Florida Council for the Social Studies 2017 Conference

Hello friends. The 2017 Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference is now accepting proposals for this fall.


This is the 60th annual conference for FCSS, and we expect some excellent opportunities for engagement with social studies teachers and leaders from across the state and country. The conference will be help on October 20-22, 2017 in Palm Harbor, Florida.

More information about the conference can be found on the FCSS homepage. We look forward to seeing you in Palm Harbor!

Tooting a Horn: The Doyle Casteel Leadership Award at FCSS


Dr. Doug Dobson (LFI Executive Director), Peggy Renihan, and Senator Bob Graham


So the Florida Council for the Social Studies annual conference was this past weekend. It was well attended, and I will be sharing some pictures of our own booth and thoughts on the conference later. Right now, however, I am thrilled to share that the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship‘s own Peggy Renihan, who by the way chair the conference organizing committee, was recognized by the Florida Council for the Social Studies. She was give the Doyle Casteel Leadership Award at Saturday’s awards dinner (co-organized by our own Chris Spinale). This award is given to those FCSS members who have excelled as leaders, advocates, and mentors.
Having worked with Peggy over the past two years, I am completely unsurprised by this recognition. We are grateful for the work she has done and continues to do for both FCSS and for FJCC and PAEC.
Congrats, Peggy, and thanks for all that you do for our profession and our work and, most importantly, our teachers and students.

Even MORE Upcoming FCSS Sessions!

So this weekend is the start of the Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference. Have you registered yet? Are you coming? We hope you are coming, because we have some awesome sessions lined up. You can learn more about the keynote speaker here, and you can go here and here to get get an overview of some of the sessions we have planned. So with that out of the way, let’s take another look at some of the quality sessions we have lined up for you this weekend.

Saturday Morning, Concurrent Session 1

Factors Relating to U.S. History End of Course Exam for African American Students Irenea Walker, University of Central Florida

If social studies teachers properly alter their pedagogical approaches, African American students can learn to appreciate learning about historical facts. This paper focuses upon creative lessons that focus on interactive activities to peak interest.


Engaging the 21st Century Learner Amanda Mudlock and Rich Sayers, Pearson

Build academic skills for 21st century students through inquiry-based learning by facilitating easy projects, civic discussions, and document-based questions. Teach students to take ownership of their ideas, work together, and communicate clearly. 


Curating Your Collection: Promoting Content Area Literacy by Giving Student Tools
to Explore Social Studies Texts  Heather Cerra, Northwest Elementary School, Hillsborough County Public Schools

How can teachers spark student interest in informational and historical fiction texts related to social studies content? Using a unique framework, teachers can build student engagement and realize student growth in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension. (Elementary Session!)


Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session 2

The Great Travel Fair: A Cross-Curricular Unit of Study Amy Trujillo, Orange / Orlando Science Elementary School

Now in it’s fourth year, The Great Travel Fair combines ELA, Science, Social Studies, and Math in order for students to understand the regions of the United States through a balance of 21st century skills. 

Public History, Memory, and Survival: Producing History Through Student
Centered Technology  Joshua Stern, St. Johns Country Day School

Attendees will learn how to use iMovie to allow students to bring stories of Holocaust survival to life. Students become active public historians and create meaningful results by preserving and transmitting these vital personal histories.


Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session 3

St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement: Seamless Integration into your Classroom Blake Pridgen & Benjamin Rome, Flagler College

Utilizing the primary sources in Flagler College’s Civil Rights Library of St. Augustine (CRLSA: http://civilrights.flagler.edu), teachers will learn to effectively teach Florida’s involvement in the civil rights movement, grades 4-12.


Sunday Morning, Concurrent Session 7

The State of the Assessment: Civics End-of-Course Assessment Stacy Skinner, Ed. D., Social Studies Coordinator, Test Development Center; Elise Beachy, Annette Boyd Pitts, Robert Brazofsky, Maureen Carter, Erin Conklin, Christy Disinger, George Masek, Stephen Masyada, Ph.D., Peggy Renihan, Chris Spinale, Jackie Viana

This annual conference message about the middle school Civics EOCA will provide an overview of implementation, a review of student performance data, and a discussion about test development with Florida educators involved in the process. (Note: A similiar session around the US History EOCA will be offered earlier in the morning.)

Demographic Breakdown

Achievement Level by Demographic Background

Context and Comparison: At the heart of AP World History Robert Strayer and Patrick Whelan, Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishers

This session provides resources—both content and pedagogical—for effectively teaching contextualization and its companion skill of comparison. It addresses the much increased role of contextual thinking in the new exam format. 



