Category Archives: CCSS

What Happens at a Social Studies Conference?

Large or small, I like social studies conferences.   Teachers starve for social studies professional development because it differs from other subject area conferences.

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The social studies include four core subject areas:  geography, economics, history and civics.

  • Geography:  Now I ask you who isn’t interested in traveling? One of our CCSS exhibitors offers teachers expenses paid trip for two weeks to Germany.  Do they have offers like that in math conferences?

The activity we did at the N. CA conference this weekend had us identifying where and when pictures had been taken.  Each group of 4 had two different pictures. This particular activity showed change over time in Germany.

  • Economics:  Do you run out of month or paycheck first?What would happen if we quit shipping the 40% of California’s agricultural products overseas, could we save water in drought-ridden California?  Studying economics helps students grapple with historic and current issues, trace the consequences and predict future results from actions we take today.  Conferences bring you face to face with people in the know like Dr. Jim Charkins of the California Council for Economics Education.
  • History:  Scholars from near and far engaged us in conversations about WWI, the trenches, the music, the need to enlist before the selective service started, and the propaganda to get people to enlist.
Lora Vogt from the WWI Museum in Kansas City, MO
Lora Vogt from the WWI Museum in Kansas City, MO

Now I understand a little piece of my grandfather’s life a little better.

scholar Jennifer Keene
Dr. Jennifer Keene from Chapman University compared Ernest Hemingway’s life to the average WWI soldier. Sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute

At the other conference we Skyped author/scholar, Allyson Hobbs from Stanford, also sponsored by Glider Lehrman Institute who studied the effects of African-Americans who passed for white, and what they missed from their black culture by giving up their identities.  Can you imagine giving up/turning your back on who you are?  She made it personal.

Dr. Allyson Hobbs, sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute
Dr. Allyson Hobbs, sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute
  • Civics:  We met three speakers involved in landmark Supreme Court cases.  Sylvia Mendez’s younger sister never knew the court case happened until  she studied the effect on the Civil Rights movement in high school.  Karen Korematsu spoke about her father, Fred Korematsu’s opposition to the federal government, prison, Supreme Court Case.  We met Mary Beth Tinker, Tinker V Des Moines, who wore a black armband to school, to express her views.  She didn’t think it was any big deal at the time.  Now she talks to children around the country.  She told us stories of amazing children, and what they can do that adults couldn’t.
Michelle_MaryBethTinker
NCSS President-Elect, Michelle Herczog and Mary Beth Tinker of Tinker v Des Moines

We heard Major General Patrick Brady tell us that people may not have equal opportunities, but we all have access to as much courage as they want.  The more we use, the more we have.

Major General Patrick Brady, Vietnam War hero, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Major General Patrick Brady, Vietnam War hero, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

We met political cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz who has one of his paintings hanging from the wall of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor

Lalo Alcarez at the CCSS Conference in Los Angeles
Lalo Alcarez at the CCSS Conference in Los Angeles

Where else but a social studies conference can you rub elbows with people who played a part in exciting events you read about in the news?

Power of Democracy2Intensity sparked like electricity during a Power of Democracy Task Force meeting. Where can you get direct contact with legislators, Department of Justice, and Department of Education at the same time?

Power of Democracy/Civic Education
Student speaker at Power of Democracy/Civic Education meeting

We honored our best and finest social studies teachers at the awards program – AKA Emmys. Twitterers tweeted during the conference.

DBQ session

Brent won a bicycle at the membership booth. Exhibitors gave free stuff to everyone.  Best of all teachers connected with other teachers and shared ideas.

Next March we go to Oakland.  The National Conference will be in Boston in November.  California Council Needs YOU!  If you teach history-social studies in CA, please join us.

A Quickie

If you are not a regular reader of mine, this post may seem like a waste of cyberspace.  I’ve never taken such a long break from blogging, and I miss you all, but I have a Board meeting tomorrow morning in Ontario.  It’s a long drive, and since I’m the gavel banger, I have to have my act together.  Our big conference is March 7-9, and both Vince and I are working our tails off getting the website up to speed, and helping with the details of the conference.

Perryman_Flyer_FINAL

I say all that to apologize for not visiting much, posting at all or even responding to comments very often.  I promise you are all in my thoughts.  I browse Facebook, so if you are my FB friend, I’ll see you more often since I have to post updates for CCSS every day.

Thanks for being understanding, and staying with me.  I promise after this weekend at the very least, I will be a better “post”er child.   That was a lame joke.   BTW

What are you all doing this weekend?

Love and hugs to you all  :)  xox

Eva Paterson: Heroine of the Civil Rights Era Who Kept Moving On

Eva Paterson was only a teenager when she debated Spiro Agnew on national television in 1970.  When she became an attorney she fought for Civil Rights for many underserved groups of people.  Though she grew up in a violent home, she became a champion for those whose rights were challenged at home or in society.  In the late 1970s she successfully sued the Oakland Police Department  for not coming to the aide of battered women.

