Sharing the Loudness – Presentations!

ssol-presentationsLooking to improve your social studies instruction? I’d love to come to your school, district, CESA, house, vacation home, private beach, or wherever and share the awesomeness of social studies with you and share some of what I have learned and experienced in my quarter century in the job. I have presented at multiple NCSS conferences, countless WCSS conferences, and at the Teach Vietnam Teachers Network. I am also a social studies methods professor, so working with new teachers is old hat! While many of my  presentations are geared toward the social studies, I can modify them for general curriculum, especially in the area of technology.  

KEYNOTE – Social Studies in the 21st-Century – Time for a Change

Now, more than ever, social studies education is essential for all of our students, even though it is being pushed aside in many arenas of education. With a more connected populace having access to countless ideas and interacting with an untold amount of others, through political turmoil at home and abroad, with geographical challenges that have an impact on our present and future, and economic policies becoming more important than ever, an understanding of social studies is crucial in a local, national and global capacity. However, the traditional way of teaching the social studies does not match the needs of our current society. It is time for sweeping change in how social studies education is presented in pre-service programs and how the social studies are taught in schools. This keynote will highlight the need for change and offer direction for the future – relevant, engaging, creative, challenging, and meaningful social studies. And it will be LOUD!


Are You Experienced? – When you ask your students about their favorite and most meaningful memories from your class, it’s highly doubtful that they will mention a lecture, some worksheet packet, a jigsaw activity, or a test. All of those activities have their place in a social studies classroom, but to truly bring the social studies alive, we should be offering experiences that engage, challenge, and inspire curiosity in our students. This session will explore methods of creating memorable social studies experiences in any discipline, presenting the key components of such experiences and offering ideas for your class. Come with a topic in mind and leave with an entirely new experience for you and your students.

Target-Based Assessment in the Social Studies – Assessment of student learning and reporting student achievement are two interrelated components of successful social studies instruction. What’s the most effective method of determining what students know and can do, and how should their progress be displayed? This session will explore the implementation of a target based assessment system in middle school social studies, including a discussion of the rationale, benefits, and challenges of moving from points and grades to target scores. Example assessments will be shared, along with an online student reporting system.

Time for an Upgrade – Got a social studies lesson, activity, or assessment in need of an upgrade? Join in a fast-paced presentation with multiple ideas for enhancing any level of social studies lessons. From tech integration to virtual reality to popular culture, brainstorm with fellow attendees and walk away with an overflow of creative ideas.

20 Tools, 60 Minutes – The web is chock full of amazing resources for all teachers, especially those in the social studies classroom.  We can’t find, experiment, and integrate all of them, so here’s a score of tools presented in a single hour, along with ideas for their integration. The tools come fast and furious – and so will your ideas on incorporating them into your class!

Flip It – Flip It Good! – The flipped classroom is much more than simply turning those old lectures into videos and having your students watch them at night.  Interactive activities at home can turn into powerful learning experiences in the classroom, and this session will demonstrate how to create fantastic flipped lessons and how to use the lessons for powerful learning in class.

Let’s Discuss – Discussion should be at the core of any social studies activity, as students consider multiple perspectives and ideas to deeply engage with a topic and arrive at their own opinions. This session will present and model effective methods of discussion for various ages, along with proposed ideas for reflection for students and moderators.

Field Trip 2.0 The trip to museum, historical site, or civic area is a staple of social studies classes across the globe – as is the image of kids running around with clipboards, filing in worksheets without really engaging with the travel experience.  Find out a variety of methods to take your trip to the next level.

Awesome PD for SSTs – Professional development opportunities have exploded for teachers over the past decade, and it’s nearly impossible to find every PD prospect for social studies teachers.  This session will present multiple options for professional development, including many that involve free travel! In addition, you will learn how to be a successfully connected social studies pro through the use of social media and conferences.

BREAK OUT! – If you have a combination lock, energetic students, some creativity, and a desire to have your students collaborate and solve problems, then a social studies breakout is for you!  You can purchase a Breakout EDU kit and experiences from the pros, but the fun really lies in creating your own, designed to meet your curriculum and learning goals. Experience a Breakout in this session, and then follow the design process to begin developing your own exciting team experience!

Signposts in the Social Studies – Nobody has to explain that social studies is a predominantly text driven discipline, as we typically provide information to students through the written word. It’s one of the big biggest challenges for teachers and students – how can we get our students to analyze nonfiction writing and in and in effective manner? Follow the sign posts! This session will utilize the work of Beers and Probst to explain how signposts can be used to truly dive into challenging reading, leading to better comprehension and greater engagement for students.

Social Media, Social Studies! – Social media is ubiquitous in the 21st century, and social studies teachers can take advantage of the many platforms available to instruct, assess,  communicate, and grow as professionals. Attendees will learn about the power of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and whatever new platforms that have sprung up since this description was written. We will look at teacher use, classroom use, student use, and more.  Bring a device – it’s mandatory!

Road Trip!  Google Maps in the Social Studies – For a social studies teacher, Google Maps can be indispensable.  It offers a powerful and engaging platform for teachers to present content and, more importantly, for students to create content collaboratively.  students love that they feel like Atlas, holding the world in the palm of the hand (actually, at their fingertips).  It’s incredible fun to play around with Google Maps, zooming in on your house or school, doing a street level view of your neighborhood, looking for famous landmarks … but how can this powerful tool be used in and out of the classroom for more than just a fly by? With some creativity, experimentation, and guidance, almost any social studies topic can be taught (and assessed) through Google Maps.  It takes only a few minutes to devise challenging, creative and engaging activities combining history, geography, and technology.  So … let’s take a look at some awesome ideas for integrating Google Maps, and then make one together!

Hello! The Power of Cell Phones – We would never take away a powerful learning tool from our students – so why have them check their cell phones at the door? This session will offer multiple methods of integrating cellphones (and other mobile devices) into the social studies classroom.

It’s Essential – EQs in the Social Studies – Essential questions should be the core of any class, especially in the social studies, where things aren’t always black and white.  Learn about the essentialness of EQs from a self-professed EQ addict, find out about overarching and unit/lesson specific essential questions, and develop excellent essential questions of your own.  Throw in a bazillion ways to creatively assess EQs and you’ll walk away with a new class!

I’m also working on the following …

  • Making the C3 Work for You
  • The Enthusiastic Teacher
  • The Creative Process – Step by Step
  • Textbook? We Don’t Need No Stinking Textbook!

Don’t see what you are looking for?  Let me know – maybe I just haven’t made that presentation yet.  If it’s a social studies education topic, I probably have something about it in my bag of tricks.  Except for the Reformation.  I never really got the Reformation, and am too old to start now.