This has been just taste of the possibilities. Please be sure to check out additional session descriptions at 2016-fcss-session-descriptions, and earlier posts on what is shaping up to be a great conference session here, here, here, and here on why you should attend! Hey, it will be worth it for the trick or treating alone!

You can register for FCSS online. It’s a great and affordable conference, and a chance to meet folks you can work with and learn from. Hope to see you here in Orlando. The hashtag for the conference, by the way, will be #FLCSS16. Join us!

More Upcoming FCSS Conference Sessions

Don’t forget that the FCSS Conference comes soon! In our last post, we highlighted some interesting conference sessions that may be of interest to a wide variety of audiences. So how about we take a look at some more intriguing sessions!

Saturday Morning, Concurrent Session One

Making Connections in CIVICS with the Interactive Notebook, Patricia Kroeger, Destin Middle School,Okaloosa County Public Schools

Teachers will learn Interactive Notebook strategies that connect student learning to the benchmark essential questions, practice test-taking strategies, and connect currentevents to concepts of government.
Note: as a civics educator, this sounds fantastic. always looking for new ways to approach instruction!



Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session Two

Publishing in Social Studies Journals, Dr. Scott M. Waring, University of Central Florida

The presenter edits several social studies journals (Social Studies and the Young Learner, CITE –Social Studies, and Social Studies Research and Practice). He will discuss the process of publishing in various social studies journals.
Note: This is a great opportunity to learn how to provide service to the field!

ssyl sw cite
Saturday Afternoon, Concurrent Session 3

Preparing Teachers to Meet the Holocaust Mandate in Elementary Grades Ilene Allgood & Rachayita Shah, Florida Atlantic University, Maureen Carter, Palm Beach County Schools

A Genocide Studies Unit was developed for an undergraduate multicultural course, and studied for its effectiveness in preparing pre-service teachers to implement the State-mandated Holocaust curriculum in grades K-12th.


Two brothers sitting for a family portrait in the Kovno ghetto (one month before they were deported to the Majdanek extermination camp) from http://genocide.leadr.msu.edu/representing-the-children-of-the-holocaust/

Sunday Morning, Concurrent Session 5

What to Expect on January 20, 2017?      Terri Susan Fine, University of Central Florida/ Florida Joint Center for Citizenship

What happens during the first year of a new presidency? This session will address how the president uses the first 100 days of the new administration, organizing Congress, and connecting campaign promises to policy proposals.


Oil painting of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States which took place on April 30, 1789. Encyclopedia Britannica, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Washington%27s_Inauguration.jpg

And of course please don’t forget the fantastic keynote we have lined up! Please be sure to register now! We look forward to seeing you in Orlando.


Upcoming FCSS Conference Highlights

Don’t forget that the FCSS Conference comes soon! I just want to take a few minutes and highlight some interesting conference sessions that may be of interest to a wide variety of audiences.

Saturday morning, Concurrent Session 1:

If this is a Woman: FKL Ravensbruck Tom Glaser, Mater Academy Charter High School

Ravensbruck was the only main concentration camp for women, and it held an astonishing variety of nationalities and reasons for incarceration. It was the last place where gassings took place. Learn about this often neglected aspect of the Holocaust.

Key People and Places: Focus on Famous Floridians Lesley Mace, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Jacksonville Branch Gloria Guzman, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Miami Branch

Join this interactive session featuring new ways to teach about Florida’s famous entrepreneurs. Participate in a hands-on lesson and discover a free tool for creating fun cellphone/tablet quiz games to reinforce and assess student learning. 


Saturday, Concurrent Session 2:

Students Investigating Primary Sources: A FJCC & National Archives Partnership Val McVey, Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Dr. Charles Flanagan, Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives

Come learn about S.I.P.S.! Learn how to access and implement a new series of primary source activities and experience new distance learning services from the National Archives to make S.I.P.S. come to life in your classroom!



Engaging Social Studies in the Early Childhood Classroom (K-3) Kassie Erenstoft, Brevard Public Schools

Bring social studies to life for your youngest learners. Join us to discuss engaging, document analysis strategies to enrich social studies discussions in kindergarten through third grade classrooms. 



And of course please don’t forget the fantastic keynote we have lined up! Please be sure to register now! We look forward to seeing you in Orlando.


Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference Sessions

Have we mentioned that the Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference is coming soon (and that you should register)? No? Well, it is and you should! And we are happy to share with you information on sessions that will be taking place at the conference! Take a look at the matrices below for Saturday and Sunday, and then click here to get a description of each session: 2016-fcss-session-descriptions!