Eva Patterson will be speaking in a panel at the CCSS Conference in Burlingame on March 9, 2013
Eva Patterson will be speaking in a panel at the CCSS Conference in Burlingame on March 9, 2013

“Prior to taking the helm of the Equal Justice Society in 2003, Paterson worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for twenty-six years, thirteen of them as Executive Director. Paterson led the organization’s work providing free legal services to low-income individuals, litigating class action civil rights cases, and advocating for social justice. At the Lawyers’ Committee, she was part of a broad coalition that filed the groundbreaking anti-discrimination suit against race and gender discrimination by the San Francisco Fire Department. That lawsuit successfully desegregated the department, winning new opportunities for women and minority firefighters.”  http://www.equaljusticesociety.org/about/evapaterson/ 

Paterson, though part of an historic movement in the United States, the Civil Rights Movement, keeps on producing results.  On Saturday, March 9, at the CCSS conference in Burlingame, CA, “Ms. Paterson will be joined in a panel discussion by two Dream Act student leaders, Sofia Campos and Catherine Eusebio, courageous immigrant youth who are building a new civil rights movement, risking arrest and deportation to fight for the rights of immigrant youth and their families.”  CCSS Conference Brochure

Martin Luther King Junior had a dream.  Some people living in the United States are inhibited from following their dreams because of their immigrant status as children.  “The ‘The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation ‒ pioneered by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] andSen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] ‒ that can solve this hemorrhaging injustice in our society. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service.” http://dreamact.info/  Two of these students will share their stories during the panel discussion on Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Burlingame, CA.

Eva has come full circle.   As a student she came to the spotlight during a panel discussion addressing then President Spiro Agnew, and next Saturday she will participate on a panel discussion with students who share the their own struggle for civil rights nearly 50 years later.

Come to the Local Councils Booth in the Exhibit Hall to color a quilt square - a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement, and another quilt honoring World War 1  100 years later - for Next Year's Conference
Come to the Local Councils Booth in the Exhibit Hall to color a quilt square – a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement, and another quilt honoring World War 1 100 years later – for Next Year’s Conference

No matter what your politics, you will enjoy this inspiring speaker at the conference.  You will be amazed.

Using the Creative Cloud by Adobe

As many of you know, the job of designing a brochure somehow dropped on my unartistic shoulders.  I created something using the Creative Cloud for our Board Meeting on Saturday, and received immediate feedback about what to change.  This was my first time ever to use Adobe Illustrator, and it represented about 8 or more hours of intensive effort.  I just LOOKS so easy a first grader could do it!  I would not call Illustrator an intuitive, user-friendly program.

My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator
My first attempt using Adobe Illustrator

Today I spent the entire day creating a new brochure with an artsy look rather than a blocky photography look.  My husband helped me on this one by brainstorming with me, then finding me a nice artsy print to get my creative dry mouth (there were not juices) started.  He also agreed with Cotton that the California Bear Flag was the primary symbol to use to anchor this brochure.

I couldn't figure how to color this one blue.
I couldn’t figure how to color this one blue.  I still thought it was cool.  Do you recognize anyone here?

I couldn’t find the same picture he did, and I thought I would be so clever and Photoshop of our own meetings.  It didn’t transfer well into Illustrator, so he emailed me the picture he found.  I made major changes on it before I used it.

This was the best I could do in Illustrator.
This was the best I could do in Illustrator.  Oops a flag pole in the middle of the sky.  Weird.  The colors don’t really go here, but I hat to take a break.

The hardest part after he found the anchor artwork for the meeting was to create a seamless look between the artwork and the background.  I’m not sure I could do any of it again at this point.  I found that it was easier to merge the pictures and the background in Photoshop than in Illustrator.  I couldn’t even get the paintbrush tool to activate on the layer I wanted in Illustrator, and I couldn’t flatten the layers.  So back to what I knew.  I got a little paint on the photos, but I’m hoping it gives that artsy-dreamy look.  I need to brush up my coloring skills.

I tried using the select tools, but forgot how to use them correctly, and so I just colored around the map – that took forever!!!  I also had to do it more than once.  The first time I thought I coud just place it into Illustrator.  Place is how you get your photographs to stick on the background in both Illustrator and Photoshop.  That is in the file drop down menu.

I found out that Photoshop CS6 is different enough from Elements 10 that I had a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to McIver my way through the project.

After I was as pleased as I could be in the amount of time that I wanted to devote to my 4th makeover, I saved the project as a jpeg and then placed it over the first page white blank sheet in Adobe Illustrator.  Then I just added the words.  V helped me with the words, too.  He used to be in advertising, and he focused me on what was really the reason for the brochure – to GET PEOPLE TO JOIN THE ORGANIZATION!  So that went in the top right hand corner.  DUH!

This was my third attempt.
This was my third attempt.  Here it looked like I scribbled around the map because I was dodging the words.  Has any one ever been to the state of Califronia?

I got it all done, and sent out to our Exec. Board, and realized I had misspelled California.  Believe it or not I had to start back in Photoshop and get my three pictures together again on the background.

This was the most time- intensive part.  this was my fourth attempt.
This was the most time-intensive part, and it was my fourth attempt at creating the brochure.

I finally got the words back on  using Illustrator because the words are sharper if you use Illustrator rather than Photoshop.

This is my final draft - SO FAR!!!
This is my final draft – SO FAR!!!

I had a few changes to do to the inside, but those were simple.  So this is the journey I’ve been on for the last few days since our start long ago with the simple cover you all voted on.

You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.
You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.

