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September 28, 2012
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Social Studies – Preparing Students for College, Career and Civic Life

  Teaching & Learning 
  • Social studies student helps school go digital for reading
    R-5 High School in Grand Junction, Colo., lacked a library and other space to store books. Student Ezra Fortner decided to work on the problem as a project for his social studies elective class, coming up with the idea of using e-readers in place of books. Donations have purchased the devices, which R-5 social studies teacher David Edwards praised for helping struggling readers gain confidence and for reducing peer pressure, because students can't easily see what page their classmates are reading. The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colo.) (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teacher says textbooks are just one of many classroom resources
    Former fifth-grade science teacher Kerry Matthews believes textbooks should make up only about 10% of a teacher's curriculum, she shares in this opinion article. Matthews writes she often used materials she found in the library, instead of the textbook. She describes how she helped her students learn about erosion through free videos from, an organization she works for as a technology trainer for teachers. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)(free registration) (9/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Calif. law changes how school ratings are calculated
    A new California law will require that, beginning in 2016, no more than 60% of state high-school rankings be based on standardized test scores, while the formula for lower grades remains at a minimum of 60%. Under the bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, state rankings will be calculated using student test scores, attendance, graduation rates and yet-to-be-determined measures of student achievement. The law also places more emphasis on areas that previously had little -- science and social science. San Jose Mercury News (Calif.)/Associated Press(free registration) (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Dust Bowl National Youth Summit: On October 17, 2012, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and WETA Television are offering a unique opportunity to engage middle and high school students in a national dialogue with renowned filmmaker Ken Burns and environmental experts to discuss contemporary environmental issues and the legacy of the Dust Bowl. REGISTER HERE
  Policy Watch 
  • Why geographic literacy matters
    Many Americans lack a basic understanding of the world's geography, and that can make it harder to grasp what is going on around the globe, according to experts cited in this column by Barbara Brotman. This lack of knowledge is due in part to a de-emphasis of geographic education in schools that began in the 1960s, according to Daniel Edelson of the National Geographic Society. However, Edelson and others suggest basic knowledge and understanding of where places are and why that matters is essential. Chicago Tribune(free registration) (9/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Expect "wins and losses" during first season of common core
    The transition to the Common Core State Standards is a "game changer," writes Joellen Killion, senior adviser at Learning Forward. Killion notes that, much like football, schools must remember that no single person is responsible for the success of the game -- or common core. Shared accountability is key, and just as a football team reviews game film to help correct mistakes, schools need to ensure educators receive meaningful feedback. Education Week Teacher/Learning Forward’s PD Watch blog (9/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Rubrics. Test questions. Tiering assessments. Grading effort. Redos. Report cards. In his thoroughly revised edition of Fair Isn't Always Equal, Rick Wormeli provides a thorough guide for teachers and administrators to tackle challenging and controversial assessment and grading practices in the differentiated classroom. Preview the entire book!
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • Report: Schools should go digital within 5 years
    A report released Monday by the State Educational Technology Directors Association suggests states and school districts should completely shift from print to digital resources in the next five years. In pointing out the benefits of digital educational resources, the association finds that there are 22 states that already have adopted such resources. The association finds that digital resources will help districts cut costs and improve education. T.H.E. Journal (9/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Social Studies & Civic Life 
  • Irish historian uncovers Abraham Lincoln's generosity
    Abraham Lincoln was one of many Americans to donate money to help people suffering during the Great Irish Famine, says Irish historian Christine Kinealy. Working with New Jersey's Drew University, Kinealy found Lincoln made a donation of $10 (about $500 in today's dollars) in 1847, when Lincoln was a new Congressman from Illinois. Kinealy made the discovery while studying a list of donors, which also included then-American President James L. Polk, who donated $50, and British monarch Queen Victoria. (9/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NCSS Updates 
  • October state and local social studies conferences
    October is a big month for conferences of our state and local affiliated councils. More than 20 conferences are scheduled for next month. Check out the full schedule of local, state and regional social studies conferences on our website. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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In the cellars of the night, when the mind starts moving around old trunks of bad times, the pain of this and the shame of that, the memory of a small boldness is a hand to hold."
--John Leonard,
American critic

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