We Appreciate Our Social Studies Teachers
Let’s all take a moment to thank the social studies teachers who taught us history, to think critically and to debate with civility. Never has the need for their work been more evident. At the Social Studies Unconference we hosted at the request of the U. S. Department of Education this May, we learned that less than 7% of education money goes towards social studies. The teaching of civics and US history is being accomplished by dedicated and passionate teachers who know that the future depends on both engagement and an understanding of our past. Our team curates poll data, designs webinars and lesson plans, and creates scavenger hunts in Election History with our application Election Edge. Election Edge is designed for seamless exploration of the past and scenario planning for the future of elections.
On this Election Day we wanted to acknowledge a few teachers in our community that are doing remarkable work and moving the needle in civics education.
Sari Beth Rosenberg is an award-winning U.S. History teacher and writer. Sari helped write the new Global and U. S. History curriculum for the New York City Department of Education with a small team of educators. She also contributes regularly on PBS News Hour Extra and so much more. She models the way for teachers on how to weave contextual events into the classroom using multimedia in real time.
Gabriel Valdez is a Texas-based social studies educator and moderator of the Social Studies Network – a community of over 11,500 social studies teachers from around the world who share lesson plans and support one another. The platform is a treasure trove for great ideas, inspiration and community.
Finally, we wanted to highlight a teacher actively using Election Edge. We are happy to introduce you to Amy Littlefield. Amy teaches high school U.S. government at the Commonwealth Academy in Virginia. Amy shared her thoughts on using Election Edge in her classroom, why the program is meaningful, and her thoughts on Teaching Election 2020.
What has been the most rewarding part of teaching civics this year?
Teaching my students about the political process and election in 2020, a unique year.
What lesson plan made the biggest difference and why?
I have used several of your lessons. I would have to say that the Campaign Manager Role-Play made the most difference as students really got a feel for the intricacies in creating a campaign strategy. I loved how students planned out where their candidate would visit and were able to provide reasoning for their choices. They created a “campaign pitch” that they would be giving to the candidate. I also incorporated some of your other activities into this project for the students such as creating a political ad (podcast or video) and a poster on a campaign issue. Students enjoyed sharing their work with each other also.
What comment or feedback from your students has been the most inspiring?
Students have reported that they are understanding the process better and that the visuals provided in Election Edge are very engaging and helpful to them. Students have also been very interested in understanding the Electoral College and polling numbers. They are excited to be forecasting the final Electoral College vote on our last day of class before the Election.
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Sari, Gabriel and Amy are adept in weaving current events into synchronous and scalable learning experiences. If you have a unique way of teaching civics, we would love to hear from you.
Democracy is built on participation, and we appreciate being connected with you.