Thanks so much for all your input.  I appreciate when YOU offer suggestions.  Thanks also to V for all the help you gave me this morning, and the patience to see me through my tears without trying to SOLVE all my problems.  I knew I could do this if I just put my mind to it.  I was not going to be overcome by a computer program!!!!  :)

My First Photography Up for Sale on Fine Art America Website

I saw Enice’s photography on this website http://fineartamerica.com/, so I thought I’d give it a try as well.  So far I only have 10 pictures posted, but they are also advertised on my Facebook page.  I’m excited, because I finally got myself started.  This business is mostly a hobby, but I would like it to be a successful hobby just because I like to be successful.

The way I will measure success is that 1) the pictures are of technically of good quality ( clear, the right brightness, etc.) 2)  the pictures are well composed (interesting subjects, good balance, framing, etc.) 3)  The pictures have appeal (people just enjoy looking at them), and 4) The pictures have salability (usable for decorating, cups, t-shirts, cards, advertising, calendars, etc.)  Who knows where this will lead, but this is my next experiment.

TC History Gal Productions

I started out with pictures of cats because they seem to have so much personality.  I realize that most of you are photographers as well, so you are not too likely to purchase pictures from me, but I would love your opinions. You have been so helpful in the past about giving me such good ideas.  How would you rate these?

V's favorite is Boulder Monitoring.
V’s favorite is Boulder Monitoring.

V’s favorite is Boulder Monitoring.  That’s what I felt like doing yesterday afternoon instead of driving to Ontario.  But I drove 5 hours instead.  I hope that you will come and like my Facebook Page, and join me on this adventure.  I’ll be sharing how it is going or not going as we go along.

Like me?
Like me?

The next thing I started this week, I did out of necessity.  Earlier this week I asked you to vote on the front of a brochure that I designed in Photoshop.

You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.
You overwhelmingly picked this design for the front of the brochure.

Although I really had no desire or inclination to design a whole brochure, no one else volunteered to do it.   To create this masterpiece, I tried out a new product, Adobe Illustrator.  You can see that the basic design that you voted on  is on the right, which is the cover.  I changed the picture, and used too big of a font for the words at the bottom.  I also included more pictures on the inside flap and back to represent the various branches of social studies.  Wikipedia quotes our own National Council for the Social Studies to define social studies.

Social studies is the “integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence,” as defined by the United States Americans National Council for the Social Studies.[1]   … Many such courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political sciencehistoryeconomicsreligious studiesgeographypsychologyanthropology, and civics.

The brochure that you all helped me design.
This is the first draft of the entire brochure that you helped me design.

Ralph, you’ll notice no smelly sock unless you consider the bear smelly!!!  Cotton, I found the Bear Flag on the map, and I thought that was too cool.

I also finished as much as I could with the tri-fold brochure.   Paula made some suggestions for technical revisions, but our board made some other substantive comments that may WILL change it as well.  Here were some of the comments/questions I heard around the room as soon as I passed the out the brochure.

Would it be more effective to have a brochure with artwork rather than photographs?  (I don’t have the ability to do artwork!!!)

This was done by a real graphic artist for our conference in March.
A real graphic artist created this for our conference in March.

If photographs are suitable, what photographs really illustrate these divisions of social studies?

This man is a sailor, which in my mind suggested economics.  Maybe it wasn't the best photograph to illustrate economics.  It got a laugh!!
This man is a sailor, which in my mind suggested economics. Maybe it wasn’t the best photograph to illustrate economics. It got a laugh!!

Even more basic than those questions, do we just illustrate the definition of social studies, or do we move past that to illustrate what the council does?

1) the advocates for keeping social studies as a core subject to continue to be taught in American public schools?

2) provides professional development for teachers grades k-16,

3)  identifies quality instructional resources and

4) assists in developing and implementing state policies including standards, frameworks and assessments.

There is so much to designing a brochure.  The designer and the organization have to identify what is really important and somehow represent that graphically!  How do REAL graphic designers ever do it????

Thanks for coming along with me in my busy-ness this week.  I’ve been so wrapped in meetings this week month that I hardly knew know if I’m coming or going.  You all have helped by my anchors and my boulders.  Thanks for being there.  I’m monitoring you!

Have a nice rest of the week-end.  What are you all doing??  I have a meeting tomorrow for Tulare County Historical Society.  Anyone want to come??  Don’t forget to write to, like love tell me what you think while I’m busy going to meetings.   :)  Lots of Love, Marsha :)

Another New Career: Designing Brochure Covers

I decided instead of not posting while I’m working, I would bring you into my workspace.  Although I am not a graphic artist, I am designing covers for a new brochure for California Council for the Social Studies.  So I’d like you to help me judge attractiveness.  You should probably know what the organization is all about.

Purpose

California Council for the Social Studies

  • advocates for and promotes social studies education as an essential foundation in developing citizens for a democratic society in the 21st Century.
  • provides professional development for social studies teachers through state and regional and local conferences.
  • identifies and produces quality instructional resources and programs to improve classroom instruction of social studies
  • assists in the development and implementation of state and local policies, legislation, framework, standards, testing and other instructional components.

So here are a few brochure covers I have played with.  I won’t be at all insulted if you have some constructive feedback for me because these are ideas.  Paula may redo them all, but I wanted to give her something to work with to start.  One of these designs has an image that may be copyrighted that I have altered a bit, but if we use it I’ll get permission or purchase the image.  Since we might not choose it, I’ll leave it for now.

