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On the Importance of 2021 Statewide Summative Assessment Results

Statewide summative assessments are important; they provide an important metric into the effectiveness of our educational system. And while they are important, they are also limited in what they can tell us about this system. Summative assessments are typically a one-time event that measure a small but important set of English Language Arts or Mathematics standards. These assessments are efficient and reliable; but they do not tell the whole story.


A curious person could spend a lifetime digging into Nebraska’s statewide 2021 assessment results. There is rich information to be gleaned about fractions, main ideas, and antonyms. Countless analyses could be conducted and checked to slice and dice the data an infinite number of ways. But if that curious person only had the data from the spring 2021 assessments, and they produced thousands of analyses and wrote hundreds of journal articles about that data, they would miss the point.


They would miss the story. The assessments measure important information that students should know but again they measure only a small fraction of the information that students need to know.  These assessments measure what they do in precise but limited ways.


A quick look at the 2021 NSCAS assessments results could easily be interpreted to say that Nebraska students did not learn as much ELA and Mathematics content as students did in previous years. First, that would not surprise any educator or parent when they think back to 2020-2021. It is likely true that there is evidence to suggest that students did not learn as much ELA and Mathematics content as students did previously.  But the limited nature of those assessments would fail to tell us what students, teachers, parents, and communities learned and overcame in 2020-2021.


Here are some of things those assessments did not measure.

  • Resilience to learn despite a pandemic
  • Ingenuity to find new ways to interact remotely and learn digitally
  • Curiosity to find a new hobby or to learn about a new subject while in quarantine
  • Consideration to be willing to wear a mask all day, every day
  • Dedication to establish repetitive rigorous routines to keep spaces safe
  • Cleverness to troubleshoot new digital devices and software to connect us
  • Patience to wait in line six feet away from everyone
  • Compassion to find new ways to manage learning in order to protect those vulnerable to disease
  • Inventiveness to find new games to play at recess that followed social distancing guidelines
  • Tenacity to investigate every lead during contract tracing to limit potential exposures
  • Resolve to protect students and communities while continuing to do the already difficult work of teaching and learning.
  • Flexibility to pivot based on the newest scientific information about COVID19
  • Relationships that make all the difference in the world to students and families

The statewide assessments do not measure how much our students and educators overcame and what they learned in the process. The data will provide additional evidence to direct our current and future efforts. They tell us that there is still much to learn and a need for improvement; but educators already knew that.


(Dr. Jeremy Heneger is the Director of Statewide Assessment at the Nebraska Department of Education. He holds and Education Doctorate from Doane University and is a 20-year veteran Nebraska educator)

2021-22 Alternate Assessment Waiver Public Comment

Notice of Intent to Apply for a Waiver of Federal Requirement Related to the Percent of Students Who Participate in Statewide Assessments and Opportunity for Comment

To: Public

From: Nebraska Department of Education

Date: December 5, 2020

The Nebraska Department of Education intends to seek a waiver for the 2021-2022 school year of the federal requirement that would limit the number of students in the state who take alternate assessments.  The purpose of this notice is to provide you with an opportunity to comment on this intended waiver request.

Under the requirements of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Nebraska would need to limit the total number of students who could be designated to participate in NSCAS Alternate Assessment (NSCAS-AA) to 1.0 percent of the students who are required to participate in NSCAS.  The aim of the legislation is to prevent an excessive number of students with disabilities from being designated for alternate assessments.  Participation in an alternate assessment may limit their access to the full range of academic content standards and could, as a result, delay or prevent them from eventually meeting the state’s graduation requirements.  Generally, students with significant cognitive disabilities are given alternate assessments because they cannot participate in standard assessments, even with accommodations.

The 1.0 percent cap is applied uniformly across all states, regardless of the relative frequency of students with disabilities in the school-age population.  It is worth noting that Nebraska currently assesses 1.04 percent of its eligible students on the NSCAS-AA. We anticipate making some progress in the next year to lower the percentage of students taking the NSCAS-AA, but reaching the target set by ESSA would likely take Nebraska several years.  In pursuit of this goal, the Department recently shared information and guidance on this topic and will continue to promote awareness of the need for appropriate assessment of students with disabilities by providing technical assistance.

The U.S. Department of Education is allowing states to apply for a waiver extension of this requirement for the current school year (2021-2022).  The waiver, if granted, will permit Nebraska to gradually reduce the number of students participating in the NSCAS-AA while continuing to provide technical assistance to schools and districts to assist IEP teams to make informed assessment decisions for students with disabilities.

Additional information about the waiver request is available in pdf.

NDE welcomes your comments regarding the intent to apply for this waiver. Comments will be accepted until December 20, 2021.

Questions may be submitted via email .

December 2021 Newsletter

Inclusivity, Equity, and Diversity During December

December is a month full of celebration, family, and merriment. There are holidays this month that are observed by religious and cultural groups. Our Jewish friends recognize Hanukkah from Sunday, November 28, 2021 to Monday, December 6, 2021. Christmas celebrations and observances occur on December 25, 2021. African-American families will participate in festivities associated with Kwanzaa. This month I encourage educators to not only discuss, share, and celebrate the holidays that are familiar to them, but if time allows, to introduce some that may be unfamiliar to students. As we continue to strive for inclusivity, equity, and diversity in our social studies classroom, this month makes it a little easier to continue to practice “Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors”. Below are resources and tips to ensure student inclusivity and also help with teaching about both the well and lesser-known December holidays.

Tips for Teaching During the Holidays




Three Kings Day (January Holiday)

Islam and the Winter Season

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Bill of Rights Day

Pledge of Allegiance Day

Universal Human Rights Month


High-quality, standards-aligned classroom resources, lesson plans, teaching inspiration, and professional development opportunities—all inspired by our mission that Global Civics is essential for twenty-first century citizenship. World101 is a growing library of free multimedia resources that provide an immersive learning experience in a variety of settings: in classrooms, in corporate training rooms, and at home. Through its entertaining, interactive story-telling, World101 makes complex international relations and foreign policy issues accessible to learners both inside and outside formal academic settings. World101 will help the American public build an understanding of today’s most pressing issues and how those issues are relevant to them, thus preparing them to make informed choices of public officials (and hold them accountable), compete on a global stage, invest in their futures, and make a difference.

Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau

Humanities Nebraska has announced that 31 topics from its Speakers Bureau have been specially selected to represent a special initiative by the National Endowment for the Humanities. “A More Perfect Union” is intended to advance civic education nationwide as we approach the United States of America’s 250th Anniversary.  The goal of this initiative is to help Americans better understand the world’s oldest constitutional democracy and how our founding ideals are met in a pluralistic society.

Members of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau are screened through an auditioning process to ensure that audiences will receive a high-quality educational experience.  To assist libraries, schools, clubs and other organizations in planning a speaker event or series, programs from this list are available at a special rate of $25 for the first application in a calendar year and $50 for a second application in the same calendar year. The usual two application limit is also waived, allowing a third application from this list at the $50 rate.  For a full listing of topics, please go to our website:

Books of the Month

December “Books of the Month”


by: Tara Westover

Educated (2018) is a memoir by the American author Tara Westover. Westover recounts overcoming her survivalist Mormon family in order to go to college, and emphasizes the importance of education in enlarging her world. She details her journey from her isolated life in the mountains of Idaho to completing a PhD program in history at Cambridge University. She started college at the age of 17 having had no formal education. She explores her struggle to reconcile her desire to learn with the world she inhabited with her father.

How to Educate An American

by: Michael J. Petrilli & Chester E. Finn, Jr.

In the years after A Nation at Risk, conservatives’ ideas to reform America’s lagging education system gained much traction. Key items like school choice and rigorous academic standards drew bipartisan support and were put into practice across the country.

Today, these gains are in retreat, ceding ground to progressive nostrums that do little to boost the skills and knowledge of young people. Far from being discouraged, however, conservatives should seize the moment to refresh their vision of quality K–12 education for today’s America. These essays by 20 leading conservative thinkers do just that.

How the Word is Passed

by: Clint Smith

Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.

