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References to lenses as unique ways of seeing the world are increasingly common, especially in pedagogical texts that describe culturally responsive teaching.  Incorporating social history themes in the classroom is an excellent way to introduce new ways of seeing the world through three sets of culturally responses lenses, or glasses. The first pair of glasses refer to how students originally see the world through their own cultural framework. This framework is formed by students’ experiences within their own family, culture, and community. The second set of glasses help students “see” similarities and differences between their own experiences and those of ...
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After changing majors at Buffalo State to Social Studies Education, I enrolled in history/social studies courses that were very helpful to my future teaching, and education courses that were less so. Student teaching began at the start of my last semester. I was scheduled to begin at West Hertel Academy, a middle school in Buffalo. But “The Blizzard of ’85” postponed my start for a week. To keep people off the streets, Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin advised residents to, “Go home, buy a six pack of beer, and watch a good football game.” My buddies and I took that sincere advice to heart...especially the beer part. A week later it was time to start. It was a two-mile ...
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I am Douglas Graney, social studies teacher at Herndon High School, Herndon, Va.  In late November, 1985, I was interviewed by a young principal who seemed like a cool guy and a verging-on-elderly woman who was the social studies department chair. I was talking with the principal and the rapport was fine, we were connecting, the interview was going well. You know when you’re killing it, and I was. I had been asked to bring a sample lesson plan, and while I was talking to the principal I saw the old gal looking it over. Every few seconds she would shake her head sadly and roll her eyes. Well I’m going to have to win her over, I thought. The principal said to ...
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      I love history, but that love affair began outside the classroom. In elementary school, it wasn’t my social studies or history classes or a favorite teacher that first made me history fan – it was historical novels. By middle school, my history classes were okay, but we studied the usual, and often dull, political narratives. I didn’t really understand—or care—what a bunch of men did to govern societies distant in place and time. The historical people and events in those history classes were like numbers in the math book—mostly flat, colorless, and dull.      Historical novels made history come alive for me. In middle school, I worked as a student volunteer ...
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America’s War for the Greater Middle East:  A Military History, by Andrew Bacevich. New York:  Random House, 2016.  453 pages.  $18.00 paper.   Social Studies teachers who are committed to refining their understanding of contemporary American foreign policy will profit from reading Andrew Bacevich’s recent book America’s War for the Greater Middle East .  Over the last decade Bacevich, now Professor Emeritus at Boston University, has emerged as one of the most prominent and compelling critics of American foreign policy.  In a spate of articles and a handful of spirited books, Bacevich has attempted to warn the American public of the ruinous consequences ...
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All this week, various celebrations around the country will honor our nation's teachers. NCSS is proud to serve teachers and support promising practices in the social studies classroom. We would not be here without you! Thank you for inspiring our learners every day to learn about the world around them, and how they can be engaged and informed citizens in our world! Every teacher practices a special craft that is a life’s work and passion. We all can name a teacher who inspired us personally and professionally. That teacher may have become a mentor beyond the classroom. That teacher may have inspired a calling to pursue teaching as a profession. I am curious ...
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A few years ago, NCSS established the Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society, the only national program for high school junior and seniors that recognizes their excellence and achievement in social studies learning. In a short time, over 500 Rho Kappa chapters have been established in 38 U.S. states and 4 countries. If you’d like to learn more about Rho Kappa, check out www.socialstudies.org/rhokappa. We invite you to start a chapter in your own school and recognizing student success in our discipline! I believe that the future of social studies education will be heavily determined by our students. Their achievement and their passion for the social ...
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Learning from the Best

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Every year, professional associations recognize outstanding achievement in the classroom through Teacher of the Year awards. In my travels to many state social studies council conferences over the past two months, I’ve seen some variations on how these awards are presented: some are during a ticketed evening dinner, others during a breakfast or luncheon for all members. Some include a keynote speaker. Being recognized by your peers is one of the highest honors and humbling moments for any educator. The process of forming an awards committee, selecting a recipient from many outstanding educators, and organizing the awards event is an important part of any conference. ...
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In my 13 years as a teacher of high school American and world history, not once had I heard the term historiography. This was simply not a concept that was introduced in my college history courses nor one that would appear in my vast reading of American history. It was not until I was teaching at the university level that I first happened on the term while reading James Loewens Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of Textbooks & Get Students Excited About Doing History . After that, I dug a bit deeper and found the concept to be essential to truly understanding history itself. I was astounded that no one had ever thought to teach ...
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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Greater Metropolitan New York Social Studies Conference. This is the annual conference of the Association of Teachers of Social Studies/United Federation of Teachers (ATSS/UFT) , our affiliated council which serves educators in the New York City Department of Education. I have attended this conference for many years as a social studies curriculum specialist for the New York State Education Department and later as the President of the New York State Council for the Social Studies. It was a treat to return to my home state in my new capacity to learn from New York City educators and to share our NCSS 2016 annual ...