Brochure #1
Brochure #1
Brochure #2
Brochure #2
CCSS Brochure #3
CCSS Brochure #3

So what advice do you have for me?  Do any of these look like a possible brochure cover?

To Do List, My Lazy Blogging Excuse

Like all of us, I actually do have a life.  And often it gets in the way of my blogging.  I started blogging in April, and by August I had to quit my day job so I could blog full-time.  Such a sad excuse to retire, but V says I go after blogging like I did my job, and according to V – not my boss –  I was a workaholic.

We're really working.   Proofing the Conference Program.
We’re really working. Proofing the Conference Program.

 

 

The Conference is March 8-10.  So much to do.
The Conference is March 8-10. So much to do!!!  

As you may know, I am still heavily invested in the social studies teaching community through California Council for the Social Studies, San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies and National Council for the Social Studies as well as the Tulare County Historical Society, and I am just about to join our local Kiwanis Club thanks to Running P Ranch Co-Captain, Sally Pace.  This week three of them have had meetings.  The funny thing about meetings is that there is always work attached.  On top of that V’s son is having a birthday soon, and we are celebrating with him.  Paula’s son just had a birthday, and we will celebrate with them on Sunday.

Meet V's son, J.  Isn't he handsome?  Can you guess his age?
Meet V’s son, J. Isn’t he handsome? Can you guess his age?

 

Edward1

How old is this handsome “grandson” of mine?

 

I say all this to apologize if my posts for the rest of this month may be sketchy or nil.  I’m not sure if I can stop blogging altogether.  I am super addicted, as you can tell.  But if I do neglect to get up a post or two, please feel free to rummage around in my past posts.  I have tons.  I can’t stop myself.  Some of them are better than others, but my WordPress friends are probably glad to let you know in the sidebars which are the most popular.  They are all pretty random.  They are streaming thoughts, after all.

This also means that I have been and will continue to neglect my visiting of your blogs somewhat.  Again, I don’t mean to.  I am reading my reader as I travel – if I’m not driving!!!  unfortunately it sends me tons of blogs I hardly even know, and who never write me back.  I am prejudiced and I really prefer to visit people who actually visit me, and write back to me when I scribble out a few comments on their blogs as well.  My reader tries to expand my repertoire, but it often misses my valued closest friends.

My email notifier is good, but I find when I click from there many of your blogs make me sign in three or four times before I can even like what you said.  I have to admit that when I am on my iPhone, I have no patience with those sign ins.  I hit the wrong keys, and end up having to enter tchistorygal@gmail.com at least 6 or 7 times before I get it right!   I’m bouncing around in a car, so I get mad and go back to playing Farkle.  I’m sorry – did I just tell you that?  So mindless of me.

All that to say, if you don’t hear much from me this week, it’s not because I don’t love and think about you.   :)  ML

So that you can keep  me in line, here’s my list.  Feel free to comment.  Marsha, did you call… or did you …  And if you think of anything else I missed, be sure to comment that, too.  Except you, Ralph.  You’ll have a complete additional to do list for me that I’ll never be able to finish!!! JK  haha

Marsha’s REAL TO DO LIST

Home

  • Call Scott with model number  3712
  • Call John  and arrange for him to drive the trailer to Scotts.  (Yes, we’re selling our Layton 39 foot trailer – anyone interested.  You can see it on Ebay or on my FB page.)  We’ll deliver if you live in Spain or England!!  JK  :)  We can’t tow it  –  it’s LONG, but spotless and comfy.  We store it mostly.
  • process pictures
  • input hilton honors information

CCSS

  • Proofread the conference program
  • Look over the BOD packet (haha that’s Board of Directors, Ralph!!  Don’t get all worked up!!!)
  • Avi needs to have someone write up the motion for the board packet.  
  • I need to write a motion to accept the changes in the bylaws.  
  • I will highlight sessions and workshops.   Three or four compelling topics in each subject area.  http://ccss.org/Resources/Documents/conf2013/2013_Program.pdf
  • I need to write up motion for reverse brokering.
  • Work on the membership brochure at least the text.  See if Paula or V will help me with the graphics.
  • Mary is drafting a letter that will go to people who will be new members.  As one of the benefits you receive a complimentary membership to CCSS. 
  • I need to pass the brochure on to Mary.    
  • I need to follow up with Mary to make sure she has written the letter.

TCHS

  • email Laile with the results of our conversation tonight

Isn’t this fascinating?  Am I desperate for something to write or what??  Can you guess which ones are done????

What have I missed Avi?  Brent?  Terry?  Sharon? V?

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

January – Thirty years ago student teachers HAD to be a member of a professional organization as part of their graduation requirements.  Although it is no longer mandatory, social studies teachers who join California Council for the Social Studies become the leaders in their field as they meet colleagues from across the state, and make friendships that last a lifetime.  In January the CCSS Executive Board asked to serve as the First Vice-President, replacing a member who had moved to Colorado. In May CCSS members voted me in as President-Elect, and in June, 2013 I will serve as the President of this organization.

Marsha Lee - Soon to be VP
Picture taken at the 2011 50th CCSS Anniversary Conference exemplifies the serious nature of the soon to be new VP.

