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Texas Council for the Social Studies

Working to provide Texas educators with professional learning, resources and support to strengthen social studies education and civic participation.


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  • 18 Sep 2019 8:23 AM | TCSS Curriculum Liaison

    Today I want to give a shout out for

    #newsengagementday

    On Tuesday, October 1, 2019, everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, listen to, or comment on news, and learn news reporting principles.

    This year will be the 6th News Engagement Day and I really encourage you to get your students participating in this annual event. Democratic, republican government is dependent on citizens being informed. Today our students have easy access to news, but they need the skills to evaluate the news more so than ever.  Social studies is where students learn these skills and the news should provide relevance for social studies topics.

    Super busy teaching those TEKS. We know that, so how about posting a news story and have students comment about the story in their notebooks. Further the activity by having students' get their parents to comment and students respond to that comment. You could do this to observe News Engagement Day or on other periodic occasions, especially when a news story particularly connects to the content you are studying.  Here is a resource created to introduce students to news literacy.  I also encourage you to check out Media Wise and Stanford History Education Group. The two have teamed up to create lessons about evaluating online news sources. The lessons are supposed to be available this fall. Additionally, the two groups have collaborated with John Green from Crash Course to create a video series on navigating digital information.

    News Engagement Day and teaching digital literacy provides an opportunity for collaboration with the other subject areas. Let your colleagues know about these resources, especially your librarian.

    My colleagues and I used to joke about, "What do you think math teachers discuss at lunch?" Probably the news was our guess, since we thought current events would be more intriguing than parabolas. Basically, social studies topics like economics, government, geography, etc. would be involved in their discussions. This may or may not be true. We just believed that social studies, including the news is engaging for everyone.

    Renee Blackmon

    TCSS Curriculum Liaison

  • 5 Sep 2019 5:19 PM | TCSS Vice-President

    Hello everybody! Hope you all are now well settled into your school year routine.

    Last weekend was the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum open house for educators. I was excited to get to meet a few members from Garland during my visit and I hope more of you took advantage of the weekend. The museum has totally expanded its scope and also included human rights activists such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sam Houston, Lyndon Johnson, Martin L. King and many others. Again, the museum is not for elementary so much because of the content, but it addresses many subjects with taste and sensitivity when it comes to human rights and the Holocaust. I urge you to visit if you are in the DFW area and know that it will take time and several visits to absorb the exhibits!

    On more statewide and global levels:

    Teaching American History: www.TeachingAmericanHistory.org - on Sept. 23, in Houston a new session called Slavery and the Constitution will focus on how slavery helped to shape the Constitution and those that interpreted it during the first half of the 19th Century. Again it is free of charge and open to K-12 teachers and will include digital and a physical reading packet of primary documents and LUNCH!         They are also hosting webinar series called the American Minds and Document in Detail. Go to TeachingAmericanHIstory.org or info@teachingamericanhistory.org 

    Bill of Rights Institute (BRI): Celebrate Constitution Day. The BRI Senior Manager of Teacher Services is Laura Vik

              Activities include lessons & resources from Being an American for middle schools. Also, The Constitution Activity: A Second Study: Being an American.  

              Also BRI has revamped their Constitution Day Resources and programming they are inviting teachers to check out and then provide feedback.

    UTSA Institue of Texan Cultures:

           Check out texancultures.com/fieldtrips and texancultures.com/texkits for programs and programming. Most importantly for those of you in the UTSA area,THIS SUNDAY, Sept. 9 from noon to 4 a FREE program is being presented titled "Puerto Rican Family Fun Day!

    So many opportunities and so little time! Let me know what you are discovering and if you attend any of these options what you thought of your experiences. I will share them as well. My email is vicepresident@txcss.net.

  • 28 Aug 2019 9:01 AM | John Fernandez (Administrator)

    Welcome back to another start of a school year. We had a busy Spring keeping up with the legislative session. The biggest change that came out of the session was an influx of funding for public schools that included raises for teachers. The other change was the addition of 10 questions from the U.S. Naturalization Civics Test to the 11th grade STAAR EOC. TEA is still working on what those will look like and how it will impact the current blueprint of the EOC and as soon as we have some more information we will get that out to our members.

    As we are putting the final touches on our classrooms and students are anxiously awaiting meeting their teachers and fellow students for the first day of the 2019-20 school year TXCSS is in the midst of preparing for a unique event in November. For the first time the National Council for the Social Studies, Texas Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for Geographic Education are co-locating their conferences in one place and time for a mega-conference. Read more [...]


