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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Tag Archives: social studies

Big History integrates the insights of the sciences with the humanities into lessons designed for students to think about the past and future.  According to Big History, by sharing “the big picture” and challenging students to explore the relationship between key events over time, Big History ultimately helps young people develop key critical thinking skills and the ability to better synthesize and apply complex information.

Are you looking for ways to integrate technology with the world history classroom, critical thinking, reading like a historian, making an argument and the Common Core?

You are invited to learn the answers to these questions on March 12, and to hear from teachers and creators of Big History why educators love the Big History Project for 9th and 10th grade history students.  And don’t miss the opportunity to meet Bob Bain, Professor of Education, University of Michigan and contributor to the Big History Project, and partake in drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Forest Park Visitor Center. This event is bring your own device optional, and in partnership with Forest Park Forever & Big History.

This after school event is free, but registration is required.

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The Turkish Cultural Foundation and the World Affairs Councils of America have developed a three-part program on Turkey, with a special emphasis on Turkish culture- modern and historic- to American students and teachers.

The first part of the program is a workshop for teachers taking place March 8, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Interested educators must attend the Saturday seminar in order to participate in the Study Tour of Turkey, the second part of the program.  The St. Louis group’s Study Tour consists of a 12-day stay in Turkey during the summer of 2014, and will also include about 55 teachers from other parts of the country.  The third and final portion is during the fall of 2014, and consists of programs highlighting Turkish culture and history. Study Tour teachers are expected to participate in developing these programs.

The March 8 workshop at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is free, and includes lunch and parking fees. Prior registration is required. To be eligible to apply for the Study Tour in Turkey this summer, teachers must meet the following criteria:

• Currently employed full-time as a classroom humanities, art, or literature teacher, media specialist or principal for grades 6-12 in the St. Louis area (or bordering region) and will be employed full-time as a classroom teacher, media specialist or principal in grades 6-12 next year
• Possess a valid U.S. passport and/or ability to acquire a U.S. passport upon notification of acceptance for the trip
• Provide the $800 registration fee toward the cost of the trip, and travel to Chicago at your own expense. In addition to these expenses, teachers are advised by the Turkish Cultural Foundation to budget approximately $100 for tips to guides and drivers and approximately $25 for visa fees
• Not resided in or traveled to Turkey during the past seven years

For more information about this program or to register for the preliminary seminar, please contact the World Affairs Council of St. Louis at (314) 727-9988 .

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EducationPlus announces a series of videoconference dialogs among schools on the topics of improving unaccredited schools and the St. Louis school transfer program.

These conversations are suggested for classes in Civics, Government, History, Journalism and Social Studies. High school students from different demographic areas of St. Louis, including the unaccredited districts and the receiving districts, will have an opportunity to talk with each other in a series of five videoconference dialogs. Schools must participate in all five sessions and have a way to connect over the Internet with voice and video to participate; this could be by having a  Polycom-type unit or Skype-type connection. Time will be determined by participating schools and EducationPlus. To learn more, including session descriptions and the series’ alignment with Common Core ELA Standards, follow this link.

Session 1 | Jan. 29, 2014
Session 2 | Feb. 24, 2014
Session 3 | March 31, 2014
Session 4 | April 15, 2014
Session 5 | May 7, 2014

Objectives of this program are for the students to:

  • Research the background of the school accreditation process and the current transfer program, including national and Missouri state educational policy
  • Interview the parties involved with Missouri school accreditation and the current transfer program
  • Evaluate and summarize school accreditation from all perspectives
  • Compile and document data and anecdotal evidence related to the current transfers
  • Brainstorm and develop recommendations for education policy in Missouri
  • Present results of study to appropriate parties

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Students are invited to use their creativity to express the difficult and inspiring lessons of the Holocaust in this contest from the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center.  Topics may include:

• Acts of courage and heroism
• Resistance and rescue
• The consequences of indifference
• Persecution, intolerance and injustice
• Preserving humanity in situations of great adversity
• History and lessons of the Holocaust

There will be two divisions for both the Art and Writing categories; a student may submit only one entry in each category. There are two divisions: division 1 will include grades 6–8, division 2 will include grades 9–12.