February – In 2011 I become officially involved with the Tulare County Historical Society (TCHS) as their recording secretary.  This year TCHS decided to adopt a broken-down caboose, remains of the old Visalia Electric Railroad, as its project of the year.  To kick it off the Society held an event at the museum so that people could take a look at the caboose, and see how much work it needed.  It had definitely seen better days, but its good bones, charm and appeal made it the best project ever.

Year of the Caboose

March  – At the 2012 California Council for the Social Studies Conference I enjoyed some amenities as the new First Vice President.  Although I shared the room with the Conference Chair, it WAS a HUGE suite.  With size came responsibility.  Several parties important meetings took place in this room.

Party with me, First VP, Marsha Lee
Party with me, First VP, Marsha Lee

April – I started blogging April 17th just as this busy month got into full swing.  Our San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies Banquet honored our County Superintendent, Mr. Vidak, my boss.  Most teachers, and in our case social studies teachers, seldom receive recognition for the hard work they do, so this banquet is the highlight of our year.  Instead of being serious and boring, this year everyone played the part of stand-up comedian.

Banquet6

May – National History Day California or State History Day.  Set in historic Riverside, CA at the Mission Inn and Convention Center, this was a photographer’s dream.  Now that I was officially a blogger, I appointed myself the official photographer of this huge event with nearly 1,000 students aged 4th-12th grades attending.  Unfortunately I didn’t know how to focus my camera at this point, and with lasik vision – one eye distance and one eye close, nothing ever looked in focus, and often wasn’t.  One of the participating students taught me how to focus my camera.  Students from all over the state display their year-long theme-based projects:  exhibits, documentaries, performances, papers or websites for 6-12th grades, and posters for 4-5th grades.  They present to a team of 3 judges who have the difficult decision of determining which of these amazing projects will advance to the National Competition in Washington D.C.

Little did the History Gals realize this would be our last NHD-CA event together.
Little did the History Gals realize this would be our last NHD-CA event together.

June  As the school and fiscal year ended, we came to the last year of a three-year cohort of teachers who participated in the Tulare County Teaching American History Grant.  Each year we had a one week institute during which time teachers went on a short field trip, worked with primary source materials, received scholarly lectures each day, and translated all of this learning into a lesson plan.  This was our last week together with this group of teachers.  For their final project teachers presented their lesson plans to the new cohort of teachers.  We toured the Railroad Museum, Old Town Sacramento, and the Bicycle Museum in Davis.

TAH1

July History Ladies go to Shell Beach  May was our last official meeting as County History Consultants, and three of the four friends moved on to different responsibilities.  We decided that instead of loosing touch, we would travel somewhere in CA once a quarter.  Our week-end at Shell Beach cemented the already strong friendship with crazy dancing in the kitchen of the rented house, cinnamon rolls, pictures of a walk in San Francisco where clothes are optional, feeding baby animals at Avila Barn, roasting marshmallows over the stove after the barbecue ran out of charcoal, and sun bathing on the beach.

July History Ladies' Vacation

August – Retirement  Once I made the decision to retire, that’s all I could think about.  My last day was funny because I fought with my poor secretary about why I dressed casually that day.  She knew I was having a party, and I didn’t.  Paula took me in hand, and took me get a new dress for the party I didn’t know I was having.  Ivette was already dressed for the party, so we posed when I got back from my spree.

IvetteMarsha

September -V and I decided to start taking advantage of retirement right away with a trip to the beach.  Lots of walks with Kalev until one day it started raining, and it didn’t stop.  We scurried back home.

Family Beach Trip

October – We arranged a week-long trip to our timeshare in Hawaii to Ka’anapali Beach Club.  It was almost like coming home.  We preferred October to December which was cold and rainy last year.  We had a great time rolling around in the surf, horseback riding, and eating.

Hawaii_109

November – The National Council for the Social Studies Conference took me to Seattle.  We really did go to meetings, sessions, and had a chance to socialize.  I finally went to the dance they have on Friday nights.  I walked all the way back to the hotel to change into a dress.  Walked back.  Got to the dance.  Where were all my friends? Felt really hot – had my dress on backwards.  Went to the rest room to change.  Got back to the dance.  No friends.  Cajoled poor Joel into letting me teach him the West Coast Swing.  One dance.  Left.  My friends got to the dance just after I left. Leslie and I went to see Twilight Part 52 or something like that.  Then I walked home after midnight.  Got lost, helped a lost soul find HIS way in Seattle (that’s a switch), and finally made it back to the hotel safe and sound.  Had a $65 dinner at the Space Needle for two rotations of the restaurant.  Had a great time!!

December- Home At Last  For the first time all year I hardly traveled during December.  Oh whatever would I find to occupy my retired time?  Hmmmm How about an online birthday party for Renee?  Christmas with PT and the kids, started going to Kiwanis Club, read some great books, blogged, blogged, blogged, and ……

…..poof the month was gone!!! Woah!!!!  What happened???  Did anyone else have that problem???

Travel Theme: Circles

Definition: A circle is the locus of all points equidistant from a central point.

Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack, dreamed up a theme that made my mind go in circles trying to think of when I have ever photographed circles.  But sure enough, when I looked through my pictures, I found circles had snuck into my collection unwittingly.

