For several years, I have heard the buzz about CUE’s annual conference in Palm Springs. Many of my teacher friends have gone. I have heard that 15,000 teachers attend. Instead of going to CUE, I have been doggedly close-minded about only attending “History conferences” to increase my content knowledge and get better at my craft of being a history teacher. I have enjoyed attending and presenting at conferences sponsored by The California Council for Social Studies, The National Council for Social Studies, The Southern California Social Science Association, the UC History-Social Science Project, and The World History Association, but I have realized that the speakers work the circuit and can be repetitive. Over my teaching career, my pedagogy has shifted from delivering content to increasing historical thinking.
The influence of common core and college readiness standards have honed my focus on using historical content to teach skills. I have examined listening skills, writing skills, speaking skills, collaboration skills, basically, anything that is difficult, if not impossible to measure with a standardized test. From what I understand about CUE, their mission is to inspire innovative thinkers and bring them together. This aligns nicely with my philosophy that great teaching is teams of teachers working together, not individual teachers working alone. For those who have never experienced a CUE Rockstar camp, this video explains their program.
Later this spring, I will attend the CUE Rockstar – History Teacher Edition on the USS Hornet. I want to shred a session on speaking and listening instruction because I have not spent enough time improving these skills in my academic program. I hope that many History teachers will sign up and join the CUE Rockstars in Nor Cal for a memorable and powerful learning experience as we host a sleepover on the USS Hornet.
Scott Petri, SCSSA President
cross-posted at HistoryRewriter.com
The NCSS Social Studies Performance-Based Assessment Clearinghouse has been created to provide:
Many teachers have created their own performance assessments that could be included in this archive. For instance, my students were recently asked to take notes on a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. Then, they were asked to use their textbook to corroborate or match the historical details from the video biography and provide a page number as a citation.
The chart illustrates that advanced students were able to corroborate 12-20 facts in one 53-minute class period, while lower-achieving students could only match 1 to 5 historical details from the textbook to the film in the same time frame. This population of 9th and 10th grade World History students (N=30) had an average performance of 7.87 historical matches. This activity gives students a purpose for taking notes and immediate feedback on the usefulness of their note-taking techniques. The image below shows how students matched video content to the historical details in their textbook. How do you teach students to corroborate facts using multiple sources?
Proposed Sessions for our EdCamp Session beginning at 11:30 am.
2016 is shaping up to be a difficult year for Civics and Social Studies teachers interested in teaching about the Presidential election. Ainsley O’ Connell recently wrote Have Politics Become So Ugly that Educators are Afraid to Teach Civics? for Fast Company magazine. The article claims that schools wary of Clinton v. Trump minefields are avoiding teaching Civics altogether. Further, as the language on the campaign trail polarizes voters, even the driest of lessons can prompt parent complaints or stoke bullying. Indiana high school students chanted "Build a wall!" at a basketball game in March, an ugly jeer aimed at Latino students on the rival team.
A survey published by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that 43% of K-12 educators are "hesitant to teach about the election," and more than half have "seen an increase in uncivil political discourse" in their schools. Other teachers have been prohibited from discussing the subject. One middle school principal in Portland, Oregon, instituted a "gag order" on election topics, according to the survey.
In Tennessee, a Latino child was told by classmates that he will be deported and trapped behind a wall. He now asks his Kindergarten teacher every day, “Is the wall here yet?” Many children are using the political discourse they hear on TV to gang up on others. Muslim kids are being called terrorists. “Students are hearing more hate language than I have ever heard at our school before,” says a high school teacher in Helena, Montana.
Thanks to generous sponsorship from the Arasyln Foundation, our speakers: Anthony Pennay, Becky Valbuena, Rebekah Harding and Gregorio Medina will help Southern Californian educators sift through the rhetoric and Teach The Election on October 1st in Burbank. Sign up to Join us at Pickwick Gardens.
A group of SCSSA members met in Alhambra to see Snowden Live and view the Oliver Stone film. We would like your opinion about our next History teacher movie night. Denial or The Birth of a Nation? Leave your opinion in the comments section and we will poll those interested for convenient dates and locations.
On Monday, September 12, 2016, SCSSA President Scott Petri is hosting #sschat on Twitter at 7:00 pm EST and 4:00 pm PST. Join us by following the hashtag #sschat and numbering your answers (A1... A2... A3...).
Q1 Describe a recent speaking assignment from your class? Or what prevents you from assigning speaking tasks?
Q2 How would you characterize the academic conversations that occur in your class?
Q3 How do you measure the quality of the academic conversations in your class?
Q4 When teaching speaking skills, do you focus more on building a speech or performing a speech?
Q5 How do you assess your students listening skills in Social Studies?
Q6 Poll Question: https://goo.gl/forms/fTP6JgMIQu2DcfVu2 What listening objectives are most frequently used in your class?
Q7 How do you prepare your students for listening activities?
Q8 What resources do you use to improve your students’ listening skills?
Interested in Social Studies learning experiences in Southern California? Follow @SCSSA_Prez.
