I’ll be part of the group leading the second one, which is being held at my school on May 7. From the flyer:
THE ATSS/UFT CENTER FOR THE STUDY AND PRACTICE OF SOCIAL STUDIES CORDIALLY INVITES YOU TO: WHAT’S IN THE NEW SOCIAL STUDIES C3 INQUIRY ARC FOR ME?
The College Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards: Guidance for Enhancing the Rigor of K-12 Civics, Economics, Geography, and History builds upon the Common Core Learning Standards
“The C3 Framework is the result of a three year effort led by more than 20 States with the cooperation of 15 Social Studies Content Organizations, including the National Council for the Social Studies, (ATSS/UFT is New York City Local Council affiliate). The C3 Framework was developed for states to upgrade their state social studies standards and for local school districts, schools, teachers and curriculum writers to strengthen their social studies programs. Its objectives are to: a) enhance the rigor of the social studies disciplines; b) build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills to become engaged citizens; and c) align academic programs to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies.”
The event is free, but registration. For more info, click the link below.
For the first time in three years, I’m teaching a history class this semester! While I enjoy the Civics, Government, Econ, and English I teach the rest of the time, history will always feel most like home. I’m trying something that might be a little crazy: a 100% open inquiry course, where what we learn is entirely based on students’ questions stemming from current events and issues.
This is very much tied into my thinking of the C3 Social Studies Framework, so I’m trying to blog pretty regularly about the course at C3teachers.org. The first piece on the class is up now:
After a year of lauding hosanna’s towards the C3, during the past month my relationship with the framework fundamentally changed; I started to actually put it into an action. And while my first thought at all times was still, “wow, this is brilliant,” as I spent more time thinking and planning about my teaching for the second semester, the more present thought was more often, “wow, this is going to be hard.”
For the rest of the school year, I’m hoping to use this space to share thoughts on my continued relationship with the C3 as I try to implement it in one global classroom. In this first post in the series, I want to give some context for my work. While every school is unique, mine is especially so in many ways and it is important for readers to realize early on that I have rare freedom and flexibility. In subsequent posts, I’ll discuss the challenges I encounter, how I try to deal with them, and share my inevitable failures and hopeful triumphs.
This Wednesday at 7 pm, there’s a webinar hosted by the Center for Teaching Quality discussing the new national C3 Framework, which I love. The webinar will feature Kathy Swan, the lead writer of the framework. If you’re interested in joining the webinar, register here. Here’s a full description of the webinar:
The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards has been developed by CCSSO to guide and enhance the rigor of standards in civic, economics, geography, and history. Though states will be developing their own standards for these subjects, the pedagogical shifts implied by the framework will be felt in social studies classroom across the country. Find out from one of the framework’s authors–a practicing teacher–how you can begin to prepare. Bring your own challenges–we’ll devote part of the webinar to finding solutions together.
If you’re a stakeholder in New York Education, please take the time this week or weekend to respond. Before then, please forward this to all Social Studies teachers, administrators, and concerned parents that you know. Here is the link to read the new Framework and submit feedback:
I haven’t been quite sure how to write about this, but I’m featured in a new book that came out last month.Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave advocates for a very attainable vision for the teaching profession. Barnett, Ann, and Alan do a masterful job of capturing the work of seven brilliant and inspirational teachers who are leaders in their school and communities. I’m thrown in as well. It’s well worth the read, but more importantly, it’s worth sharing with others, be them powers that be or lay people with strong opinions on education. Here’s a nice little teaser video that captures the main arguments:
Also, I did a little teacherpreneuring of my own last week, traveling down to DC for an Alliance for Excellent Education Project 24 webinar on Data Driven Decision making. My presentation is about how not to use data to make decisions. You can watch it here, and click on my name to jump to my presentation. The questions were interesting and are worth watching.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Over the past year, I had the great pleasure of being part of a group of teachers put together by the Shanker Institute who met with participants and historians in order to plan lessons to help students think about the impact of the March, and how its memory has shifted over time. The lesson are available here for free. My lesson, which is probably worth looking through for most adults as well, looks at how popular memory has failed to capture key components and emphasis of the march.
Over the past year, I have had the honor, privilege, and daunting task to co-found a new public New York City high school, Harvest Collegiate High School. The proposal for the school was set forth by Kate Burch, then an NYC teacher and now our principal; I joined the team last January and helped move us, along with a team of experienced teachers and a social worker, from an idea that existed on a dozen sheets of paper to a fully functioning school with 126 ninth graders when we opened this past September. As we finished our first year at the end of June, I looked back and realized that without a doubt, this was the best year of my teaching career. By any measurement — student learning, attendance, student and staff morale, excitement from incoming students and families — things went outstandingly well.
As I think about this incredible past year, I think about the infusion in it of both audacity and humility. It’s audacious to start a school, but I think we did it with humility for how much we could do well, for the giants whose shoulders on which we stand, and for our place in the larger political/educational world.
The second piece is in my role as a member of the “Team of Experts” for the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Project 24: From Rocks to PowerPoint: Technology is a Tool. It seeks to remind people that as districts rush to implement new technological platforms, we need to remember that technology is a tool, not an end:
One of the earliest lessons I teach students in my Global History courses is that technology is not something that was newly invented, but rather, it’s anything humans create to help make our lives easier. Language was a good starting place for humans. A lot of progress has been made from there: parchment, ink, pens, paper, the printing press, telegram, computer, iPhone, etc. Thanks to technology, the communication that defines our humanity became more powerful over time.
Another lesson I teach my students is that we’ve also made pretty big advances in the technology of murder. For thousands of years, humans used technology like rocks and sticks to kill people. Humans worked their way up from there as well: slingshot, bow & arrow, sword, rifle, machine gun, nuclear bomb. Over time, we got a lot better at destroying humanity as well.
I think it’s important to keep these two extremes in mind when thinking about building up a technological infrastructure for schools and districts. Technology has the power the amplify our humanity, but it also can deaden it. Technology is the tool, but it’s not an end in itself.
The course started with a six-week unit called “You and I” that examined the notion of identity, exploring questions like Who am I? How am I perceived by others? How do both of these perceptions impact my choices? Next up was a six-week unit called “Us and Them,” which looked at issues of difference and incorporated Facing History resources on membership and society. In this unit, the students explored the history of the Weimar Republic as a way to set the stage for reading All Quiet on the Western Front. The course will end this spring with a unit called “The Meaning of Life.” It may be a lofty title for a seven-week unit, but it gets right to the heart of what the students consider – that meaning in life often comes from interacting with others, that each of us has causes and people that are of life and death importance to us, and that other perspectives can offer guidance for our own lives.
While the focus of the piece is Common Core, I think the key is that it captures how great classes that focus on students as people can also serve the demands of the Common Core:
The backbone of the course is a solid syllabus of readings and assignments that have the students writing and reading personal narratives from multiple perspectives, researching, constructing effective arguments, and critically analyzing complex texts across a range of types and disciplines. As a result, the students are meeting the Common Core State Standards through a deep investigation of nonfiction, fiction, and essential questions about human nature.
Harvest Collegiate High School, which opened with its first class of 9th graders in September 2012, is a small public high school near Union Square in Manhattan. We invite you to apply to join our founding team as we welcome a new class and build a transformative learning community. At Harvest, teachers are empowered to design their own courses that focus on developing students passions, curiosity, and Habits of Mind and Heart. We are looking for passionate and thoughtful teachers to join our strong and experienced staff. For more information, please visit our website.