Circles1

Members of the California Council for Social Studies checked out the hotel in Burlingame where we will hold our annual conference in March, 2013.  Circles abounded in this travel site.  Most obviously the tables are round, the best kind for facilitating conversation between a group of five or six people.  You probably noticed the floor before I did.  The carpet designer loved circles.

Circles 2In this picture we are not distracted by the roundness of the tables, so our eyes can focus on the circles in the carpet.  In this case we might almost overlook the round lights in the ceiling.  As a teacher I notice that the large circles, and some of the small circles form Venn Diagrams.  I loved using Venn Diagrams to compare concepts.  Venns are used in many occupational circles, but briefly this is how teachers use them in reading a text, for example.  Characteristics of item A are listed in Circle A on the left, and characteristics of Item B are listed in Circle B on the right.  The characteristics that the items have in common are listed in the intersection.   This makes it very easy to then write a comparison paragraph or essay.  (I veered off the straight path.  Sorry I had to include an instructional strategy.)

Circles3This shot gives a different perspective of the pattern in the second picture.  Ailsa must have been along when the designer chose the carpet for this hotel.  The carpet theme was definitely circles throughout the hotel, but there were slight variations in the patterns from room to room.  I wonder what the psychological effect circles have on conference goers, and vacationers.

Circles4

The carpet in the final conference room we examined has a different circular pattern.  This room is dominated by rectangular tables, podium, walls and lights.  The carpet mirrors that business-like rectangular flavor with definite  horizontal lines crossing the length of the room which were softened with some bolder, thicker circles than we found in the larger, more social foyer.

As this circular subject develops, I gravitated to the social aspect of circles:

  • circles of friends
  • round table discussions
  • circular conversations (which are VERY frustrating to me!)
  • circles for concept mapping capturing the ideas in our brains.

I wondered if there were specific psychological effects of circles that designers know about and employ to try and motivate us subconsciously.

Oh I do love the internet.  In the process of my search I came across a WordPress site devoted just to circles, Psychology of Circles.  Unfortunately the author only posted 9 articles during two months in 2009, and the one I wanted to read was only promised.  “Power Circles in Advertising” was never written.  Maybe his or her mind was just going in circles like mine, and couldn’t focus.  There are definitely disadvantages to circles!

Not satisfied, I entered the word circles, and found a company called Circles with this description, “Circles is the leading global provider of concierge, events and customized rewards.  … Our mission is to make life better and that pays dividends all around.”  There must be something to the use of circles in the hotel business!!!  I found another article describing how agitated certain animals became when they encountered crop circles.  No wonder most hotels with circular themed carpets don’t allow animals!

FAQs from Wikipedia

  • The circle is the shape with the largest area for a given length of perimeter.
  • The circle is a highly symmetric shape: every line through the centre forms a line of reflection symmetry and it has rotational symmetry around the centre for every angle.
  • A circle’s circumference and radius are proportional.

The human eye is drawn to a circle, which is perfectly proportional.  People are drawn to other people whose faces are proportional and symmetrical.   Cartoonists draw rounder, bigger eyes to make their characters mor appealing.  Are we more trusting of the circular shape?

It seems that very little has been written about the psychological effect of circles on humans.  I thought I’d hit the jackpot when CSU Stanislaus, but this list was the extent of their article:

  • Connection, community, wholeness, endurance, movement, safety, perfection
  • Refers to the feminine: warmth, comfort, sensuality, and love.

I was disappointed, but the truth is if someone is looking for a new topic for their doctoral thesis, here it is!!!

Have I come full circle?  Or is my circle yet unclosed?  I think the latter.  How does the circle affect you?

Seattle Warwick Hotel

From this downtown Seattle Warwick Hotel handicapped room, I was not hampered from taking a few pictures from the window from my 9th floor room.

I like this picture because it almost has a 1950s art look about it.  It was chilly, but not raining the first day of the National Council for Social Studies Conference.

You can see the rain spatters on this picture, and I don’t know if they are new or used spatters, but I like what they contribute to the picture.  Too bad I don’t know my buildings, or I had to throw away as much weight and paper that I could to fit everything in my suitcases.  I mistakenly thought to myself, “Well, I won’t need this MAP anymore.”  WRONG!  If I could only convey to you how little good maps do me – even though I understand perfectly how to read them.  The never seem to translate into taking the right turns.

I have to admit that this chair was a total turn-off, and obliterated my love of the views.  Fortunately for me, the staff took pity on my, and moved me to the 15th floor the next night where I enjoyed the benefits of a luxurious bath tub, and the following views.

 

Doesn’t this look fake?  But it came right out of my own Canon camera.  There were actually little people, elves, I think building that building you see in the foreground.  I should have recorded the sounds as well.  The view was so beautiful at night that I kept my curtains open – not the windows!  It was cold out there.

The helmeted elves started before it got light in the morning.  I don’t know how long they continued at night, but they were done when I got home.  Trust me I was careful how I dressed because the elves were pretty close – even in the dark.

 

Off to the left was this magnificent building.  The flash reflecting off the window again gives the whole picture an adorable fake look to me.

Better than the views – relief from the cold, damp winter walks.

Thanks Warwick staff.

 

 

Teachers Pay Teachers

Want To Make A Million Dollars?

One of the services I do for SJVCSS is Chair the Curriculum Committee.  During the last adoption for History-Social Science I was fortunate to be selected to serve as a Reviewer.  Although I was unable to perform that role, I was involved at the county level after the adoptions were available to districts.