Students may write a poem, newspaper article, story, play/dialogue or essay for the writing contest. Students may create a sculpture, drawing, photograph, painting, poster, collage or 5-minute video or DVD for the art contest.  All charcoal, chalk and pastels must be treated with fixatives; for safety reasons, art (painting or sculpture) may not include real barbed wire, jagged glass or plastic.

The museum encourages teachers to use the  “Guidelines for Teaching the Holocaust” provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, which are posted on their website at

This form is required for submission: ArtWriteEntry2014.

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mt vernon pd

Through the support of the Paul M. Shatz and Deane Lee Shatz Charitable Foundation, Missouri teachers from grades 3-12 are invited to spend a Weekend with George Washington. This four-day immersive residential program at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, will provide an intensive study of George Washington and his world. The curriculum during October 10-13, 2013 includes discussions led by noted Washington scholars and hands-on workshops exploring Washington’s life and interests at Mount Vernon. Through study, discussion, tours, and projects, participants will gain a new and deeper understanding of the life and character of George Washington and his unique legacy in creating and shaping the principles of America’s democracy.

Discussion Topics:
• Leadership Commander in Chief
• Constitutional Convention
• Presidency Slavery
• Visionary Farmer
• Entrepreneur Investigating Primary Resources

This institute is free of charge; all meals, workshops, and materials are included in the program – the challenge is to put together a good application and then cover your expenses for travel to the site. The application is due September 6. For Teachers’ Institute program questions, and application form, please contact

Thanks to our friends at the Missouri History Museum for sharing this opportunity with us!

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The American Heritage Society is providing online resources for teaching English Language Arts and U.S. History. The Society is building the system with a grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which is making a major commitment to developing tools that teachers need to help students meet the expectations of new College and Career-ready academic standards.  According to the Society, “Heritage Education will link thousands of quality nonfiction resources to Common Core standards, providing easy-to-use guidelines about what high school students need for success. This extraordinarily rich archive includes thousands of historical essays by the preeminent historians of the last half century.”

Key Features:

  • Thousands of primary historical documents from leading museums and archives across the U.S.
  • Over 5,000 American Heritage Magazine essays written by leading historians over the last 60 years
  • 300 bundles of essays linked with primary sources, CCSS, and instructional strategies
  • Resources grouped by Lexile measures, Historical Era, ELA Themes

In addition, the Heritage Education project is seeking teachers, schools and school districts to participate in a pilot program in Fall 2013. They are looking for ELA and U.S. History teachers who teach high school students. They’ve extended the application deadline until May 31, learn more:

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facing history logoExplore Facing History themes & topics in live, interactive, facilitated online learning events. Features such as two-way audio, multi-point video, interactive whiteboard, application and desktop sharing, rich media, and breakout rooms allow Facing History staff & scholars to engage with participants with the benefits of a traditional classroom in a virtual setting. All sessions are recorded for those who cannot attend the live event.

Here’s the available spring line up of free webinars:

Choices in Little Rock Web Tour | Tuesday, March 26 · 8 p.m. EDT
Join Facing History Program Associate for Technology K.C. Kourtz and participants of our “Choices in Little Rock” online course on a guided tour of Discover new resources and learn where to find the resources explored in the “Choices in Little Rock” course, that will help bring American civil rights history to your classroom.

Holocaust and Human Behavior Web Tour | Monday, April 1 · 8 p.m. EDT
Join Facing History Program Associate for Technology K.C. Kourtz and participants in the “Holocaust and Human Behavior” online course on a guided tour of Discover new resources and learn where to find resources explored in the “Holocaust and Human Behavior” course, that will help bring the history of the Holocaust to your classroom.

Survivor Testimony in the Classroom | Thursday, April 4 · 8 p.m. EDT
Join Facing History Program Associate for Technology K.C. Kourtz for a tour of Facing History’s online survivor testimony pages and learn how to use these resources with students. Participants will discover materials and strategies for preparing students for a survivor classroom visit.

Choices in Little Rock and the Common Core State Standards |
Wednesday, April 10 · 8 p.m. EDT
Join Facing History Program Associate Daniel Braunfeld as he explores with online course participants how “Choices in Little Rock” resources and teaching strategies align with the Common Core State Standards.

