In this newsletter, you'll find 👇

🔖Message from TXCSS President

🔖Info about #TXCSS2023

🔖Call for Presenters #TXCSS2023

🔖Call for Articles - The Texan

🔖 TXCSS Teacher Tips

🔖EIA Leadership Academy

A Message from Dr. Paul Nagel, TXCSS President

Greetings from Southeast Texas,

Today is Groundhog Day. If you have ever seen the Bill Murray movie, he repeats the same day over and over and over again. Can teaching and the seasons seem like that? The sky is grey, it has rained, stopped, rained again, stopped, rained again. Repeat, do it again, grey skies etc.

Why is Southeast Texas and other parts of Texas currently in this weather “funk”? Through inquiry, we can start to answer these questions. I would challenge my students to think about our current situation. Step back in time, just six months ago. How many parts of Texas, from Lubbock to Austin to Houston, were in a drought? How times have changed, but have they? Those who teach geography and earth science know that we are currently in a La Nina period, which means hot dry summers and warm dry winters. Where do the grey skies come from? Is the weather a break from La Nina and moving towards El Nino? In any case, I feel like Phil this week.

My daughter KayLeigh and I on top of the highest mountain in Texas. Can you guess where we are?

Are the grey skies of February and the doldrums of teaching a coincidence? We are past the Holiday Break and still a month plus from Spring Break. How do we keep going, or are we like Phil, bound to repeat the same day over and over again? I think the opposite, everyday is a new day and one that offers many new challenges and opportunities, just like teaching social studies.

I have had the great fortune to travel to every county in Texas - all 254 of them. I traveled to all the Texas Counties overtime with my youngest daughter, making memories along the way. We live in the Great State of Texas and opportunities and inquiry abound. Why are there wind turbines dotting the landscape of Aransas and Refugio counties, and also in Wichita and Archer counties? Why are the pump jacks working 24/7 in Midland and Ector counties? Why have the oyster beds near Galveston, Harris and Chambers counties recently been closed? These are just three simple inquiries that can be used to get our students thinking. How do you get your students thinking in Government, Economics, Texas History etc?

The theme for this year's TXCSS Conference, October 26 to 29, in Houston is Inquiry and Rigor. I hope that you are able to attend. Stop and say hi at the registration desk or in the exhibit hall and share with me how you get your students to think about the world around them. 

Dr. Paul Nagel

TXCSS President

TXCSS is better when we are together, learning, growing, connecting as professionals in our field.

It is always exciting to be able to announce that #TXCSS2023 is in the works. Currently, the Hotel reservation link is live as well as the presentation proposal link. Start chatting and planning now to attend #TXCSS2023 in Houston, TX.  Ask your admin and department chair for end of the year budget money to be used for your conference registration, Hotel Reservation, Transportation. Speak to your Social Studies Teacher friends as a hotel room for 4 is the same cost as a hotel room for 1.

Ways in which you can help support #TXCSS2023:

  1. Submit a proposal to present.
  2. Connect with a teacher friend and plan on attending #TXCSS2023.
  3. Use social media to advertise and promote the benefits of TXCSS annual conference. 
  4. Keep your eyes open for the Conference at a Glance to go live after the TXCSS Spring Meeting. 
  5. Conference Registration will go live soon after.
  6. Contact your favorite vendor and remind them of TXCSS.
  7. Communicate back with TXCSS about a vendor that you would like to see attend TXCSS. 

Chad Taylor

Texas Council for the Social Studies

Executive Secretary

📣 Call for Presenters! 📣

Wow! Our presenters for #TXCSS2022 blew us away, not only with their lessons, ideas, and knowledge, but also with their ability to share all of that without any Wi-Fi on Friday!

We’re gearing up for this year’s conference, Inquiry and Rigor in Social Studies, #TXCSS2023 at the Royal Sonesta Houston Galleria October 26-29, and we can’t wait to see your new presentation proposals for this year. Whether you are a first-time presenter or a veteran presenter, your social studies community wants you!

Please consider submitting a session proposal. Scroll down 👇 and click the green buttons to begin the process. In order to help you get budget approval before this year ends, the proposal deadline is April 15, 2023. Presenters with accepted proposals will be notified by email no later than May 15, 2023.

Questions? Email  

We look forward to another year of enlightening sessions!

TXCSS Conference Committee

Dear TXCSS Members,

The Texan is soliciting articles for the 2023 Spring, Summer and Winter Editions.

The theme for the three editions are the following:

  • Spring edition: Inquiry and Rigor in the Social Studies
  • Summer edition: Waves of Change: Water and the Social Studies
  • Winter Edition: Colonialism: Past, Present and Future

We accept articles that deal with teaching a theme (i.e. lesson plans) as well as those that develop content knowledge. We also accept scholarly articles that explore concepts relevant to social studies education. In addition, we also encourage book reviews from our members.