  • 28 Aug 2019 8:56 AM | John Fernandez (Administrator)

    “Every child you pass in the hall has a story that needs to be heard. Maybe you are the one meant to hear it”. – Bethany Hill

    It is easy in the hustle and bustle around the start of school to zoom into expectations and academic work but getting to know your students and building relationships also impacts their learning. According to Dr. Sara Rimm-Kaufman, Dr. Lia Sandilos, from the University of Virginia, “students who have close, positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will attain higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflict in their relationships. . . The student is likely to trust her teacher more, show more engagement in learning, behave better in class and achieve at higher levels academically. Positive teacher-student relationships draw students into the process of learning and promote their desire to learn (assuming that the content material of the class is engaging, age-appropriate and well matched to the student's skills).”

    Amid all the schedule changes, jammed lockers, and learning new copy codes, the first days of school offer time to build relationships with your students. Taking the opportunity for students to apply a skill while sharing about their challenges, strengths, and interests provides a way for students to share their story. Read more [...]

  • 25 Aug 2019 9:32 PM | TCSS Vice-President

    If you live in the DFW area and interested in learning more about the newly renovated Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, please add to your calendar the Educator Open House on August 31 and September 1 from 9 am to 2 pm. It is a come and go event that allows teacher to explore the exhibitions. It is for teachers only and valid school ID is required. All participants must get a free ticket online at https://dallasholocaustmuseum.secure.force.com/ticket/?&_ga=2.18410748.431414095.1566240029-1125745947.1564580303#details_a0S5A00000VH000UAD.

  • 25 Aug 2019 8:11 PM | TCSS Vice-President

    Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission:  Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week is a new law by Gov. Abbott. Please visit www.thgc.texas.gov for more information. The date has yet to be set according to the website this evening, but materials are available at site.  They are also offering Educator Grants and the information to apply will be up the first week of September, 2019.

    Teaching American History:  Multi-day colloquia will conducted in November and December. November opportunities with focus on Alexander Hamilton and the American Founding. In December there are two that will focus on George Washington and then JamesMadison. For more informtion, please visit www.teachingAmericanHistory.org 

    National Geographic Society: Time to start thinking about the National GeoBee!  Go to  NatGeoBee.org for videos about how to have a fun and successful GeoBee at your school. All Title I schools are eligible for registration discounts.       A National Geographic Online Educator Network is also being offered through education@society.nationalgeographic.org. 

    UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures: For those of you in the San Antonio area, Texan Cultures is offering Professional Development on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9-11AM. The cost is $15 for non-members and $10.00 for members. On Sept. 21, a new event is being offered from 11:00-12:30 for free called: Exploring the World's Last Frontier: The Peopling of the Americas.  For more information go to www.texancultures.com 

  • 16 Aug 2019 5:52 PM | John Fernandez (Administrator)

    Senate Research Center S.B. 1828

    86R10446 JES-F

    By: Menendez

    4/18/2019

    As Filed

    AUTHOR'S / SPONSOR'S STATEMENT OF INTENT

    This year marked the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest German Nazi concentration camp and extermination center. As more time passes, the number of Holocaust survivors is dwindling, making it imperative to continue to educate younger generations on the tragic events of the Holocaust to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

    According to a study conducted by Claims Conference, nearly one-third of all Americans and more than 41 percent of millennials believe that substantially less than six million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust. While there were over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during the Holocaust, 45 percent cannot name a single one. Seven out of ten Americans say fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust than they used to. According to a Forbes article from January this year, nearly one-quarter or 22 percent of generation Z and millennials in the United States and Canada were unaware or not sure if they had heard of the Holocaust.

    The best way to counter these shocking findings is with comprehensive, fact-based Holocaust education. It is only through education that we can fix this problem of detachment. In America, 93 percent of adults believe all students should learn about the Holocaust in school and 80 percent believe it is important to keep teaching about the Holocaust so it does not happen again.

    S.B. 1828 will ask the governor to designate a Holocaust Remembrance Week where schools will use this time for Holocaust instruction developed or approved by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. This legislation does not mandate the implementation of Holocaust curriculum in public schools.

    As proposed, S.B. 1828 amends current law relating to Holocaust Remembrance Week in public schools.

    To review the text of the bill and to learn more about the resources available for Holocaust Remembrance visit the following links:

    https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=SB1828

    http://thgc.texas.gov/holocaust-remembrance-week

If you would like to share photos of your classroom, please email laestrella@txcss.net with your name, city, and photos of your classroom. To make certain we display the best photo of your classroom, we recommend portrait or landscape orientations instead of panoramic photos.

Find inspiration for you own classroom; check out our collection of classroom photos shared by teachers.  

First Days of School

We reached out to teachers across the inter-webs to bring together a collection of social studies themed First Day of School ideas.  Download ideas to begin your first day of school on the right foot.

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