sentence:

            Minnesota / February

As in, “Hey. I can’t wait to travel to Minnesota in the middle of February.”

But when the two involve the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies annual conference, I’ll risk it. Lots of great people in Minnesota doing some awesome things in the social studies and I am honored to be a part of it. (My session on 3D History is later this afternoon – I’ll post a few details from that preso later this evening.)

I’ll be live blogging throughout the day on some of the cool stuff I’m learning. So be sure to refresh.

Opening Keynote
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Secretary Simon highlighted the importance of what social studies teachers do every day by sharing examples of how well Minnesota participates in elections

 We are voters. We work hard at building civic engagement.

The state is the number one state in voter turnout nine of the last 10 elections because of “laws and culture.” He highlighted the efforts that Minnesota makes to ensure that voter registration is as easy as possible with same day and online voter registration. Simon also discussed how early and absentee voting is encouraged.

The state also works hard to encourage kids to vote. I like how Simon talked about how getting younger kids to participate takes more than just using idealistic arguments such as “it’s good for the country” and “it’s your patriotic duty.” Simon suggests that we need to also encourage younger voters to participate also based on self interest and “to be part of something.” That kids need to be encouraged to vote and participate because it will make their lives, and the lives of people they know, better. So Minnesota uses a massive outreach program into the school system to support this sort of civic engagement.

He shared the saying on a tee shirt:  “Choosing not to vote isn’t a sign of rebellion, it’s a sign of surrender.” They work very hard to help kids understand that participating is the smarter choice.

And with the highest rate of voter turnout anywhere in the US, Read more

Top Ten Posts of 2016 #7: 300 sample compelling questions for the social studies

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


sticky student

I had the chance last week to spend a very fun afternoon with an energetic group of elementary teachers. I always enjoy chatting with K-6 folks. (I just don’t know how they get up every morning and keep going back. Because, seriously . . . grade school kids freak me out. They smell funny, they always seem to be sticky for some reason, and they throw up at the most awkward moments. So God bless anyone willing to spend all day, every day, with an large group of people all under the age of 12.)

Part of our conversation centered around planning different units in a year long scope and sequence at various grade levels. And some of the discussion revolved around possible essential / compelling questions that might anchor each of those units. I don’t get the chance to have these kinds of discussions with K-6 people much – when I do, it’s always a good time. Once they start rolling, it’s hard to get them to slow down. We started with the basics: Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day Two: Strategies to Engage Students in Sourcing Content

Okay. The title had already pulled me in but any session that’s playing the Hamilton soundtrack as you enter the room is destined to be awesome.

Ashley and Brian Furgione are talking this afternoon about ways to encourage and support different ways of sourcing evidence. Yes, they are married. And both are middle school teachers and teach US History / Civics in Florida.

They started with the question:

How can we help engage kids in using primary sources and asking great sourcing questions?

And shared some examples: Read more

History Nerdfest 2016 Day One: DBQs and elementary kids

Yeah. I get it. #NCSS16 and #NSSSA16 have the words “social studies” in their titles. But Social Studies Nerdfest just doesn’t sound as cool as History Nerdfest. It just isn’t.

So . . . try to ignore it if it bugs you. Either way, I’ve got two and half days left in the annual National Social Studies Supervisors / National Council for the Social Studies conference – thousands of social studies teachers getting together to chat / learn / argue about all sorts of cool, fun, and new social studies stuffs. This year, we’re all together in Washington DC. How cool is that?

Just a bunch of history nerds getting together to get smarter. And every year I try as best that I can to document the nerdy goodness I run across. The first session of this year’s Nerdfest was actually a session I did at the NSSSA –  quick review of Virtual Reality in the Social Studies. It went well . . . right up until the Internet stopped connecting all of our devices in the Google Expeditions app.

Yeah. We faked it for a few minutes and eventually got a few people into the VR world. But still some great conversation about possibilities of VR in the SS.

The first session that I attended was titled Teaching and Assessing DBQs in the K-2 Grades. And you’re probably thinking what I was thinking. Seriously? I talk about having elementary kids use primary sources but the title was very intriguing. I was not disappointed.

Regina Wallace and Tashika Clanton of Clayton County Public Schools near Atlanta shared how their district is scaffolding the DBQ skills of five, six and seven year old kids. Yup. Pretty awesome. I tried to keep up and have pasted some of what they shared below.

Biggest takeaway? Read more

Nerdfest 2015 Day Four: Google Apps and Extensions for the Social Studies

The last day of any conference is always a bit bittersweet. You’ve had a great time. You’ve learned a lot. But, man, Sunday mornings are rough and a large piece of my brain is suggesting – loudly – that I should have stayed in bed.

Yeah, I know. #firstworldproblems.

But this session looks like it’s right in my wheelhouse. If using Google apps and tools to teach social studies doesn’t wake me up, then I’m in the wrong job.

We start by agreeing that Google is a great entry point for using lots of tools that helps students do social studies. Why should we be using Google?

  • supports the reading of non-fiction and content texts
  • encourages deciphering primary sources
  • applying social studies concepts
  • it’s more fun

They suggested buying their own website domain for using with kids. In fact, they suggest having two – a public one and private one for the teaching and learning. They can be connected but the private domain allows for specific filtering and controlling access. There was some discussion about why a separate private domain for individual classes adds value past what a district or school wide GAFE account might add.

They’re a Chromebook school so the Chrome Browser is already built into those laptops. But if you’re not using Chromebooks, using the Chrome Browser is still probably your best option if you plan on using tons of Googly things. Read more