This summer, after seeing the exceedingly well-made Anthropoid, about the assassination of Hitler's third-in-command, some of us started talking about creating a History Teacher's Movie Club. We will rotate it around the greater Los Angeles area, pick a theater and a time, view the movie together, then collaborate on how the film could be used in Social Studies instruction. Our first viewing party will be the Oliver Stone directed Snowden on Sept. 14 in Alhambra. Fathom Events will broadcast a conversation between Oliver Stone and Edward Snowden via satellite, then teachers can view and discuss.
Other movies we are considering are:
Denial (Sept. 30)
The Birth of a Nation (Oct. 7)
Nat Turner’s Rebellion
Hacksaw Ridge (Nov. 4)
Allied (Nov. 23)
Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard
Land of Mine (Dec. 19)
German POWs digging up landmines in Denmark
Hidden Figures (Jan. 13)
True story of African American female engineering team at NASA.
Papa: Hemingway in Cuba (April 29)
Dunkirk (Jul. 21 2017)
If you are interested in attending or organizing one of these events, tweet us @SCSSA_Prez, post your interest on our Facebook page, or leave a comment below.
It has long been said that good teachers borrow and the best teachers steal. Implicit in that is the understanding that when we teachers share our ideas and materials with one another our students benefit greatly. As a new teacher I was shocked how little material was available to me. Thankfully, time and the Internet have greatly improved that access. Unfortunately, Teachers Pay Teachers seems to be on a mission to undo any gains that have been made.
Though I’ve heard others say they’ve found good, free materials on TpT, they are the exception not the rule. This is by design. The site goes out of its way to make free content as limited as possible. As a buyer you have to make multiple extra clicks to search for free materials. Free lessons, no matter how popular or highly rated, are not posted at the top of site search results. As a seller you are told multiple times that should not list too many free items nor any large items for free. They state “excessive numbers of free items muddies the TpT catalogue.” How exactly? They don’t say. Apparently they operate under the theory that any free item is inherently less useful than a paid one.
Which is another problem I have with the site. It encourages teachers, especially new ones, to use materials that may not be the best for their students. Our brains are easily tricked into thinking that price means quality. It is the very basis of most luxury advertising. So, when one buys something from TpT they are given a false sense that it must be a good product. Sadly, on TpT, many of them are not. Tons of them are readings with multiple choice questions attached - some just link to a video and don’t even bother to provide a reading. While writing your own questions for appropriate media for your classroom is plenty valid, grabbing someone else’s and just assuming it will work is not.
Which leads to the core problem of the whole site - it just isn’t about collaboration or making education better for all students. It is about making money. We rightly get upset as teachers when corporations try to profit off our kids. If I design something for my students that learn from and are engaged with why would I do anything to hinder other students from sharing in that success? Would I put up a paywall with my colleague next door? Absolutely not. Neither would I do so to a colleague a street, city, state or even country away. I am the teacher I am today because others shared freely with me. My lessons are what they are because they build off what others have created. That is collaboration and should be our aim. It is not what TpT is about.
There are other sites out there that exist to share free lessons among educators like TES.com and betterlesson.org. There are also plenty out there sharing their own free resources specifically for social studies like EDsitement. That should be our goal, not personal profit.
The SCSSA is interested in starting a member-run blog network devoted to issues in teaching Social Studies. This post comes from Brent Pillsbury, who argues teachers know better than publishers when it comes to distributing classroom lessons that work and they should be compensated for these efforts. Please post any comments below. Remember we need to model civil discourse for our students.
Two years ago, I watched a video about a teacher named Deanna Jump who had made 1 million dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers. I thought to myself, if she can do it, why can’t I? That thought began a journey that would radically change my family’s life. In 1995, I was hired at a local high school to teach World History, US History and coach tennis. Before long, as is the case with many new teachers, I was overworked and not making enough money to pay the bills of our growing three-child family. I was coaching private lessons on the weekend and selling stuff on eBay. I decided I needed to do something different because the enrollment numbers at my school were just not there for me to make even more money coaching or teaching special programs.
So in March of 2014, I began to work on my TPT store, slowly adding products and using the software I needed to make things sell. Now, just two years later, I have over 500 products that help new teachers and veteran teachers alike, including lessons and units and even an entire year’s worth of World History curriculum. I think selling on TPT goes much deeper than just creating products for money. Doing this is part of my mission to help young teachers spend more time with their families and friends.
It’s important to remember, though, that posting on TPT isn’t just taking an old lesson and throwing it up on the site, positive it will quickly sell. I put hundreds of hours of work into my store and really feel strongly about making quality products available to others. As with anything, you need to put your heart and soul into it or it will not help you or anyone else. I typically spend at least one night on the weekend and 2-3 hours a day during most of the summer working on lessons or fixing cover art.
TPT may not seem like a full-time or even part-time gig until you try to leave. Questions and comments arrive at all hours of the day and require time and effort to respond to. Now in my second year on TPT, I think I have settled into a nice groove and almost everyone I have met on the site has been incredible. Teachers are smart and resourceful and have to pay their bills like everyone else. Having another option to make money is so nice and has really saved me in a pinch. I am really looking forward to the second half of the year and I have been really happy buying and creating for teacherspayteachers.com
If you have any questions feel free to email me or check out my store or blog.