Paper Trials

by: Cameron Blevins

Cameron Blevins argues that the US Post wove together two of the era’s defining projects: western expansion and the growth of state power. Between the 1860s and the early 1900s, the western United States underwent a truly dramatic reorganization of people, land, capital, and resources. It had taken Anglo-Americans the better part of two hundred years to occupy the eastern half of the continent, yet they occupied the West within a single generation. As millions of settlers moved into the region, they relied on letters and newspapers, magazines and pamphlets, petitions and money orders to stay connected to the wider world.

Retro Report

Retro Report is a non-profit journalism organization. In your classroom, we can help foster engagement and critical thinking skills with over 250 short videos that connect history to today.

Our videos are perfect for many classroom subjects, particularly U.S. History, Civics & Government, Media Literacy, World History, Psychology, and Environmental Studies.

All of our videos, lessons, and student activities are completely FREE.

Our Director of Education, David Olson, spent over 15 years leading Middle School, High School, and College classrooms. Our goal at Retro Report is to meet the needs of educators and provide high quality, FREE materials to help connect past and present.

Kialo Edu

Kialo is a public discussion platform designed to facilitate reasoned debates about complex topics online. Since we first launched in the fall of 2017, we’ve grown into a community with thousands of debates and millions of contributions.

Our mission is to make the world a more thoughtful place, and we believe education is crucial in achieving that. With clear visualization of arguments and with powerful, easy to use navigation tools, Kialo is the perfect resource to help students master critical thinking and reasoning skills.

From the very start, academics have recognized the potential of our platform for educational and research applications. Many academics see Kialo as a solution to the many issues existing in online discourse today. Many teachers have approached us, asking if there were any plans to make an education-focused version of Kialo. We are proud to say that Kialo Edu is now launched and fully operational!

Kialo Edu allows educators to curate spaces for students to work through complex subjects together, while giving students the space to ask questions, discuss, and evaluate new ideas.

Professional Learning Opportunity

Katrina Gotschall, Social Studies and 7-12 ELA PD Coordinator for ESU 8 in Neligh, Nebraska is looking into creating a learning opportunity for 7-12 Social Studies teachers and 7-12 ELA teachers who teach about The Holocaust and Genocide to come together at Kansas City’s traveling exhibit “Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away” which will be on display at Union Station through March 20, 2022. We would be using the lens of the Inquiry Design Model to explore the exhibit and discussing trauma informed best practices when teaching about The Holocaust.

She would like to gather some feedback on whether teachers from around the state may be interested in an opportunity like this. Would you take a few minutes to complete this interest survey?  You are not committing to anything by completing the survey, but if you answer “yes” to the survey, we will follow up with your after all feedback has been collected and reviewed.

The survey will close Tuesday, December 7th.

Link to survey:

Thank you for taking the time to complete this interest survey! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

Nebraska Story Map Competition 2022

The Nebraska Story Map Competition encourages students to use a powerful mapping application called geographic information systems (GIS) to research and analyze some aspects of Nebraska.  Students will showcase their results in a story map.  This online competition is open to students in high school grades 9-12 or middle school grades 4-8.  Students can complete a map project in a team of 1 or 2 students.

The 5 best HS + 5 best MS map entries will be awarded $100 each.  Two-member student teams will divide the cash award.   FYI- we have had no middle school student map entries since 2018.  Let’s change this!

This URL Nebraska Story Map Competition 2022 ( provides a description of the competition,  showcases last year’s top 5 HS student maps, and tutorials on how to use the GIS mapping software called ArcGIS Online.  Contact Dr. Lesli Rawlings at if you have any questions about the competition or want more information.

Data USA

In 2014, Deloitte, Datawheel, and Cesar Hidalgo, Professor at the MIT Media Lab and Director of Collective Learning, came together to embark on an ambitious journey — to understand and visualize the critical issues facing the United States in areas like jobs, skills and education across industry and geography. And, to use this knowledge to inform decision making among executives, policymakers and citizens.

Our team, comprised of economists, data scientists, designers, researchers and business executives, worked for over a year with input from policymakers, government officials and everyday citizens to develop Data USA, the most comprehensive website and visualization engine of public US Government data. Data USA tells millions of stories about America. Through advanced data analytics and visualization, it tells stories about: places in America—towns, cities and states; occupations, from teachers to welders to web developers; industries–where they are thriving, where they are declining and their interconnectedness to each other; and education and skills, from where is the best place to live if you’re a computer science major to the key skills needed to be an accountant.

Data USA puts public US Government data in your hands. Instead of searching through multiple data sources that are often incomplete and difficult to access, you can simply point to Data USA to answer your questions. Data USA provides an open, easy-to-use platform that turns data into knowledge. It allows millions of people to conduct their own analyses and create their own stories about America – its people, places, industries, skill sets and educational institutions. Ultimately, accelerating society’s ability to learn and better understand itself.

Voices of Democracy

Voices of Democracy promotes the study of great speeches and debates in U.S. history. The project features the words of those who have defined the country’s guiding principles, debated controversial social and political issues, and shaped the identity and character of the American people. The project aims to foster an understanding of the nation’s principles and history and to promote civic engagement among scholars, teachers, and students.

On this site, you will find authenticated speech texts, scholarly articles with critical analyses of those speeches, curriculum materials designed for undergraduate teachers and students, and lesson plans for high school and middle school teachers.

2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage in Essay Contest

Contest Topic

Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917.

To learn more about political courage, visit Contest Information and FAQs.

All submissions must adhere to contest requirements.

Contest Deadline

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest opens for submissions on September 1, 2021. The contest deadline is January 14, 2022.

Recognition and Awards

First-place: $10,000

Second-place: $3,000

Five Finalists: $1,000 each

Eight Semi-finalists: $100 each

Get Email Updates

Join our mailing list to get contest tips, updates, and a reminder to submit your essay.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum does not sell or share your personal information or email address.

2022 Summer Professional Development Opportunities in Social Studies

This document was compiled by the Council of State Social Studies Supervisors as a way to communicate the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators. A special thanks to all of the organizations who helped contribute to this work and to the many organizations who are offering high quality social studies professional development for social studies teachers across the country. Many of the opportunities below are offered free or low cost, but some opportunities do have a cost. When opportunities are highlighted in yellow, it means there are not yet 2022 updates for that particular program. The document will be updated through the spring of 2022. Please email Stefanie Wager at with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.

Constitute Project

New constitutions are written every year. The people who write these important documents need to read and analyze texts from other places. And citizens need to know, and to be able to understand, what’s in their countries’ foundational documents. Constitute offers access to the world’s constitutions so that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics—using an inviting, clean interface.

Constitute allows you to interact with the world’s constitutions in a few different ways.

  • Quickly find relevant passages. The Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) has tagged passages of each constitution with a topic—e.g., “right to privacy” or “equality regardless of gender”—so you can quickly find relevant excerpts on a particular subject, no matter how they are worded. You can browse the 300+ topics via the “Search | Topics | Filters” menu on the Constitutions page, or see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries).
  • Filter searches. Want to view results for a specific region or time period, or explore draft or historical texts? You can limit your search by specific parameters using the “Filters” options in the “Search | Topics | Filters” menu.
  • Read excerpts in List or Compare view. You can view searched excerpts within the default “List View,” or you can view two texts (or just their excerpts)  side-by-side in “Compare View,” still with the same search functionality.
  • Pin for further analysis. Pin excerpts, comparisons, or searches by clicking the “pin” button next to an expanded passage, the pin button at the top of the search results page, or the pin button on the right side of the comparison page. You can then view and download your pinned content by clicking on the “Pinned” link in the upper right section of the Constitutions page. Pinned items can be exported to Google Docs, rendered in PDF, or downloaded in .csv.

Furthermore, all of Constitute’s URLs are deep links, meaning you can link to a particular topic search, constitutional comparison, or even a specific constitutional provision directly, or share them on your social media accounts.

The Countries, Topics, and Data Stories sections of the website allow users to learn more about each country’s constitutional history, explore CCP’s inventory of constitutional topics, or dig deeper into analyzing the data.

