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July 9, 2012
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Social Studies – Preparing Students for College, Career and Civic Life

  Teaching & Learning 
  • British star: Get kids out of classroom and on geography trips
    British television celebrity Michael Palin said students need to learn more about the world by seeing it for themselves, not just on computers. Palin, a former president of the Royal Geographical Society, said he believes schools should encourage teachers and students to spend less time in the classroom and instead take field trips focused on increasing students' knowledge of geography and the world. "It's an issue that directly relates to what we know of the earth," Palin said of geography. The Telegraph (London) (7/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • High schools focus on teaching children financial literacy
    Financial literacy is becoming a required course for high-school students in some states. Students are assigned a career and income and must figure out how to pay bills and still have money for spontaneous spending. "They have no concept of how to manage their finances. This will at least give them an idea," said Elsie Morris, an Oklahoma high-school teacher. Tahlequah Daily Press (Okla.) (7/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Some public schools choose single-sex classes
    About 500 public schools in the U.S. split up boys and girls by offering single-sex classes. Opponents include the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued to end some classes, arguing they violate Title IX's ban on sex discrimination in education. Proponents cite research that they say shows single-gender classes improve boys' reading skills. The Huffington Post/The Associated Press (7/8) 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!
  Standards & Assessments 
  • Coalition supports comprehensive education
    The newly formed College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness Coalition is asking federal officials to support a comprehensive education for students that includes the arts, social studies, history, foreign languages, physical education and health. The coalition notes that funding for such subjects has been diminished. "These actions threaten schools' and districts' ability to provide all students with an education that truly prepares them for college, careers, and active citizenship," said David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD, which is leading the coalition of more than two dozen organizations, including the National Council for the Social Studies. Education Week/Curriculum Matters blog (7/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fla. requires end-of-course exams in civics
    At a time when surveys show Americans' knowledge about their own government is lacking, lawmakers in Florida are hoping to help educate students by introducing new civics exams. By the 2014-15 academic year, middle-school students who do not pass the end-of-course exam in civics will not advance to high school. A field test of the exams will take place this year, with students' grades being affected by the exams in the 2013-14 school year. Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) (7/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ohio to adopt exams that measure college, career-readiness
    Beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, Ohio plans to replace its current high-school exams with more rigorous tests that measure college- and career-readiness. Officials say the new exams likely will help align expectations held by institutions of higher education with standards in high schools statewide. However, it is still unclear whether students' scores on the exams will be tied to graduation. The Cincinnati Enquirer (7/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • Initiative aims to link, store student-achievement data
    School systems have access to all sorts of student data stored in all sorts of places -- in instructional and assessment software, grade books and learning management systems, technology analyst Frank Catalano writes in this blog post. Accessing that data and combining it with data from other programs can be difficult. However, a new initiative seeks to develop a place in the cloud, where states can store and link student achievement data and connect it to instructional applications and Web resources. The Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI) plans a final release in December 2012 -- if technology, privacy and other issues can be resolved. blog (7/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Social Studies & Civic Life 
  • A summer civics lesson by working in City Hall
    Marlborough, Mass., has launched a summer jobs program that will give local students the opportunity to experience working for municipal government. Nineteen high-school students and 14 college students will be spread throughout the city's departments. "I'm really interested in government and politics," said student Michael McGuire. "I wanted to see how the local government works. It’s pretty cool." MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) (7/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.C. teachers' summer jobs add to classroom skills
    Two North Carolina middle-school teachers have summer jobs even their students might envy. Sixth-grade science teacher Dave Glenn is working as a park ranger through the National Park Service's Teacher to Ranger to Teacher program. Besides teaching visitors about Moores Creek Revolutionary War battlefield, Glenn is creating a field-trip guide for teachers and students to use when they visit the park. Meanwhile, social studies teacher Jason Hatfield is acting on the TV series "Homeland," a job he says helps him in the classroom as well. "You can bring different voices and different mannerisms to a lesson. Otherwise, geography and stuff like that, it's like, 'Who cares?'" Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) (7/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  NCSS Updates 
  • NCSS Annual Conference speaker Charles Haynes
    Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., will speak at the 2012 NCSS Annual Conference in Seattle. Haynes is best known for his efforts to find common ground on First Amendment conflicts in public schools. Over the past two decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools that have been endorsed by a broad range of religious, civil liberties, and educational organizations. Read more about conference speakers. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • NCSS Summer Workshop on technology in the classroom
    Social studies teachers need to feel comfortable with and be adept at using 21st-century tools as they teach critical skills required for effective citizenship in this new era of information. "Using Technology to Motivate Students and Increase Engagement in the Classroom" is two-day professional development experience, coordinated through the NCSS Technology Community that will give teachers these tools and skills and the opportunity to use them authentically in mini-workshops after each lesson. The workshop will be held August 9-10 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. Get more information and register. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Sail forth -- steer for the deep waters only."
--Walt Whitman,
American poet, essayist and journalist

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