Professional Development Opportunities

A Capitol Idea: Integrating History and ELA (Kansas State Social Studies Conference)
November 2
Topeka, KS
There will be all sorts of sessions designed to help social studies and ELA teachers get better at their craft with a conference theme focused on integrating historical thinking and literacy skills as well as information about the upcoming MDPT state assessments that measure those skills. You’ll get a full day of interactive sessions, lunch, vendors, and professional conversations. You’ll get a full day of interactive sessions, lunch, vendors, and professional conversations.


Four National TEA-NCTA Fall Online Courses

Precarious Japan: Global Issues in Contemporary Japan
September 17-December 2
Application Deadline: Wed., September 9.
In this 20-hour course, secondary classroom teachers will look at how crucial social, economic, and security issues are affecting and being addressed in contemporary Japan. Participants will discuss instruction about these issues as they explore a variety of secondary and Japanese primary sources, including TV dramas and short stories, and hold video conversations with Japanese preservice teachers. Details and application.

China Under Mao: Modernization, Mobilization, and Mass Campaign
Sept 21-Dec 21
Open to secondary classroom teachers nationwide who teach about modern China, this four-module online seminar examines the social, cultural, political, and economic changes in China under the leadership of Mao Zedong by looking at two of his most far-reaching and impactful mass campaigns: the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The seminar will provide essential background, contemporary scholarship, and primary sources to better understand and more effectively teach the causes and effects of these campaigns. Details and registration.

NCTA Book Group: China in Ten Words, by Yu Hua
Oct. 5-Dec.12
Yu Hua’s novel To Live is a classic used in many secondary classrooms. Explore a different side of this controversial Chinese writer by exploring the critical and contentious essays in his 2011 publication China in Ten Words. Yu writes about life in the PRC as it undergoes rapid changes, growing social and economic divides, and reform campaigns and their underlying issues. Due to content of the essays, book group preference will be given to high school social studies and literature teachers who teach about China. Details and registration.

Modern Chinese Literature 1980-2000
Sep 16-Oct 21
Emerging from the Mao era, during which artistic creativity was hindered and punished, the early 1980s opened up new avenues of expression for authors who experimented with new forms, themes and voices. Explore the rapid changes that took place in the first twenty years of China's reforms through short stories that can be read with students to delve into this period of social, political, and ideological change. Co-sponsored by the NCTA sites at TEA and Asia for Educators at Columbia University, this five-week book group will consider approximately 12 short stories from the late 20th century in five one-week sessions.  Register here.

Social Studies News

Why It's Time for New Teachers to Get Social
Social media can help teachers grow during their first years in the classroom, Brad Currie, K-8 supervisor of instruction and dean of students in a New Jersey school district, writes in this blog post. He highlights how new teachers can use Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites to engage in professional development.

U.S. Senate Youth Program
The Kansas State Department of Education is pleased to announce applications are now being accepted for the 54th annual United States Senate Youth Program.  This program is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing a career in public service.  The type of student who thrives during Washington Week is one who is truly interested in government, history, politics and leadership and one who has demonstrated a desire to serve others in a leadership capacity.  High academic achievement, high aspirations for college and career and other clear examples of self-motivation and creativity often define Senate Youth delegates.

This program for high school juniors and seniors was established in 1962 by a United States Senate Resolution and has been approved in succeeding years by unanimous action of the Senate.  The Senate Youth Program and its accompanying scholarships have been made possible through annual grants from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Two student delegates and a first and second alternate will be selected to represent Kansas at the 2016  program in Washington, D.C., March 5-12, 2016.

If you feel that you have a student (or students) in your high school who qualifies for one of the delegate positions, please complete the 2016 Application for the United States Senate Youth Program and return it to the address listed on the application form by October 9, 2015.   Applications are also available online.

Upon receiving the completed application, we will send a Qualifying Examination to the designated school official indicated on the application for administration to the student. Questions? Please contact Tamla Miller at 785-296-4950 or email

How to spark personalized learning with idea books 
Fourth- and fifth-grade students in one Minnesota school are experiencing personalized learning by keeping digital query books, media specialist Cathy Knutson explains in this blog post. Knutson notes that students aren't used to developing and acting on their own ideas in school, and writes that the books take the pressure off to come up with "great" ideas.

Teaching the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework: Exploring Inquiry-Based Instruction
An indispensable guide for teachers implementing the C3 Framework, this new book from NCSS Publications consists of model lessons contributed by 15 of the best social studies curricular organizations. Each lesson encompasses the whole of the C3 Inquiry Arc from questioning to action. There are lessons for all grade bands from K-2 to 9-12, and the 15 lessons cover the range of C3 disciplines. Learn more and order the book.

Technology helps extend reach of international-studies class 
Students in an international-studies class at an Illinois school are using videoconferencing to connect with peers 7,000 miles away in Norway. Participating students call themselves "keypals" -- the modern-day version of pen pals. In a recent lesson, students talked about their favorite holidays and foods.

Ohio teacher uses technology to engage students in geography 
Ohio social studies teacher Ryan Evart is using technology, such as Geographic Information Systems, to engage his students while they cover geography in class. During the GIS lesson, students worked in teams on a project in which they placed icons over buildings and viewed images of the locations while using Google Earth on their iPads. "We can drop ourselves in India or China, and that is nothing that we could think about doing five years ago," Evarts said.

NCSS webinar series -- Get Digital with Discovery Education and NCSS 
Are you looking for more digital sources for your Social Studies class? If so, you may benefit from this webinar series being presented by Discovery Education's Dan Byerly, in conjunction with NCSS. In this three part series, we will focus on: Unlocking the C3 Framework with Digital Resources: What is Social Studies Inquiry in the Digital Age? Five Keys to Digital Social Studies: How can I use digital tools to enhance Social Studies instruction and develop strong thinkers, readers, and writers? Reflections from the Classroom: How are teachers across the country using digital resources in their classrooms?

History teacher develops civic course for N.J. high school 
First-year African-American studies and U.S. history teacher Jerell Blakeley has helped create an elective course to encourage civic engagement among 10th- through 12th-graders in a Trenton, N.J., high school. Other districts have expressed interest in the class, which will cover local government and civic journalism. Political figures will be guest speakers, and the course will be taught by a fellow teacher.

Ind. high-school students interview local WWII veterans for film 
After being asked by the Marshall County Historical Society Museum to create a film for visitors, Indiana high-school students are working on a documentary about more than 40 local World War II veterans' experiences, which they hope to complete by Christmas. "The kids really started getting the idea that this isn't about school anymore. This isn't about grades or assignments," said Jeff Corso, social studies facilitator. "They're making history."