Civics! An American Musical

Do your students have what it takes to be the next hit Broadway musical producers? In this free civics learning game, students assume the role of a theater producer adapting true events from United States history to the stage. It’s up to them to analyze primary sources from the Library of Congress to create a new smash Broadway musical hit that is historically accurate and celebrates the power of ordinary citizens in creating change. Students work with different theatrical departments to learn about important aspects of creating a musical, such as costuming, set design, writing, and music. Once all the mini-games are complete, they are rewarded with a scene from their musical on opening night, completely personalized based on the creative choices they made during their game experience.

Play for free now!

Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute® is an educational partnership between Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools designed to strengthen teaching and learning in local schools and, by example and direct assistance, in high-need schools across the country. Through the Institute, Yale faculty members and New Haven school teachers work together in a collegial relationship. The Institute is also an interschool and interdisciplinary forum for teachers to collaborate on new curricula.

Each teacher participating as a Fellow in an Institute seminar with a Yale faculty member studies the seminar subject and prepares a curriculum unit to be taught during the following year. In this way teachers deepen their knowledge of the subjects they teach and develop new curricular material to engage and educate the students in their school courses.

You can view the curriculum units by searching the topical index or the volumes of units published each year.

Curriculum units, the product of the Fellows’ seminar experience, are designed to teach their own students about the seminar subject. Each curriculum unit contains: content objectives – a clear statement of the subject matter the unit seeks to cover; teaching strategies – a unified, coherent teaching plan for those objectives; classroom activities; resources for teachers and students; and an appendix on how the unit implements academic standards of the school district.


Our ePals Global Community® pairs educators and students around the world in exciting project-based learning for language learning practice and cultural exchange.

ePals is a website that connects K-12 classrooms in more than 99 countries to share content and ideas and collaborate on projects (including pen pal exchanges). Teachers create a profile with a brief description about who they’re hoping to connect with and why; for example, a third-grade class that would like to meet French-speaking students to collaborate on a global green living project. Teachers can search for partner classrooms by language, age, and keyword, and can also factor in region/country and class size. The system will also recommend classrooms. Once connected, classes can communicate through a private workspace on the site.

Educators can apply safety filters to each student in their virtual classroom. They can choose to moderate all student messages before they’re sent, to receive copies of all messages once they’re delivered, or just moderate messages that contain flagged content, or opt for open communication with no teacher moderation. Teachers can also access lesson plan ideas and other resources on the site.


Explore the dispersal of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic world.

This digital memorial raises questions about the largest slave trades in history and offers access to the documentation available to answer them. European colonizers turned to Africa for enslaved laborers to build the cities and extract the resources of the Americas. They forced millions of Africans across the Atlantic to the Americas, and from one part of the Americas to another. Analyze these slave trades and view interactive maps, timelines, and animations to see the dispersal in action.

The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. The new SlaveVoyages website itself is the product of three years of development by a multi-disciplinary team of historians, librarians, curriculum specialists, cartographers, computer programmers, and web designers, in consultation with scholars of the slave trade from universities in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America. The National Endowment for the Humanities was the principal sponsor of this work carried out originally at Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. The Hutchins Center of Harvard University has also provided support. The website is currently hosted at Rice University.

November 2021 Newsletter

American Indian / Native American Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1914, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Below are resources to help you commemorate American Indian / Native American Heritage Month.

Veteran’s Day Resources

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

State Statute provides that all Nebraska schools should recognize and commemorate specific holidays throughout the school year ((6)Appropriate patriotic exercises suitable to the occasion shall be held under the direction of the superintendent in every public, private, denominational, and parochial school on George Washington’s birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Native American Heritage Day, Constitution Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, or on the day or week preceding or following such holiday, if the school is in session.).

Here are some teacher and student resources for Veteran’s Day!

Aviation History Month

November is National Aviation History Month and is dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight — from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.

Take a moment this month to celebrate aviation and Nebraska’s own history making Aviator, Evelyn “Sharpie” Sharp!

Books of the Month

November “Books of the Month”

“An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown

First published in 1970, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown’s eloquent, meticulously documented account of the systematic destruction of American Indians during the second half of the nineteenth century. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown introduces readers to great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes, revealing in heart wrenching detail the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that methodically stripped them of freedom.

“Destiny of the Republic” by Candice Millard

James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation’s corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield’s inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but became the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.

“Integrating Primary and Secondary Sources Into Teaching” by Scott Waring

Learn how to integrate and evaluate primary and secondary sources by using the SOURCES framework. SOURCES is an acronym for an approach that educators can use with student in all grades and content areas: Scrutinize the fundamental source, Organize thoughts, Understand the context, Read between the lines, Corroborate and refute, Establish a plausible narrative, and Summarize final thoughts. Waring outlines a clearly delineated, step-by-step process of how to progress through the seven stages of the framework and provides suggestions for seamlessly integrating emerging technologies into instruction. The text provides classroom-ready examples and explicit scaffolding, such as sources analysis sheets for various types of primary and secondary sources.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

2021-2022 Educator Resources from Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is excited to share with Nebraska teachers the 2021-2022 educator and student resources. The Museum offers virtual field trips to its world-class exhibitions, including the Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition for grades 7-12, Make a Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition for grades 3-6, and the Take a Stand Center for grades 7-12. Each offers character-building lessons drawn from the Museum’s artifacts and exhibits, including photographs, documents, and rich, first person accounts of Holocaust survivors and Upstanders. The virtual field trips are complete with questions for reflection and discussion, glossaries, and extension activities. These resources invite students to consider the power of choice, responsibility, citizenship, and human rights, and to discover what influences our decisions to act as bystanders or Upstanders in response to inhumanity. For more information on our onsite and virtual field trips, please click on the link:

The Museum has many more resources available including traveling and virtual teaching trunks that allows educators to create meaningful age/grade-appropriate lessons employing award–winning fiction and nonfiction, historical references, and other educational materials. Each trunk has been carefully developed to address State and National Learning Standards, including Common Core State Standards. Teaching Trunks are provided free of charge.

Each year, the Museum offers three Student Leadership Days for students in 5-6 grades, 7-8 grades, and 9-11th. Each program engages students in a variety of activities that inspire them to build leadership skills, explore their roles as citizens, and develop a deeper awareness and understanding of the Holocaust, genocide, and other human rights issues. Students return to their communities equipped to promote greater acceptance and understanding. Students leave with increased knowledge and tools and resources to stand up against injustice and bigotry.

Their Professional Development workshops engages teachers with range of topics around the Holocaust, genocide, civics, and human rights. At each workshop, educators will gain new classroom resources, activities, and content knowledge that can help them with their units.

If you would like to share this information with your District Administrators, Curriculum Coordinators, or other teachers, and they are interested in a short preview, please share this google form and the Education Team will follow up.

101st NCSS Annual Conference Goes Virtual

From the website:

After much deliberation, the NCSS Board of Directors has made the decision to host the 101st Annual Conference as a fully virtual event. (Read the full announcement.)

The NCSS 101st Annual Conference will be held online from Monday-Sunday, November 15-21, 2021. Last year we delivered the hottest virtual conference of the season, and this year will be no different as we focus on Solidarity in Social Studies.

This year’s conference is designed with you in mind, based on what we have learned from hosting and attending virtual conferences. This is professional learning designed to fit your lifestyle. Our full week will provide you with the most engaging and comfortable environment to experience your best virtual event yet.

You will not need to attend the virtual conference for a full week.  Most of the live presentations will be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, and perhaps during the week in the evening.  New recorded sessions will be released each day for on-demand viewing.

  • Experience more than 300+ hours of social studies content to increase your professional learning.  All sessions will be recorded and available on-demand for registrants until April 30, 2022.
  • Get the latest in social studies and law-related education.
  • Learn from prominent keynote speakers.
  • Explore the virtual exhibit hall highlighting the latest social studies products and services.
  • Connect with others via virtual networking.

GeoFest Nebraska

GeoFest 2021 is coming up and we’re excited to see you all! It takes place virtually again this year on Saturday November 13th, 2021 from 10:00-1:30.