Do keep in mind that while each edition is themed, not every article or book review in an edition has to adhere strictly to the theme. Please do not be apprehensive about submitting an item for publication. The Texan is the teaching journal of TXCSS and we want to encourage greater participation by K-12 educators in publishing and disseminating their knowledge and experiences to fellow social studies teachers.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

Dr. Jose Maria Herrera

Editor of The Social Studies Texan

Curated by Evangeline Mitchell - @TXSSMitchell

This issue of “Teacher Tips,” will expand on the #TXCSSTalks discussion from August 16, 2022 on academic talk to provide strategies for preparing your Emergent Bilingual students for TELPAS.  Though this issue will focus on tips for Emergent Bilingual students, these strategies work well for all students.

** Please note that TELPAS has had many updates for this year including the moving of the writing component to online which will end the traditional collection of writing samples by the teachers for scoring. For a full list of the changes see the 2022-2023 TEA Fall Updates

💡Setting the Stage for Learning - Classroom Techniques

Building routines will help emergent bilingual students figure out the way your classroom works without the language barrier.  The way you structure the beginning and end of class, the vocabulary you use in your lessons, and the format of each lesson allow students to acclimate to a changing environment allowing the time for language acquisition to develop.  

Providing visuals in the classroom is another way to support language acquisition for emerging bilingual students to feel a part of the classroom environment and understand more about the subject matter. Anchor charts serve this purpose in my classroom. I create anchor charts to represent the essential vocabulary and concepts that I want my students to connect throughout my course. By hanging my anchor charts in chronological order, it provides a visual representation of the class content throughout the year and allows for visual connections to be made between concepts. 

💡Speaking/Listening - Academic Talk

Academic talk is one of the best ways to get students engaged in their learning. This can be challenging for emergent bilingual students but by adding conversation starters all students can learn to participate with practice.  For beginners, you can even add visuals to allow students to participate using a nonverbal response.   The more students use these conversation starters the better they are at having meaningful academic conversations that allow students to process their learning. 


Read A Loud is one of my favorite reading strategies to help students acquire language and reading skills.  Picture books can be found for almost any subject that students are studying in class.  Besides providing access to the content for the students, the visuals provide the emergent bilingual students the opportunity to connect the words to the vocabulary providing students access to the joys of the written word.  By adding differentiated graphic organizers to the Read A Loud, students can process the information at their own pace and at the level of language acquisition that best suits their needs.


Building Vocabulary is essential for emergent bilingual students. There are a number of strategies for building vocabulary, but my favorite is Word Doodles.  World Doodles combine the brain-based research of color with academic vocabulary to create a visual of the unit of study.  The students color in the World Doodle based on the way they think the words go together or you can assign colors based on the subject.  Word Doodles can be changed to meet the needs of your students. The fun of coloring in the words allows students to preview the academic vocabulary for a unit in a way that takes away the frustration of learning new words and allows language to develop.  


Visual Writing Model is essential to provide beginner or intermediate emergent bilinguals the visual support that they need in order to help students connect the visual to the written word.  By incorporating a visual writing model teachers can visually show students how to write a sentence or even a paragraph. Supported practice then helps emergent bilingual students find their voice in their learning.

    Sentence Stems are my go-to strategy with my students in supporting not just my emergent bilingual students but all of my students that don’t like to write. Sentence Stems are a good way to mesh both academic talk with writing. By giving students a way to start a sentence, students are more willing to write about a topic.  I also incorporate the use of colored lined paper to make writing more fun for students.

    If you are looking for more strategies check out the resource I used for this article: Adding English - Helping ESL Learners Succeed - by Katherine Maitland.

    Lone Star Leadership Academies are Sunday-Friday overnight camps offered throughout the summer for outstanding 4th-8th graders. Campers have the opportunity to explore significant sites in Texas’ three largest metropolitan areas with other outstanding students… all before 9th grade!

    During the camps, young leaders travel to Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio, or Houston/Galveston for a week of fun, learning, leadership development, and visits to significant Texas sites. In addition to improving their leadership abilities, participants gain self-confidence and independence, and develop new friendships with other high-achieving students from across the state. Visit the links below to learn about sites visited during each camp experience!

    La Estrella is published four times a year to provide our community with timely information and opportunities related to social studies education in Texas. The contents of La Estrella are not copyrighted unless indicated. It is appropriate, however, to credit sources as well as La Estrella when reproducing items from this e-newsletter. Reproduction for profit is prohibited.

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