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This post is not a plea to add social studies to list of STEM disciplines. SSSTEM does not roll off the tongue politely in conversation. STEMSS is not a memorable acronym, either. I also worry that if we add too many more disciplines to STEM, were just going to end up with a clunky acronym for the traditional 8-10 course school day. Instead, this post is a thought that social studies education is the original STEM initiative. Consider this definition of STEM: STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and encompasses a vast array of subjects that fall into each of those terms. While it is almost impossible to list ...
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It started to dawn on me this week that we are entering the second full century of social studies education as we know it. Of course, there was not a specific date in which a formal resolution declared, .there shall be a new subject called social studies taught in every classroom and in every grade level throughout the United States. History is seldom that neat and tidy. An article titled Social Studies and the Birth of NCSS: 1783-1921 , published in a special 1995 edition of Social Education to commemorate NCSS 75th anniversary, provides a narrative on the growth of social studies as its own discipline over time. Did you know the term social studies ...
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Each year, NCSS partners with MyCollegeOptions(r), the nations largest college planning program, to survey high school students on their perceptions about their social studies experience. Teachers receive a survey about their schools course requirements and instructional program; they also comment on membership in associations like ours, benefits they derive from membership, and their continuing professional learning needs. This week, NCSS announced the survey findings, and all NCSS members can download a copy here . The survey data can be used as conversation-starters with colleagues, friends, and leaders. I encourage all NCSS members to frame discussions ...
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Many of us write a set of resolutions to help us plan for our start to the new year. This year I had a little help in writing my resolutions: our new NCSS Strategic Plan . The Strategic Plan identifies five Priorities Collaboration, Communication, Innovation, Inclusiveness, and Influence & Leadership which speak strongly to me as more than just a pledge for our organizations future. They frame my professional and personal commitment to social studies education in 2017. Our Board of Directors approved the new multi-year Strategic Plan during our 96th Annual Conference in Washington, DC last month. After the conference, I spent much of December unpacking ...
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For all those FRIENDS of NCSS Community members in DC. Two events are scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2016. Our exhibit in the Communities Showcase will take place in the Poster Session area of the Exhibit hall from 11:45-1:15. Please stop by the table, identify yourself, and share some thoughts with conference attendees about ways to increase our membership numbers and especially support our first time conference attendees and the 50 newcomers who received a scholarship to attend the conference. Our annual business meeting will take place in the Woodley Park Room at the Mariott Marquis from 3:50 - 4:50. My proposed agenda follows: ...
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Friends of NCSS Bylaws

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Community Bylaws: (Community name) Community FRIENDS OF NCSS 1.1 Composition 1.1.2 Open to any interested NCSS members 1.2 Time of Meeting 1.2.1 Annual Meeting 1.2.2 Mid-Year Conference Call 1.2.3 Sub-Committee Meetings (as needed) 1.3 Community (Name) Purposes and Duties 1.3.1 To investigate, consider, and propose ways of defining, promoting, and enhancing effective use and appropriate role of technology within NCSS, the profession, school settings, and society at large as these may be affected by social studies educators. These ...
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For all those FRIENDS of NCSS Community members in DC. Two events are scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2016. Our exhibit in the Communities Showcase will take place in the Poster Session area of the Exhibit hall from 11:45-1:15. Please stop by the table, identify yourself, and share some thoughts with conference attendees about ways to increase our membership numbers and especially support our first time conference attendees and the 50 newcomers who received a scholarship to attend the conference. Our annual business meeting will take place in the Woodley Park Room at the Mariott Marquis from 3:50 - 4:50. My proposed agenda follows: ...
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Below is the information on Asia-related sessions at NCSS 2016. Print copies will be available at the NCTA exhibit booth. Stop by and pick up a copy! Asia and Asian-American Sessions National Council for the Social Studies December 2-4, 2016 Friday, December 2 8:45am 9:45am Through Chinatown's Eyes: Racial Identity during Washington, DC's 1968 Riots Room: 103A Filmmaker Penny Lee's documentary reveals how Chinese Americans, neither black nor white, saw their lives and neighborhoods threatened and transformed by rioting that rocked Chinatown following Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Presenters: Ting-Yi ...
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Please join us for the Asia Community meeting at NCSS! We welcome anyone, so please bring a colleague, an old friend, or a new friend! We hope to see you there. Friday, December 2 10:00-11:00am Capitol Room, Marriot
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The following was shared by Civic Mission of School Executive Director Ted McConnell. Secretary of Education John King just finished addressing the National Press Club here in Washington on the topic of Civic Education. His talk was entitled "Hand in Hand: Well rounded Education and Civic Engagement." Here are excerpts of his talk: More and better civics education helps kids become the type of citizens who will work against inequality in their communities that impact things like law enforcement, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. said at the National Press Club Wednesday . Overall, schools and colleges should take preparing ...
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