We are happy to announce that we will be joined by Dr. Sarah Bednarz from Texas A&M (Retired) and Dr. Joseph Kerski (Esri) to help us with our theme of Teaching Spatial Citizenship.

For more information or to register please visit us on Facebook @GEONEbraska or by visiting the event page at

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Nebraska Story Map Competition 2022

The Nebraska Story Map Competition encourages students to use a powerful mapping application called geographic information systems (GIS) to research and analyze some aspects of Nebraska.  Students will showcase their results in a story map.  This online competition is open to students in high school grades 9-12 or middle school grades 4-8.  Students can complete a map project in a team of 1 or 2 students.

The 5 best HS + 5 best MS map entries will be awarded $100 each.  Two-member student teams will divide the cash award.   FYI- we have had no middle school student map entries since 2018.  Let’s change this!

This URL Nebraska Story Map Competition 2022 ( provides a description of the competition,  showcases last year’s top 5 HS student maps, and tutorials on how to use the GIS mapping software called ArcGIS Online.  Contact Dr. Lesli Rawlings at if you have any questions about the competition or want more information.

Bill of Rights Institute Homework Help Series

Have you ever looked at your teacher with a puzzled face when they explain history? I know we have. In our new Homework Help Series we break down history into easy to understand 5 minute videos to support a better understanding of American History. The BRI Homework Help Series has videos covering U.S. History, Government, and Civics.

The New York Time and The Learning Network Tutorial Weekly News Quiz

Every week of the school year, we publish a 10-question interactive quiz to challenge students’ knowledge of the week’s biggest news stories. The quiz invites students to select the missing words or phrases from selections of recent New York Times stories. It also challenges students to discern between real and fake headlines, and to match a mystery photo with the news story it depicts. Practicing with our weekly news quizzes can help students keep up with the news and get in the habit of following current events.

2022 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage in Essay Contest

Contest Topic

Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917. 

To learn more about political courage, visit Contest Information and FAQs.

All submissions must adhere to contest requirements.

Contest Deadline

The Profile in Courage Essay Contest opens for submissions on September 1, 2021. The contest deadline is January 14, 2022.

Recognition and Awards

  • First-place: $10,000
  • Second-place: $3,000
  • Five Finalists: $1,000 each
  • Eight Semi-finalists: $100 each

Get Email Updates

Join our mailing list to get contest tips, updates, and a reminder to submit your essay.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum does not sell or share your personal information or email address.

2022 Summer Professional Development Opportunities in Social Studies

This document was compiled by the Council of State Social Studies Supervisors as a way to communicate the wealth of professional development opportunities available to social studies educators. A special thanks to all of the organizations who helped contribute to this work and to the many organizations who are offering high quality social studies professional development for social studies teachers across the country. Many of the opportunities below are offered free or low cost, but some opportunities do have a cost. When opportunities are highlighted in yellow, it means there are not yet 2022 updates for that particular program. The document will be updated through the spring of 2022. Please email Stefanie Wager at with any questions, comments, or to add programs to this list.

Civic Learning Across the Disciplines – Designing Discussion as Inquiry with Dr. Paula McAvoy

Join the Illinois Democracy School Network as we welcome Dr. Paula McAvoy, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, N.C. State University for a timely webinar exploring best practices in using current and controversial issue discussions in the classroom. Dr. McAvoy will share attributes of a good discussion, using discussion as inquiry, model a tug of war activity as well as answer participant questions. Walk away with a deeper understanding of practices aligned to the Pedagogy Companion of the Educating for American Democracy Roadmap that embrace a commitment to learn about and teach full and multifaceted historical and civic narratives with a focus on inclusion and equity in both content and approach.

The Illinois Civics Hub offers additional professional development free of charge for educators.

NCSS Pre-Conference Clinic Korea’s Place in Teaching Social Studies

Are you ready for #NCSS21? Are you ready to join us for another amazing NCSS Clinic opportunity? Would you like to receive a $150.00 stipend to offset costs associated with attending NCSS Virtual Conference? Would you like to learn more about our FREE social studies modules, become part of a larger community, be eligible for future PD opportunities, and be eligible to apply for future travel to Korea? Are you ready to learn how to #TeachKorea?

Clinic participants will receive a $150 stipend!

WHAT: NCSS PreConference Clinic

TITLE: Korea’s Place in Teaching Social Studies


  1. Monday, November 15th from 7:00 — 8:30 PM Eastern
  2. Tuesday, November 16th from 7:00 — 8:30 PM Eastern

*participants are expected to complete both sessions

WHERE: Online Zoom platform

WHAT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE: The rich history and culture of Korea coupled with important recent developments provide multiple opportunities to engage students. Teachers will learn about lessons aligned to four disciplines of Social Studies:

  • History:  Students explore cultural diffusion along the Silk Road and the important role of Korea in trade and exchange along this important trade route.
  • Geography:  Student analysis of maps and various sources centered on Korea will lead students to answer the essential question:  What is the site and situation of Korea?
  • Economics:  Students investigate how comparative advantage and related concepts drive global trade and can explain the growth and importance of South Korea in the global economy.
  • Civics:  Students will explore concepts of citizenship, including a citizen’s rights and responsibilities in a democracy, based on readings from South Korea and the United States.

This interactive session allows teachers to use and consider how they might adapt materials for the specific populations they teach.

For more information and the find the link to register for NCSS and the Clinic, go to:

Virtual Classroom Visit with a Harvard Student Archaeologist

What is archaeology? Why is it important to know the past and the methods used to interpret it? What questions are answered by archaeology? How do you become an archaeologist?

Invite a Harvard archaeology student to your class to discuss how they study the human past and what they are learning. Each student speaker will share a short video in advance about their work and respond to student questions via video call. Interview an archaeologist and bring your social studies to life.

How to Reserve a Free Virtual Classroom Visit with a Harvard Student Archaeologist

Registration opens October 4.

  • Teacher selects a Harvard student archaeologist presenter
  • Teacher completes this form with a choice of dates and times
  • The museum contacts the teacher to discuss details
  • The museum sends a confirmation email and the video link for student viewing
  • A day in advance, the Harvard student calls the teacher to introduce themselves
  • On the reserved day, the Harvard student responds to the teacher’s video call

Thanksgiving Resources

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2021 occurs on Thursday, November 25. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

State Statute provides that all Nebraska schools should recognize and commemorate specific holidays throughout the school year ((6)Appropriate patriotic exercises suitable to the occasion shall be held under the direction of the superintendent in every public, private, denominational, and parochial school on George Washington’s birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Native American Heritage Day, Constitution Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, or on the day or week preceding or following such holiday, if the school is in session.). With one of those holidays being Thanksgiving, the following is a list of resources to help commemorate the holiday.

October 2021 Newsletter

Books of the Month

Hello, Nebraska social studies community! Since I can remember I have been an avid reader. As the Amazon truck keeps pulling up to my house to dump off more books, I thought it would be a great idea to share great reads about historical events, monthly observances, topics in education, and what’s on my bookshelf with you! Even better, if you have a suggestion that you would like to share, please send me an email, call, or text and I will make sure to include your book and give you credit in the next newsletter!

*One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a landmark 1967 novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez that tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founded the town of Macondo. The novel is often cited as one of the supreme achievements in literature.

Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda

In 2009, Raquel Cepeda embarked on an exploration of her genealogy using ancestral DNA testing to uncover the truth about her family and the tapestry of races and ethnicities that came together in an ambiguous mix in her features, resulting in “a beautiful story of reconciliation and redemption” (Huffington Post) with her identity and what it means to be Latina.

Che: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

Acclaimed around the world and a national best-seller, this is the definitive work on Che Guevara, the dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revolution.

The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes

As the novel opens, Artemio Cruz, the all-powerful newspaper magnate and land baron, lies confined to his bed and, in dreamlike flashes, recalls the pivotal episodes of his life. Carlos Fuentes manipulates the ensuing kaleidoscope of images with dazzling inventiveness, layering memory upon memory, from Cruz’s heroic campaigns during the Mexican Revolution, through his relentless climb from poverty to wealth, to his uneasy death. Perhaps Fuentes’s masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz is a haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico.

