Jim Crow museum on racism stirs controversy, debate
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia is holding its grand opening tomorrow at Michigan's Ferris State University. The museum's 2,000-piece collection of racist artifacts was donated to the university by former Ferris State sociology professor David Pilgrim, the museum's curator who has been collecting the items since the 1970s. The exhibits are not a "shrine to racism," he said. "The only real value of the museum has ever been to really engage people in a dialogue," he said. Time.com
W.Va. holds country's only statewide social studies fair
The West Virginia Department of Education recently announced the winners of the only statewide social studies fair in the nation. Students in grades three through 12 competed in the event, presenting research in areas ranging from anthropology to world history. "The fair helps our students to broaden and deepen their understanding of a diverse and ever changing society," said Jorea Marple, state superintendent. The Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.)
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Professional learning communities help boost student achievement
Some teachers at Petal High School in Mississippi don't work alone; they work together -- in professional learning communities they call "Lesson Study Groups." The groups meet every day during school hours to discuss lessons, teaching strategies, curriculum and other issues. "The magic of lesson study is, let's get it right the first time, but if we don't, lesson study gives us an avenue to fix it," AP history teacher Si Thompson said of his high-school social studies group. The Hattiesburg American (Miss.)
Value of professional-development days questioned
Some educators in Canada are questioning the value of the country's traditional professional-development days and calling on officials to institute reform. Critics of the current system say professional development consisting of occasional meetings or workshops is inconvenient for parents and of questionable value for teachers. To be effective, said professor Bill Whelan -- a member of a provincial commission tasked with making recommendations on education reform -- professional development should be built into teachers' daily and weekly schedules. National Post (Canada)
Will the common core survive implementation?
As schools prepare to implement the Common Core State Standards, some educators and experts say they are concerned the transition from blueprint to day-to-day tool could be problematic. Implementation will determine success or failure, they say. "It's a huge, heavy lift if we are serious about teachers teaching it, kids learning it, curricula reflecting it, tests aligned with it, and kids passing those tests," said Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Education Week (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org)
|Technology in the Classroom
Official touts Pa. school's innovative television news program
"Much of what we think of, when we think of learning, is a textbook, a teacher and a classroom. However, traditional learning should and ought to be supplemented through innovative programs such as DVE-TV," writes Delaware Valley school board member Zachary K. Pearce in this blog post. The "innovative program" Pearce is referring to is a 20-year-old television news program at Delaware Valley Elementary School, in Milford, Pa., in which students write, anchor and broadcast real news stories to their peers. The Huffington Post/The Blog
Study: Computer programs can grade student essays
A recent study of essay-scoring software has concluded that some computer programs produce scores similar to those of human scorers. The study, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, doesn't resolve the debate. The National Council of Teachers of English opposes computer essay-scoring, while proponents say the software is sufficient for scoring the large numbers of unsophisticated essays encountered by most teachers. USA Today
|Social Studies & Civic Life
Sociology project involves students in the community
Students at Kent State University's East Liverpool campus recently planned, organized and managed a free community picnic honoring military families and veterans. The event marked the final project for Lydia Rose's Introduction to Sociology course. Rose each year asks students to choose an issue that interests them and create an event that includes the community. The Review (East Liverpool, Ohio)
Meteorologists call on social scientists to help shape storm warnings
Meteorologists and social scientists are working together to try to make severe storm warnings more effective. "[Meteorology's] main practice is to provide scientific information to people who aren't necessarily scientists," said Kenny Blumenfeld, a geographer and the director of projects at ORC International. "We need to do a little work understanding the people we're trying to give the information to." A number of factors, including poverty and language differences, can affect how people react to such warnings, he said. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)
Touch, Type, and Transform: iPads in the Social Studies Classroom
An article in the March-April issue of Social Education highlights the potential of iPads to achieve higher levels of student engagement in social studies. The article presents the experiences of a third-grade class in a Title 1 School in Tampa, Fla., whose teacher bundled several apps for the iPad together into an effective learning package. The use of iPads in school settings may help redefine learning spaces, according to the article's authors, Ilene T. Berson, Michael J. Berson, and Meghan McGlinn Manfra. Read more.
Learn more about Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society
National Council for the Social Studies announces Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. Rho Kappa is the only national organization for high school juniors and seniors that recognizes excellence in the field of Social Studies. Any accredited public or private high school can apply for a local chapter, through which individuals will be inducted into Rho Kappa Honor Society. Rho Kappa provides national recognition and opportunities for exploration in the social studies. Learn more or apply for a charter.
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