With the coming of the Common Core Standards individual teachers are beginning to search for materials on their own.  One of the most logical places to look for materials is the internet.  On September 27  CNN’s Martin Savidge aired a story featuring “a small town kindergarten teacher (who) becomes a millionaire and says other teachers can become just as rich too.”  I was curious about the website, and the materials, so I am reviewing the site, Teachers Pay Teachers in this post.

Before I start let me tell you how curricula is approved for use in public schools in California.  In the state of California curricula has to pass numerous criteria including alignment to current California subject matter standards and, in the case of history-social studies, the history analysis skills. The California state board adopted curriculum for grades K-8 is checked by curriculum specialists and teachers before it is adopted by the state of California and is available for purchase by districts.  This committee turns over their findings to the Instructional Quality Commission which ultimately approves each publisher and their materials.   After that a district committee looks through the reviewers’ notes, examines the textbooks and makes a decision as to which materials the district will adopt and use for the 6 (or so) years after that.  It takes a long time for curriculum to reach teachers because it is reviewed extensively before it can be mass produced.  This is not the case in the free market place.

Teachers Pay Teachers is a free market for teachers to sell their own materials. This is a review primarily of how the site is organized, not a judgement of the materials that are sold there.  On the home page, the menu is categorized several ways.  At each grade level, you can see how many materials for all subject areas are available.

Examining the subject areas I chose social studies to begin my research.  At the top of the menu bar you can choose your grade level.  You can see below that  there isn’t much to choose from in general social studies.

At that point I could choose a grade level or a branch of history.  Below are the first seven choices listed alphabetically.

When I went through the grade level first the choices for social studies seemed much fewer.

So I went back and looked at Asian studies.  There was only one MP3 available.  It seems that these numbers don’t agree.  How did 317 items become only 1 item?

Another way the materials are sorted are by type.  Several of these types are listed below.  They are in alphabetical order.

Next they categorize materials by price.  The website, Teacher Pay Teachers, offers several price choices to teachers.

Finally teachers could browse by several other criteria.

Browse by:

Choosing the state of California, the website took me to biographies of contributors, and how they were rated by their users.  Most of them posted how many years’ experience they had teaching.  Most contributors had at least 10 years experience.  One as little as 4, and one as many as 50.  One teacher I noticed posted that his students tested well.

  

Finally, I went back to social studies.  On the left the menu further divided the resources by grade level. This menu indicates that there are 4100 items social studies items available for third grade alone, and more for the next two, whereas in an earlier menu I found only 7 items.  This confused me, so maybe one of your reading this will be able to clear that up for us. 

Clicking on third grade brought me to units like “Me on the Map”.  This particular product is designed to accompany a book with the same title.  I’m not familiar with the book, but the illustrations in this particular product look professional.  It includes a description of what a teacher will find inside the project book.  “2 writing prompt pages: Each begins with, “If I could travel anywhere on the map I would go to…” (which is could lead to the higher skilled opinion-type of writing.) There is a primary ruled option and an intermediate ruled option. Both have a space to illustrate their writing.”  This teacher, like many others, has created a website to tell more about the products they are offering.

While it is not a fair sampling to check out one product, it would take a tremendous amount of time to do a thorough examination of each item and determine if it meets, not only the social studies standards and analysis skills, but also the Common Core English language arts standards as well. 

In the short time I have taken to look at the website, I haven’t really formed an opinion of the quality or reliability of the products within the website itself.  I think it is a great idea to be able to share resources and be paid for them.  I also know how much expertise and time it takes to develop resources.  In history-social studies, the biggest push is to use primary sources and to help students to read informational texts.  In the lower grades at first glance I saw what I’ve seen for years in school supplies, coloring for Columbus Day and other holidays, and art projects.  These products are rated highly by teachers, but there again we don’t know the expertise level of the teachers rating the materials either.  Do these teachers want rigorous materials, or just something to keep the kids busy?  I would like to see that the teachers that are producing the materials as well as the ones rating them are members of a professional society for their subject matter, such as National Council for the Social Studies, or their state and local affiliated Council. 

While I am not saying that the products are not credible, there are many vetted, free, or low cost curricular materials available from recognized non-profit organizations such as the Center for Civic Education, Constitutional Rights Foundation, California History Project, California Council for Economics Education, and the California Geographic Alliance.  Many of these products are developed by teachers working with subject matter experts in higher education.  They are approved by social studies professional organizations such as California Council for the Social Studies of the California Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee’s Sub-Committee for History-Social Science. 

Materials abound in all subject areas.  As you spend your hard-earned money on curriculum, be sure that you check all the sources that are available.  When it comes to what you are going to take into your classroom, reliability is key.

If you purchase or bring in any of your own curriculum, what criteria do you use to choose the best materials?  How do you know what to buy?

Sunday Post: People

 

Ok, this post is for Jake.  I hope I will get his dragon posted in correctly so you can see his amazing 3D people.  My people are doing similar things, but they are flat, and a wee bit older (or at least some of them are!! – not mentioning any names!)

