October 27, 2021
NCSS SmartBrief
Social Studies – Preparing Students for College, Career and Civic LifeSIGN UP ⋅   SHARE
Teaching & Learning
Virtual escape room lesson uses grade-level standards
Using virtual escape-room design with grade-level standards grabbed the attention of fifth-grade history students, writes Marielle Burt, a former elementary-school teacher who is now focused on theater and arts education. In this first-person article, Burt writes about the lessons with teams of students working on their own game's story, aesthetics, puzzles, mechanics and technology, a process that helps increase their collaboration and problem-solving skills.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (10/27) 
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Teachers share how to use art in core lessons
Teachers can increase student engagement in lessons with the addition of art, such as sketching illustrations for history lessons or analyzing protest songs from the Vietnam War era, writes social studies teacher Kelsey Pycior of New Jersey. In this blog post by social studies teacher Larry Ferlazzo, Pycior and others share how to bring art into science, math and history classes, including veteran language arts teacher Gretchen Bernabei, who shares how students have responded to a lesson asking them to write their thoughts about an uncaptioned photo, such as of fine art or a pet.
Full Story: Education Week (10/25) 
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Connecting to Tech Industry Professionals Matters.
Students with STEM career knowledge are more likely to choose a STEM career, according to the International Journal of STEM Education (2018). Amazon Future Engineer offers virtual career talks and panel events with Amazon engineers, designers, interns and more.
Professional Development
School leaders can take steps to make the most of technology license use at their schools by ensuring teachers are aware of available resources, writes STEM integration transformation coach Victoria Thompson. Leaders should ask educators about the tech resources they are using and which tools they find effective, as well as reevaluate license needs regularly, Thompson advises.
Full Story: Edutopia (10/26) 
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Taking a Multisensory Approach to K-5 Reading
Elementary school is a crucial time of growth in the educational journey of children, and strong literacy skills are a key facet of that journey. Using a multisensory approach to K-5 reading can lay a foundation for reading proficiency that lasts a lifetime. Learn how!
Technology in the Classroom
Wes Cottongim, principal at Cumberland Trace Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ky., worked with the school's assistant principal and librarian to guide a school redesign that supported student engagement and active learning. In this blog post, Cottongim offers seven tips on encouraging active learning spaces in schools, including giving students seating options.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (10/26) 
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The Proven Learning Benefits of Purposeful Play
As many schools head back to hybrid and traditional classroom settings, teachers and faculty members should look for new and innovative ways to improve learning outcomes for their students and make engagement in learning a priority. Here's how incorporating purposeful play gives teachers the necessary tools to improve learning outcomes. Read the SmartFocus
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Social Studies & Civic Life
A statue to honor the Civil War's US Colored Troops has been added to the public square in Franklin, Tenn., near the 1899 statue of an unnamed Confederate soldier. While some residents wanted -- and still want -- the Confederate monument removed, others in the community say the additional bronze statue and five markers honor the contributions made by about 180,000 Black soldiers who served in the US Army during the Civil War.
Full Story: The New York Times (10/25) 
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Students at a California high school are using their culinary skills to give back through a new club, Kitchens for Change. Club leaders said they started the group after recognizing the effect of food insecurity in their community.
Full Story: Turlock Journal (Calif.) (10/22) 
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Teachers Mandy Hancock and Sabrina Hight of Malakoff High School in Texas have formed a nonprofit organization aimed at providing food for students after recognizing that many teachers were sending food home with students over the weekend. The organization, Building Better Kids, provides food but also has helped with other needs, such as funds for utility bills.
Full Story: KLTV-TV (Tyler, Texas) (10/25) 
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Why Education Leaders Need Coaches, Too
Teachers and staff carry an ever greater responsibility for student success. And if there was ever a time when leader coaching and professional development were needed, it's now. Read this SmartFocus to make sure your leader PD and coaching has the potential for greatest impact.
NCSS Updates
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"Pandemic 101: A Roadmap to Help Students Grasp an Economic Shock"
From the March/April 2021 Social Education, this article provides a close look at visual data on GDP, unemployment, interest rates and inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic will provide students with important insights into the economic effects of the health crisis and monetary and fiscal policy responses. Read more.
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