*The Punch by John Feinstein

When an on-court fight broke out between the Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers just before Christmas 1977, Rudy Tomjanovitch raced to break it up. He was met by Kermit Washington’s fist. This is the story of how one punch changed two lives, the NBA and how we think about basketball, forever.

*The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Last Stand is Philbrick’s monumental reappraisal of the epochal clash at the Little Bighorn in 1876 that gave birth to the legend of Custer’s Last Stand. Bringing a wealth of new information to his subject, as well as his characteristic literary flair, Philbrick details the collision between two American icons- George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull-that both parties wished to avoid, and brilliantly explains how the battle that ensued has been shaped and reshaped by national myth.

*The Last Gunfight by Jeff Guinn

On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, in a vacant lot in Tombstone, Arizona, a confrontation between eight armed men erupted in a deadly shootout. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral would shape how future generations came to view the Old West. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clantons became the stuff of legends, symbolic of a frontier populated by good guys in white hats and villains in black ones. It’s a colorful story—but the truth is even better.

*Leveraging Leadership by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

Paul Bambrick-Santoyo (Managing Director of Uncommon Schools) shows leaders how they can raise their schools to greatness by following a core set of principles. These seven principles, or “levers,” allow for consistent, transformational, and replicable growth. With intentional focus on these areas, leaders will leverage much more learning from the same amount of time investment. Fundamentally, each of these seven levers answers the core questions of school leadership: What should an effective leader do, and how and when should they do it.

*The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

The Leadership Challenge is the gold-standard manual for effective leadership, grounded in research and written by the premier authorities in the field. With deep insight into the complex interpersonal dynamics of the workplace, this book positions leadership both as a skill to be learned, and as a relationship that must be nurtured to reach its full potential.

*Denotes books personally recommended by Ebony McKiver

Hispanic Heritage Month

From website:

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. Discover documents, exhibits, films, blog posts and more from the National Archives and Presidential Libraries that highlight Hispanic culture.

Below are resources that can help you with your classroom lessons to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

National Endowment for the Humanities – Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History in the United States

Library of Congress – Hispanic Exploration

United States Census Bureau – National Hispanic Heritage Month: Stories, Population Data, and Trade Figures

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program

Pulitzer Center: Celebrating Latinx Community Organizations and Leaders 

National Archive: Primary Sources and Hispanic Heritage Month: A Wonderful Combination

National Park Services:500 Years of Hispanic and Latino History and Heritage 

A Latinx Resource Guide: Civil Rights Cases and Events in the United States 

Library of Congress: Podcasts on Hispanic Authors 

The Disagreement Project

From website:

The goal of this project is to increase your students ability to engage in productive dialogue with a person who disagrees with them about something important.

Students will have the opportunity to map their arguments and engage in an interactive textbook to improve their argument analysis skills. Each lesson is broken down into very small chunks (short videos and practice exercises) so that you can work through it at your own pace. It will take you about 5-8 hours to work all the way through, if you want to finish everything.

101st NCSS Annual Conference Goes Virtual

From the website:

After much deliberation, the NCSS Board of Directors has made the decision to host the 101st Annual Conference as a fully virtual event. (Read the full announcement.)

The NCSS 101st Annual Conference will be held online from Monday-Sunday, November 15-21, 2021. Last year we delivered the hottest virtual conference of the season, and this year will be no different as we focus on Solidarity in Social Studies.

This year’s conference is designed with you in mind, based on what we have learned from hosting and attending virtual conferences. This is professional learning designed to fit your lifestyle. Our full week will provide you with the most engaging and comfortable environment to experience your best virtual event yet.

You will not need to attend the virtual conference for a full week.  Most of the live presentations will be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, and perhaps during the week in the evening.  New recorded sessions will be released each day for on-demand viewing.

  • Experience more than 300+ hours of social studies content to increase your professional learning.  All sessions will be recorded and available on-demand for registrants until April 30, 2022.
  • Get the latest in social studies and law-related education.
  • Learn from prominent keynote speakers.
  • Explore the virtual exhibit hall highlighting the latest social studies products and services.
  • Connect with others via virtual networking.

October 2021 LFI Webinar Series: Learning with the Libraries

From website:

On October 6th at 4:00pm eastern, Joshua Montanari, Education Specialist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum will present “Going to the Sources: Jimmy Carter and the Camp David Accords”. This webinar will assist participants in contextualizing the circumstances of the Camp David Accords through the lens of civics and analysis of primary sources from the Carter Library and National Archives.

Educating for American Democracy Educator Resources

From website:

The curated resources linked below are an initial sample of the resources coming from a collaborative and rigorous review process with the EAD Content Curation Task Force.

Each individual resource highlighted on the EAD Educator Resource section goes through a collaborative and rigorous review process over an extended period of time with the EAD Content Curation Task Force before joining our collection, we therefore ask for your patience during the review. The process begins with many organizations participating in an information session exploring the goals of EAD and the content of the Roadmap and Pedagogy Companion. After gaining a deeper understanding, organizations submit resources to be reviewed by the committee of educators. During the submission process, the organizations are able to identify the grade band, content themes, design challenges, and driving questions within which each individual item best fits. Each individual submission is then independently reviewed by two educators using a rubric developed by the EAD Content Curation Task Force, which includes the following categories:

  • Alignment to EAD Themes and Driving Questions
  • Inquiry
  • Rigor
  • Equity: Diversity and Inclusion
  • Viewpoint Pluralism
  • Equity: Accessibility

Prairie Visions Virtual Writing Workshop

Apply to Become an iCivics Educating for American Democracy Teacher Fellow

The Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy is a call-to-action to invest in strengthening history and civic learning and to ensure that civic learning opportunities are delivered equitably throughout the country. One of the first steps in implementing the Roadmap is the development of an EAD-aligned early-U.S. History middle school curriculum — and we need the help of dedicated, expert educators like you!

We are accepting applications now through October 15 to join a cohort of 8–10 exceptional, inquiry-driven teachers from across the nation who will collaboratively build the curriculum.

iCivics EAD Teacher Fellowship Benefits & Responsibilities:

  • A $4,000 stipend plus additional paid opportunities to engage as an iCivics EAD Teacher Mentor.
  • Collaborate and network with other educators and stakeholders.
  • Create one unit (about 20 lessons) that will become part of a general year-long curriculum.
  • A six-month commitment of approximately 20 hours per month from January 8–June 18, 2022.

Review the application requirements and more details about the fellowship.

We encourage you to consider this opportunity to become a leader in the field and to contribute to the civic education of our youth. If you have any questions, please reach out to Christina Ross. Remember, applications are due October 15!

Nebraska Teaching Moment

Dear Teachers,

Greetings from History Nebraska! We’re thinking of you as you start your new school year and wish you all the best. Feel free to forward this to friends and they can sign up too!

Just wanted to share 3 good news items with you today PLUS our first post of the school year:

  1.   The Nebraska Teaching Moment is back! I’ll be emailing on Thursdays this school year, now through April.
  2.   Here’s an easy index! Access posts from last year’s Nebraska Teaching Moment email series, organized by topic: Nebraska Teaching Moments Index
  3.   If you’d like two Nebraska history posts a week, use this link to sign up for History Nebraska’s Tuesday email series too: Nebraska History Moments

-Jessica Stoner, History Nebraska

Schedule Your Capitol Experience Day!

Dear Educator,

I am excited to begin accepting reservations to lead your class through our one-day tour of the Nebraska State Capitol featuring the systems that govern our legislative process. Capitol Experience Days focus on legislative systems and include a mock committee hearing and in-person meetings with available government representatives. We aim to give your students an immersive learning experience.

To get a sense of our program and see a sample agenda, visit our Capitol Experience Days page at We also offer Virtual Capitol Experience, a digital tour that highlights the history of the Legislature and Nebraska state government and includes a list of educator resources.