 

We were at a not-so-boring California Council for the Social Studies Board meeting.  Just when things might have gotten dull, our President, Brent Heath, enlivened us with the help of his wife.

break dancing – I mean dancing during the break.
Meeting energized

 

 

Common Core FAQs Relative to History-Social Studies

Today our San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies had their big planning meeting.  One thing that came out of that was the need for a one page FAQ sheet for the Common Core Standards for Social Studies teachers in particular – to quell their fears of the unknown.  This is all I got done this afternoon.  See what you think of it, and tell me what else you thing should be on it.KNOWN ASSESSMENT FAQs

• Common Core Assessments for ELA and Mathematics begin field testing in spring 2014.
• Common Core Assessments for ELA and Mathematics begin testing in spring 2015.
• There will be History-Social Studies reading and writing tasks included in the test for language arts.
• These assessment tasks will NOT be aligned to the California History Standards, but the reading complexity, or lexile levels, will be appropriate for the grade level of the student.
• The CST for ELA, mathematics, history-social science, and science will be given until 2014 when it will sunset.
• There are sample test items on both the Smarter Balanced and the PARC websites.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
• We don’t know what will replace the CST tests for History-Social Science and Science

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HISTORY-SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS
• We know a consortium has been working on Common State Standards for History-Social Studies.
• We know the standards will be presented at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference, November 16-18 in Seattle, WA
• We know that the one of the primary developers will present these standards at the California Council for the Social Studies, March 6-8, 2013 in Burlingame, CACome and join us if your on the left coast this year.  We are going to have a major Common Core Conference within our regular California Council for the Social Studies Conference – 8 hours of intensive training in the Common Core Standards and how they pertain to teams of History-Social Studies/English Language Arts teachers.

Here is a FAQ sheet from Sacramento County Office of Education  http://www.scoe.net/castandards/multimedia/common_core_faq.pdf

The Source, Journal of the California History Project which published an article of mine. http://www.ccss.org/Resources/Documents/CommonCore_Source.pdf

“Preparing Students for College, Career and CITIZENSHIP:
A California Guide to Align Civic Education and the Common Core State
Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies,
Science and Technical Subjects”, a white paper by Dr. Michelle Herczog, Los Angeles County Office of Education —http://www.ccss.org/Resources/Documents/Herczog-CCSSNCSS%20Journal%20Article%20for%20Matrix.pdf

How Committees Work Well

Social describes the social studies community of California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS).  The first CCSS.History-Social Studies people can be controversial and argumentative, or they can cooperate, and accomplish a lot.  Usually it’s a little of both.There’s a lot of persuading and synergy going on in California Council for the Social Studies these days.Committees do the work of the organization.  They set goals, review the organization’s position statements, gain new information, and network.  Their needs, and the needs of the social studies teachers they serve and represent drive changes, and keep the 51-year-old organization growing and thriving.Committee members concentrate, using the time to research on the internet.Others are planning, working out the details.Some committees are more social than others.  The Membership Committee wants to attract new members while retaining current ones to keep the organization viable and healthy.Other committees are more pensive and academic as they determine what should go into future issues of the organizations scholarly journal, “Social Studies Review”.At the end of the day all six committees had written motions describing what they wanted to accomplish by the conference, “Social Studies on the March” in March, 2013.  They knew who was responsible to carry out the tasks, and how much it would cost.  Each gave a short report as they finished up the paperwork to document the decisions that had been made.And best of all, nobody killed anybody!

2013 CCSS Social Studies on the March in Burlingame

A good friend once told me that understanding the Civil War starts with understanding the geography.  I found out that the same thing is true of planning a conference.   You can’t plan for 500 extra conference attendees if your rooms can only seat 600.  The CCSS Planning Committee arrived at the Hyatt knowing that we had 10 rooms, but we didn’t know how they would be laid out or how many people could fit in the space.  We just weren’t skilled at reading the map and visualizing the space.  Fortunately for us Jeffrey Lemmon and Daisy Lopez patiently guided us through the space.

The bottom line is that we now believe – based on physical evidence – that we can do what we set out to do.  Have 1,000 people attend the Conference.  That means that we can contact the speakers, and start recruiting the Common Core presenters and recruiting districts to send their teachers to our premier conference.

CCSS California Council for the Social Studies

The initials for California Council for the Social Studies are now being confused with Common Core State Standards.  More people will visit our website looking for the Common Core.  We should have a helpful link on there along with some Common Core posts that people will stop to read first.

Brent Heath opened up his home in Ontario, CA for our Executive Board Retreat where we planned for the upcoming year.

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The Executive Board consists of the President, Avi Black, President Elect, Brent Heath, First Vice President, Marsha Ingrao, Northern Area Vice President, Denise Findlay, Valerie Dougherty, Central Area VP, and Amanda Roraback, Southern Area VP – soon to be First VP, and Tracy Middleton upcoming Southern Area VP.  For two days we plowed through many nitty gritty details that allow CCSS to present a state conference that encompasses all the social studies, produce literature that keeps teachers informed, and provide an advocate at the state capitol.

I am so excited to be a part of this organization.  Everybody on the Board of Directors are volunteers, and those volunteers change annually or bi-annually.  Yet the mission remains the same – to support and advocate for social studies educators in California.

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Serving as a leader means having a say in what goes on in an organization, lots of hard work, but mostly it is a chance to get close to some really awesome people and do something that none of us could ever dream of doing alone.  What a great way to spend our lives!