Holocaust and Human Behavior and the Common Core State Standards | Thursday, April 11 · 8 p.m. EDT
Join Facing History Senior Program Associate Jocelyn Stanton as she explores with online seminar participants how “Holocaust and Human Behavior” resources and teaching strategies align with the Common Core State Standards.

According to its website, Facing History engages nearly two million students annually through its network of more than 29,000 educators around the world and reaches the public and the broader educational market through community events and extensive online resources.

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Social Studies educators, come meet in St. Louis this fall for the world’s largest & most comprehensive social studies professional development conference, the 93rd annual National Council for Social Studies Conference. With the theme Gateway to the Core of Learning, the conference will feature many sessions designed to help districts, schools, and teachers integrate common core literacy standards into social studies classrooms, and highlight ways to work with other academic disciplines to incorporate the standards. The conference will also include more than 500 sessions and speakers covering the breadth of social studies subjects across all grade levels. For every social studies educator working with Common Core, literacy, and social studies standards, the NCSS Conference is the place to be! In addition, the 2013 call for proposals now opensubmission deadline February 25.

With the conference theme, “Gateway to the Core of Learning,” there is room for a variety of proposals across all grade levels and subjects. Integrating key literacy skills and innovative social studies curriculum is a challenge facing school administrators, curriculum developers, and teacher across America. Sub-Themes include:

• Common Core: Content Area Reading, Writing, and Social Studies
• Global Competencies, Global Perspectives, Global Marketplace
• Sustainable Social Studies
• Sports in History
• Music, Popular Culture, and the Study of History
• Social Justice

Additional information on themes, presentation types, and selection criteria plus a quick tutorial on how to write a winning proposal can be found on the NCSS website The conference is November 22-24.

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Thomas Jefferson | Flickr The three-week institute Thomas Jefferson: Personality, Character and Public Life, offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will take place at Boston University from July 8 to 26, 2013.  Speakers include R. B. Bernstein, Peter Hatch, Joanne Freeman, Jan Lewis, and Peter Onuf. The institute will seek to deepen our understanding of one of the most important figures in American history, a figure who is fascinating, influential, inspiring, and embattled.

Focusing on Jefferson’s personality and character and connecting them to his public career will be the theme of the first week, followed by an examination of  his views on religion, his role as a family man, and his correspondence with John Adams. In the final week, the Institute turns to slavery, science, and money.

The application and further information (like the stipend for teachers is $2,700; itinerary and speaker bios) is at the institute’s website.

During the three weeks, participants will also ponder some larger questions:

  • Is the intimate life knowable?
  • Does it connect to the public man or woman?
  • Do we each fashion our own version of Jefferson to reflect our values and needs?
  • What is Jefferson’s legacy?

Discussion will include pedagogical questions:

  • What role should biography and primary sources play in history instruction?
  • How does teaching biographies fit with state standards and high stakes testing?
  • How do we teach intimate information about famous Americans to young people?
  • How can teachers be honest and realistic yet still inspire students and encourage citizenship?

Learn more by visiting

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The Bill of Rights Institute’s Constitutional Academy Summer Program takes place in July, and the institute is inviting outstanding students apply. The Constitutional Academy is for students who want to learn from college professors and policy experts about how government, economics, and current events connect.  Students who have just completed their sophomore, keyjunior, or senior year of high school will spend July 15-20, 2013 in Washington, D.C., unlocking American history by digging into the Founding documents.

Scholarships are available for students who qualify, and there is no need to fill out a separate application for the scholarship.  Each student who is accepted will be automatically considered for scholarships.Students with scholarships will have the costs of meals, lodging, site visits, and programming covered by the Bill of Rights Institute.  Students will be responsible for travel costs to and from Washington, D.C. For students who do not qualify for scholarships, the cost for the week is $750 plus travel costs to and from D.C. The current agenda is as follows:

Monday, July 15, 2013
• Arrival & check-in
• Welcome & introductions

Tuesday, July 16 – Friday, July 19, 2013
• Lectures and discussions with constitutional scholars
• Activities and discussions to explore constitutional principles with subject-matter experts
• Group project & presentation
• National Mall monument and historic sites tours
• College & career information

Saturday, July 20, 2013
• Check-out & departure

The application deadline is May 1, 2013, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so encourage students to apply today! If you have any questions, contact

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