Through out the next few weeks leading up to the conference, we will be highlighting sessions of interest, and just why you may enjoy them. Please be sure to take a look at the session descriptions (2016-fcss-session-descriptions) and of course register and join us for a great weekend in Orlando! 

Florida Council for the Social Studies Awards Overview!

Every year at the annual conference, the Florida Council for the Social Studies gives out a number of awards that recognize excellence in social studies education and service to the social studies community. I just want to take a few minutes and provide you with an overview of those awards. I hope that you will consider registering for the conference and attending the awards banquet in order to help recognize your colleagues!

We are excited also to welcome Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons as the keynote speaker at dinner! Dr. Simmons has been proclaimed as an original Black Power feminist and a grassroots leader of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. Dr. Simmons will present her experience and role in Freedom Summer ’64 working to build schools, libraries and registering voters in black communities in the Mississippi Delta as part of the Civil Rights Movement. She will reflect on how these experiences were the start of a life of…“Putting communal goals before individual goals.”

The Doctor Theron Trimble Florida Teacher of the Year Award is to recognize exceptional social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12, and to encourage participation in the NCSS Teacher of the Year program at the national level. Nominees must be a former or current district-nominated FCSS Teacher of the Year, and a current member of FCSS. Nominees may apply in only one category (teaching social studies regularly and systematically in elementary settings, and at least half time in middle/junior high and
high school settings).

The Harry Tyson Moore Award is named after a teacher who championed the advancement of civil rights in Florida. Founder of the first branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Brevard County, Moore and his wife, Harriet Vyda Simms Moore, paid the ultimate price for their activism when their house was bombed on Christmas night, 1951. In sponsoring this award, Nystrom Education hopes to inspire future generations of Florida’s students to civic action with the story of Harry T. Moore, who declared, “Freedom never descends upon a people. It is always bought with a price.”

The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History awards the Florida American History Teacher of the Year in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education annually in its effort to promote the study and love of American history.

The Doyle Casteel Outstanding Leadership Award is given to an individual for his/her continuous leadership in a supervisory or administrative capacity. Their leadership in FCSS has promoted cross cultural understanding, mentoring of classroom teachers, and advocating the importance of social studies education. This award is sponsored by McGraw Hill Education.

The Warren Tracy Beginning Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of social studies teachers new to the field of education, who engage students in meaningful lessons to increase student awareness, who are involved with school/ community activities, and who are leaders on behalf of education.

The Outstanding Citizen Award recognizes an individual in the state of Florida who has done the most to promote the growth of social studies throughout the State.

The Excellence in Teaching History Award, sponsored by Pearson Education, is to recognize and celebrate a Florida teacher of history who encourages an appreciation and respect for history, involves students in the historical process, and evidences mastery of the subject matter.

The Agnes Crabtree International Relations Award recognizes the FCSS member who has, through teaching, research or community activities furthered the cause of international, intercultural relations. It is given in honor of Agnes Crabtree, a Miami-Dade teacher. Agnes was active in NCSS and FCSS, and the United Nations Association, serving as NEA international relations consultant.

The B. J. Allen Social Science Professional Award is given to an outstanding FCSS educator who has served the professional organization in a comprehensive way. The award honors service to FCSS and to social studies during the year or years immediately past. Dr. B.J. Allen, Florida State University Professor, and President of the organization.

The J.R. Skretting Leadership Award honors an outstanding FCSS educator who has served with distinction during the year or years immediately past. J. R. Skretting was head of the Social Studies Education Department at Florida State University, the first Executive Secretary of FCSS and provided outstanding leadership for the organization.

The Wilma Simmons Golden Service Award recognizes a member who has been active for many years and has made significant and lasting contributions to the council. Wilma Simmons, former Social Studies Supervisor in Duval County, was one of the original founders of FCSS.

awards-sponsorsWe hope that you will join us to recognize the winners of these and the district Outstanding Teachers of the Year that will also be brought on stage! Register now for FCSS! 

Why Attend the Florida Council for the Social Studies Conference in October?

We know that as teachers, you have a great many draws on your attention, but I want to encourage you to consider attending the Florida Council for the Social Studies state conference. The theme, ‘Survival in a Changing World’, is incredibly relevant to our work as social studies teachers in a climate that is increasingly divisive and difficult, and many of the sessions at the conference on that upcoming fine October weekend will provide you with ways to survive in this changing world.