If you are eager to schedule a Capitol Experience Day for your students and need help getting started, feel free to view the checklist attachment that outlines all the details you’ll need.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Chris McCurdy, Education Specialist at Civic Nebraska

Redistricting Nebraska Materials by League of Women Voters of Lincoln

LWV of Lincoln would like to share recent updated teaching materials on redistricting.  We have developed more materials and wanted to share them with social studies teachers across the state!

These materials include a complete package for teachers with videos (in English and Spanish) on redistricting, demonstrations of DistrictR–public domain software for district mapping exercises, a jeopardy-like quiz game video, and a variety of quizzes, plus a summary trifold brochure on the process and how it works in Nebraska.

Video Recording Links

Informational Materials

Presentation Materials (Powerpoints)

Review Materials

Please let us know if we can further support you on this topic or other voting issues.

Thinkport Education

Promote a deeper understanding of history, and explore government and civic life using Library of Congress primary sources. Engage students with primary sources to promote student inquiry and evidence-based reasoning, and apply critical thinking and analysis skills to historical materials.

Explore theme-based Inquiry Kits that feature thinking questions, primary and secondary sources, and document analysis tools to help you analyze historical materials from the Library of Congress. Or have students learn the research process through a series of self-paced student modules. Practice historical thinking skills, analyze sources, make evidence-based conclusions, and create research projects.

#EconEdMonth Rap Battle Contest

Back to School with Choices

It’s back to school season and that means it is time to make sure you haven’t missed any of the latest materials from the Choices Program! Check out our newest curriculum units, Civics Lessons and Imperial America. This year we’ve also updated our units on terrorism, westward expansion, Cuba, and climate change. Our recent free Teaching with the News lessons cover the COVID-19 pandemic, Juneteenth, and the costs of the War on Terror. We are also happy to be extending the offer for free access to our unit Racial Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, and Legacies in Digital Editions through June 2022! Our unit on Japanese American incarceration during WWII is always free, as is our library of more than 1,700 videos that accompany our curriculum units.

Free Digital Editions Unit – Racial Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, and Legacies

How does the history of racial slavery shape our world today? This unit provides a wide-ranging overview of racial slavery in the Americas and the opportunity for students to consider how the past shapes the present. This unit is now free in Digital Editions through June 30, 2022.

Free Digital Editions Unit – Japanese American Incarceration in World War II

Students examine U.S.-Japan relations before World War II, experiences of incarcerated Japanese Americans, and ways the Japanese American community and others in the U.S. have remembered incarceration.

Recent Free Teaching with the News Lessons

These free lessons connect your classroom to headlines in the news. Recent lessons include “Processing the Pandemic: Remembering a Year of COVID-19 through Political Cartoons”; “Juneteenth: Symbolism, Ritual, and Meaning”; and “The Costs of War.”

Free Video Library

Our video library features more than 1,700 free short videos (most are 1-4 minutes long) with leading scholars, journalists, practitioners, artists, activists, policy makers, and others addressing topics relevant to our curriculum units.

Endurance22: The Hunt for Shackleton’s Lost Ice Ship

Reach the World, in partnership with the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, is thrilled to announce the Endurance22 Expedition to Antarctica, the newest and largest virtual exchange expedition in organizational history! The Endurance22 Expedition will search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s sunken ship, Endurance, the most famous undiscovered shipwreck in the world. Reach the World Invites K-12 educators and students to access amazing free content for your classroom as you join a world-class team of explorers!

Using Pop Culture Media to Teach Economics

Economics Poster Competition

2021-22 NSCAS Fall Workshops Recordings

October 13: NSCAS Growth (YouTube recording, 2 hr, 10min)


October 18: NSCAS ACT (YouTube recording, 1 hr, 37 min)


October 27: NSCAS Alt, PL & Formative Assessment, Science & SIPS, NAEP (YouTube recording, 1 hr, 33 min)

September 2021 Newsletter

Addressing Disrupted Instruction in the Social Studies: Recommendations on a Matter of Equity and National Importance


This brief offers a rationale and recommendations for addressing disrupted instruction and learning loss in social studies.


Beginning in Spring 2020, many school buildings closed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and shifted to remote or hybrid instruction. The data tells the story – instructional time and learning have been lost.1 Disruptions have occurred in all content areas and the gravity of the losses should not be overlooked or ignored.

The development of informed citizens who contribute to the health of our American democratic republic may be the most important purpose of schools in the United States. Schools and districts must ensure that students have access to high-quality, standards-aligned social studies instruction and educators have access to high-quality professional development. Now more than ever, this is a matter of equity and national importance. Students must be guaranteed a quality education that equips them to engage effectively in civic life. Social studies plays a specialized and indispensable role in our schools’ curricula to ensure these outcomes.

United States Senate Youth Program

Nebraska Social Studies educators! The United States Senate Youth Program application is now available! Encourage your high school juniors and seniors to apply! Application deadline is 4pm CST on September 24, 2021!

US Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska speaks with his delegates Claire Doyle and Dominic Mendlik on Zoom during the United States Senate Youth Program on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. One hundred and four high school student delegates – two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity – take part in the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program held online (because of the COVID-19 Pandemic) on March 14-17, 2021 and numerous Senate Zoom meeting from February 17 to March 30, 2021. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin).

From the website:


Delegates will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense, leaders of other federal agencies and senior members of the national media. Delegates also traditionally participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and the president of the United States. Most speaking events include in-depth question and answer sessions.

The Hearst Foundations will pay all expenses for Washington Week including transportation, hotel and meals if held in person. The Department of Defense (DoD) annually provides a team of competitively selected men and women officers to serve as mentors and chaperones for the student delegates, and a registered nurse, licensed physician and professional security team are in place at all times throughout an in-person week.

101st National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference

From the website:

Join Your Social Studies Colleagues in Minneapolis, November 19–21, 2021! 

The Centennial Celebration continues with the 101st NCSS Annual Conference, co-hosted by the American Bar Association’s Division for Law-Related Education, the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for Geographic Education in Minneapolis, November 19-21, 2021. Join your social studies colleagues for the largest annual gathering of K-12 social studies classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, district and state social studies supervisors, international educators, and social studies discipline leaders.

  • Network with your social studies colleagues
  • Attend 400+ sessions to increase your professional learning
  • Get the latest in social studies and geography education
  • Gain valuable CEUs and college credit
  • Visit more than 75+ exhibitors highlighting the latest social studies products and services

Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative

Social Studies now has a tab on the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative website! The Social Studies’ Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative seeks to guide and/or remind educators what they should be looking for when selecting high quality social studies instructional materials. Social Studies Education continues to evolve and as a result, we will share resources and materials that empower Nebraska school districts, school systems, and social studies educators in selecting and implementing high quality social studies instructional materials.

Nebraska Studies Now in Spanish!

From the website:

Welcome students, teachers, and history buffs of all ages! Nebraska Studies puts the history of the state at your fingertips, from its very beginning to the 21st century. On this site you can meet the people and explore the events that have shaped this state, through archival photos, historic documents, personal letters, special video segments, informative maps, supplemental activities, pertinent lessons, and much more.

And even better, the entire website is now in Spanish as well!

Nebraska Geoinquiries

From the website:

In the spring of 2021 the Geographic Educators of Nebraska received a COVID-19 Educator Relief Fund grant from National Geographic Education for the development of materials to be used by teachers in the state to help teach geography during the global COVID-19 pandemic. A team of GEON members developed, edited, and tested the materials that could then be used by teachers across the state of Nebraska.

For more lesson ideas be sure to check out esri’s Geoinquiries.

National Humanities Center Webinars

From the website:

Live, interactive webinars connect educators with scholars and experts in humanities fields to discuss compelling topics. Webinars are free of charge but require registration.

With a focus on the integration of scholarship and content, inquiry-based pedagogy, and emerging technologies, NHC Education Programs encourage the growth of education professionals in ways that directly impact the classroom. This project-based approach supports the development of classroom-ready instructional materials, research opportunities, and learning experiences.

Through partnerships and in collaboration with professional organizations, educational institutions, and scholarly experts, NHC Education Programs leverage the Center’s resources to strengthen the role of the humanities within the cultural landscape. We invite educators at all levels to join this conversation about how the humanities offer unique and powerful ways to view our complex world.