The Keynote Speaker on Saturday is Dr. Murali Balaji of the Hindu American Foundation. I personally have known Dr. Balaji for a number of years, and he is engaging and dynamic speaker. You can find out more about Dr. Bajali at our earlier post on his selection as the keynote. We also have some quality preconference sessions lined up to engage early arrivers! We are especially excited that we will be joined by both the DBQ Project and Dr. Charlie Flanagan of the National Archives for an excellent time!


Another thing to think about, and this is VERY significant, is that this is an adoption year for social studies. You know what that means don’t you? It means that publishers will be all over the exhibit hall, and they will be VERY VERY VERY eager to make sure you sample their materials. There will, no doubt, be a great opportunity to get some free stuff and make some contacts!

Speaking of the exhibit hall, on Friday night, Nystrom (yes, the same folks who put on that great dance at NCSS!) will be sponsoring a ‘trick or treat’ event in the exhibit hall. Dress up as a civic or historic figure or concept and get some free swag from folks in the hall. Shoot, you don’t even have to dress up! Just take part in the fun!

Sunday will be a day focused on Advanced Placement and meeting the needs of our colleagues that are dealing with some huge changes to both APUSH and AP World History. There will also be sessions available for all disciplines and grade levels. Dr. Stacy Skinner will be providing valuable information regarding the Social Studies End-of-Course Assessments.

CUFA-FL, under the leadership of UCF’s own Dr. Scott Waring, will also be hosting a number of good sessions led by leading social studies scholars. Well worth your time !

There are so many other reasons to attend the conference. The schedule of events is below, and the matrix and program will be available soon.  Please consider joining us this fall, especially if you are a new or pre-service teacher, and network with colleagues, make new friends, learn some stuff, and, most importantly, have some well-deserved fun! Register today! 


Pre-Conference Fun and Learning at FCSS in October!

While the schedule may still be a bit flexible, we are excited to announce the current line up for the pre-conference events at the Florida Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference in October.


The Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives will be facilitating a half day, afternoon, pre-conference session.
  • Developing Disciplinary Literacy Skills With Primary Sources & Political Cartoons
    Looking for ways to engage students with primary sources and assist with content comprehension and analysis skills? Dr. Charles Flanagan from the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives will provide participants with pedagogy and classroom-ready resources to bring primary sources, specifically political cartoons, to life in the classroom.  
The DBQ Project will be facilitating a full day pre-conference session.
  • DBQ Mix It Up:  DBQ Online in the Blended Classroom
    The session is designed to help teachers conceptualize ways to deeply engage students in the analysis of historical texts in a blended classroom. Join us and let’s mix it up.
The Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) will be providing a full day pre-conference session.  
  • Teaching Strategies for All Struggling Readers in Social Studies Classes·                Content and ESE specialists provide professional development to meet the needs of all learners, particularly struggling readers, in Social Studies classes.  This session is focused on introducing strategies and resources to seamlessly engage all students.  Workshop will be UDL aligned and introduce technology resources to enhance learning.
Florida & National History Day professional educator experts will be facilitating a half day, morning, pre-conference session.
  • Increasing Success & Engagement for History Day
    Florida professional educators will share valuable information, tips, hints, and suggestions for Florida & National History Day based on what they learned during the national institute this summer in Washington, D.C.

You can register for the conference here. And don’t forget about our awesome keynote speaker, Dr. Murali Balaji!

Trick or Treat at FCSS in October!

Hey! Don’t forget that the Florida Council for the Social Studies conference is rapidly approaching! The weekend of October 28th will be quite the weekend, with some excellent sessions, a fantastic keynote speaker, and considering this is an adoption year, lots and lots of vendors! The Florida branch of the College and University Faculty Assembly will also be sponsoring a number of excellent sessions featuring prominent scholars in social studies education! On Sunday, we will be having a number of sessions devoted to Advanced Placement teachers (including some excellent speakers and authors). But let me tell you about Friday. Friday is going to be awesome.

It is, of course, Halloween weekend during the FCSS conference, and what better place to trick or treat than at the conference! On Friday night, we (FCSS) will be hosting a special ‘trick or treat’ event in the exhibit hall. Dress up as a historically or civically important character and get some treats from vendors in the exhibit hall. Dressing in colonial era dress is especially encouraged! The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship will be there, and we will be joined by Uncle Sam and Columbia!

446px-uncle_sam_pointing_finger columbiastahrartwork

Following the trick or treat event in the exhibit hall, Nystrom will be sponsoring a special after event that will definitely be worth your time. If you have been to the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, you are likely familiar with the great dance our friends from Nystrom always put on, so you know this will be good!

So come on down to Orlando in late October, learn some stuff, make some connections, and have some FUN! You can register for the conference here!