September 11th Resources

For some of us the events of September 11th seem like yesterday. While for others the last twenty years have been an eternity. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil. It is a time to remember the courage of so many firefighters, paramedics, New York policemen and New York’s Port Authority Officers that sacrificed their lives to save others, and a time to honor the memory of all those who perished at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. It is a time to show reverence for all the lives lost in just 102 minutes of the clock. As Americans, we still remember and we must never forget.

Feel free to use the following September 11-themed resources that include lesson plans, news stories, videos, and other instructional materials to help students comprehend the 9/11 attacks and their lasting impact on the United States and the world. As well as why it was a transformative moment in U.S. history.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

PBS NewsHour Extra – The 9/11 Anniversary in the Classroom

Pentagon Memorial Fund – A Nation Remembers Those Affected at the Pentagon

Scholastic – Teaching September 11: Powerful Resources About Hope and Understanding

U.S. Department of Education – 9/11 Materials for Teachers

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibilities – 9/11 Anniversary Teaching Guide

Smithsonian National Museum of American History – September 11 Bearing Witness to History

911 Day – Lesson Plans

9/11 Tribute Museum

The Teacher’s Corner – Thematic Units: September 11 – Classroom Activities: Commemorating September 11th

Constitution Day Resources

“On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. To commemorate this day, all Americans are encouraged to observe this important day in our nation’s history by attending local events in your area. Celebrate Constitution Day through activities, learning, parades and demonstrations of our Love for the United State of America and the Blessings of Freedom Our Founding Fathers secured for us.”

The following links provide resources for educators looking to celebrate and teach Constitution Day on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

Library of Congress – Constitution Day Teacher Resources

U.S. Department of Education – Commemorating Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

National Constitution Center – Constitution Day

DocsTeach – Bring the Constitution to Life!

iCivics – Constitution Day Lesson Plans

National Constitution Center – To Sign or Not to Sign: The Ultimate Constitution Day Lesson Plan

National Archives – Exploring the United States Constitution E-Book

National Archives – United States Constitution Course on iTunes

Center for Civic Education – Constitution Day!

American Bar Association – Constitution Day 2021

Bill of Rights Institute – Celebrate Constitution Day Live!

Constitution Rights Foundation – Constitution Day Resources

Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom

From the website:

Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) is a statewide program that helps K-12 students and teachers develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is their source of life’s necessities. AITC has a long history of creating resources tied to state education standards to assist teachers in connecting their students to their source of food, fiber, and fuel – agriculture!

Agriculture in the Classroom ® is a program coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In Nebraska, the Agriculture in the Classroom program is managed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, whose mission is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans.

Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom

  • Offers materials to encourage active learning with hands-on activities for youth.
  • Creates instructional materials aligned to Nebraska State Standards.
  • Equips teachers with free programs and resources to bring agriculture alive in the classroom.

Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Services – Crossroads: Change in Rural America

From the website:

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas, By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.

Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

Next Appearing at:

Plains Historical Society , Kimball, Nebraska – 9/11/2021 – 9/30/2021

Archeology Read Along with History Nebraska

Nebraska ESU Virtual Field Trip Offerings

Take students beyond their classrooms to explore the great state of Nebraska! Virtual field trips now present the opportunity to students to explore the Nebraska panhandle, Chimney Rock, fossil beds, and even a trip along the transcontinental railroad! With over 130 activities, you are sure to find something that will align to state standards while engaging your students in Nebraska specific history!

Founders Online

From the website:

In 2010, the National Archives, through its National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), entered into a cooperative agreement with The University of Virginia Press to create this site and make freely available online the historical documents of the Founders of the United States of America.

Through this website, you can read and search through thousands of records from George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison and see firsthand the growth of democracy and the birth of the Republic.

Now, for the first time, users can freely access the written record of the original thoughts, ideas, debates, and principles of our democracy. You can search across the records of all seven Founders and read first drafts of the Declaration of Independence, the spirited debate over the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the very beginnings of American law, government, and our national story. You can compare and contrast the thoughts and ideas of these seven individuals and their correspondents as they discussed and debated through their letters and documents.

Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop (Midwest Region)

From the website:

Earn 25 PD Hours! 

Gain knowledge and skills needed to utilize digital primary sources from the Library of Congress website, create activities and lessons that facilitate the Common Core Standards, and engage students in active learning while developing critical thinking skills and constructing knowledge. This course is self-paced and can be taken for professional development hours. For more information email Judy Bee at

Click the link to register:

The workshops require two online Zoom meetings with lessons and activities to be completed online on your own.

*Please note you must complete “The Fundamentals of Primary Source Instruction” workshop before registering for “Advanced Primary Source Instruction”.

  • The Fundamentals of Primary Source Instruction – requires online Zoom meetings on Tuesday, September 21 (4:00-5:30) Central Time and Tuesday, December 7 (4:00 – 5:30) Central Time.
  • (*Prerequisite-completed The Fundamentals of Primary Source Instruction) Advanced Primary Source Instruction -requires online Zoom meetings on Thursday, September 23 (4:00 – 5:30) Central Time and Thursday, December 9 (4:00 – 5:30) Central Time

Nebraska Financial Education Network Partnership Summit

Stock Market Game

History Hub

From the website:

What is History Hub?

History Hub is a crowdsourcing platform sponsored by the National Archives. It is a place to ask questions, share information, work together, and find people based on their experience and interests. Experts from the National Archives as well as other experts, history enthusiasts, and citizen archivists are available to help with your research.

What can I do with History Hub?

History Hub offers tools like discussion boards, blogs, and community pages to bring together experts and researchers interested in American history. Think of it as a one-stop shop for crowdsourcing information related to your research subject.

Why is the National Archives offering History Hub?

We hope to connect with and better serve customers interested in the historic records we hold.

GerryMander The Game: A Voting District Puzzle Game

Our very own Nebraska Unicameral Legislature is beginning meetings on how to draw district lines in our state. Want to bring current events to your classroom, this is just one way to do it!

From the website:

GerryMander is a simple puzzle game designed to show how gerrymandering can be used to rig an election. In GerryMander, you draw voting districts to favor your party and win the election. Players can use real-world strategies like packing (Squishing opposing voters into a single district) and cracking (Breaking up key voter groups into separate districts) to beat each puzzle. With these strategies players can see how Gerrymandering works while learning about how it happens in the real world.

GerryMander was inspired by the ongoing supreme court case, Gill v. Whitford. The goal of GerryMander was to design a tool that demonstrates the bipartisan impact of gerrymandering through simple, easy-to-understand puzzles. By breaking down this issue into a simple game, we hope to make something that’s very hard to explain with written or spoken language more understandable, and raise awareness about the impact of gerrymandering in the United States.

Making complex issues more accessible is an important step toward improving engagement within our democracy. By understanding the mechanisms behind gerrymandering, and redistricting, players can form their opinions on the issue and can take a stance.

We hope that GerryMander is used to to open a dialogue between citizens, their representatives, and lawmakers about issues concerning democracy and representation. As part of the game’s functionality, players are able directly reach out to their representatives about the bipartisan issue of gerrymandering. This makes it easier for players to voice their opinion and to promote fairer redistricting practices within their states.

The Charters of Freedom

Breaking Bias: Lessons from the Amistad Curriculum

From the website:

The Foundation’s six-unit curriculum specifically focuses on how African Americans have not only been victims but agents of their own change throughout history, how racial oppression has transformed over time in the U.S. and what our responsibilities are, both individually and collectively, to respond to racism. The curriculum looks to answer the following questions (and many more):

  • What is race?
  • What have been the consequences of social constructs about race in our country?
  • How was chattel slavery a national problem that was reinforced in both the North and the South?
  • How did enslaved people and other African Americans resist oppression and bring about positive change?
  • How did resistance and resilience among African Americans bring progress despite the obstacles in their path?
  • In what ways did the Jim Crow era reinvent earlier forms of African American oppression?
  • What rights were African Americans demanding during the civil rights era, and why was there resistance from many white communities to sharing these rights?
  • How does racial bias in media impact real-life policies and practices that affect the lives of African Americans?

Journey 2050

From the website:

The year 2050 is a key moment in time – the world’s population will be a projected 10 billion. As a result, food production needs are expected to rise by 60-70% and changing agronomic conditions will place pressure on agricultural yields.

Journey 2050 is a FREE agriculture education program that challenges participants to answer the question, “How will we sustain nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050?”

Using an inquiry-based approach, this gamified, virtual program encourages students to make decisions and adjust them as they see their impact on society, the environment, and the economy at a local and global scale. Students will hear from farmers across the globe, learning about their experiences to understand how agriculture differs across the globe.

As students interact with each family, they learn the role of best management practices in feeding the world, reducing environmental impacts, and improving social performance through greater access to education, medical care, and community infrastructure.

Information on the Nebraska Labor Market

Have a lesson plan coming up on personal finance, financial literacy, or the labor market. These resources, some of them Nebraska specific, can help!

New DAC Statewide Assessment Overview

  • Scheduled on August 11, 2021
  • Intended for new DACs, but everyone is welcome to attend.
  • Focuses on big picture general information (i.e. processes and resources).
  • Scheduled from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and will be recorded for those unable to attend the live event.
  • Please email Stacey Weber for Zoom information.

August 2021 Newsletter

Welcome (Back) to the 2021-2022 School Year!

Whew! The world of social studies education has seen more than its fair share of attention in the last couple of months. I wanted to take a moment and send Nebraska Social Studies educators a word of reassurance and some tips for possible use.

The Nebraska State Social Studies Standards were approved in November of 2019 and are based on the premise that providing opportunities for learning and educating our students is vital in developing and maintaining an engaged citizenry. Preparing students for our contemporary society cannot be accomplished without a strong emphasis on civics, economics, geography, and history – the core disciplines of social studies. It is imperative that each generation demonstrates positive and productive citizenship skills (SS K.1.1 and SS K.1.2). Because the standards were developed in part by Nebraska educators and vetted by the larger community during public feedback sessions and in open meetings, Nebraska’s History and Social Studies Standards represent what Nebraskan’s value in civics, economics, historical, and geographical education. They illustrate the community’s faith in its children to reach their full potential as learners and citizens.

The state standards outline what a student needs to know, understand, and be able to do at the end of each grade, or in the case of high school – each course. While standards are adopted at the state level by the Nebraska State Board of Education, curriculum (the resources used for teaching and learning the standards) and instruction (the methods used by teachers to teach their students in their classes and help them master the standards) are made at the local level.

Nebraska’s social studies standards and strategies for implementing those standards were developed by Nebraska educators from across the state who used their decades of teaching experience to develop high-quality, age-appropriate standards. The standards emphasize disciplinary skills and processes to be used when studying history, geography, civics, and economics which include:

  • Analyze and evaluate patterns of continuity and change over time.
  • Evaluate how considering multiple perspectives facilitates an understanding of history.
  • Evaluate the relevancy, accuracy, and completeness of primary and secondary sources to better understand multiple perspectives of the same event.
  • Gathering, interpreting, and using evidence to develop claims to historical, economic, geographical, and political questions and communicate those conclusions.
  • Analyze relationships among causes and effects.
  • Create and support arguments about social studies topics and issues using evidence.

The standards also support the process of social studies inquiry, which results in a  deeper understanding of content. Incorporating inquiry using the content standards reinforces the same skills contained in the Nebraska English Language Arts (ELA) Standards through reading, writing, speaking, and listening with social studies content.

Here are a few tips to help social studies educators moving forward this school year!

Tips for Educators: 

  • Build community and trust in and outside the classroom with both students and  parents. Students and parents should feel comfortable addressing issues or discomfort with the instructor. Encourage questions and dialogue.
  • Foster student agency in your classroom. This can be done through giving  students choice in content or products and encouraging them to voice their ideas  and advocate for themselves.
  • Focus on the History and Social Science Standards and tie your curriculum and instruction back to the standards. The standards have been approved by the State Board of Education and have passed through public feedback.
  • Carefully preview all materials used to avoid unexpected issues.
  • Use multiple types of primary sources in the classroom. In addition to documents  and texts primary sources can be photographs, oral histories, journals and  diaries, art, music, video footage, artifacts, and newspapers.
  • Provide multiple sources and multiple perspectives in the study of social studies content.
  • Avoid generalizations and encourage students not to categorize groups of people  based on their experiences in history and historical events.
  • Avoid presenting marginalized or oppressed groups as only victims- make sure to include examples of strength, resiliency, and overcoming adversity.
  • Use pedagogies that are student centered, such as the inquiry process. Have  students do the work of historians, economists, political scientists, and geographers.
  • Many times, educators want to use a simulation to create empathy, but this can backfire. Be cautious with simulations. Avoid simulations that have students take on the role of oppressor or oppressed persons. Use journals, oral histories, images, picture books, and literature to create understanding and empathy instead. If using simulations then try simulated court trials, congressional hearings, and historical debates.
  • Use structures for discussion like to examine different sides to issues and historical questions. Please refer to the NDE OnDemand video “Difficult Conversations in the Classroom” for additional assistance.
  • When teaching difficult histories like slavery, genocide, removal of indigenous peoples, segregation, lynching, war, the Holocaust and other sensitive subjects, review materials, especially graphic visuals carefully and use them only to the extent they are necessary to achieve the lesson objective. Try to select images and texts that do not exploit students’ emotional vulnerability or might be construed as disrespectful to the victims. If images are too graphic, use other approaches to access the material.
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for students to debrief and evaluate classroom activities.
  • If you are in doubt, ask your supervisor or a colleague.

United States Senate Youth Program

Nebraska Social Studies educators! The United States Senate Youth Program application is now available! Encourage your high school juniors and seniors to apply! Application deadline is 4pm CST on September 24, 2021!

US Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska speaks with his delegates Claire Doyle and Dominic Mendlik on Zoom during the United States Senate Youth Program on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. One hundred and four high school student delegates – two from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity – take part in the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program held online (because of the COVID-19 Pandemic) on March 14-17, 2021 and numerous Senate Zoom meeting from February 17 to March 30, 2021. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin).

From the United States Senate Youth Program website:


Delegates will hear major policy addresses by senators, cabinet members, officials of the Departments of State and Defense, leaders of other federal agencies and senior members of the national media. Delegates also traditionally participate in a meeting with a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and the president of the United States. Most speaking events include in-depth question and answer sessions.

The Hearst Foundations will pay all expenses for Washington Week including transportation, hotel and meals if held in person. The Department of Defense (DoD) annually provides a team of competitively selected men and women officers to serve as mentors and chaperones for the student delegates, and a registered nurse, licensed physician and professional security team are in place at all times throughout an in-person week.

USCIS Questions Only Version

Are you a Nebraska educator using the United States Customs and Immigration Services Naturalization Exam to meet the graduation requirements of 79-724? Have you been looking for a version that comes with the questions only? Look no further! A PDF has been created that has removed the answers to make it easier to provide the complete exam as a study guide or other instructional material to meet your needs.

OER Conference for the Social Studies

From the OER Project website:

Real teachers, real historians, real ideas. We’re engaging new and established voices to share their experiences and unique perspectives. They offer practical guidance, inspiration and hope.

Join thousands of educators online August 3–5, 2021 to discuss how our world has changed and the impact on teaching practices as many students head back to the classroom this Fall. We’ll explore what history can tell us about this moment, how our view of citizenship has shifted, and what teachers should consider as they shift their practice to meet the challenge.

Registration for this 3 day conference is required.

Financial Literacy Act

The Nebraska Legislature adopted a law in May that requires school districts, when appropriate, to include financial literacy at the elementary and middle school levels. The law also requires students to complete at least a half-credit course in high school on finances before graduating. It is set to begin with the 2023-2024 school year and goes into effect on August 21, 2021.

State Statute 79-3003 states:

“Beginning with school year 2023-24, each school district, in consultation with the State Department of Education, shall include financial literacy instruction, as appropriate, in the instructional program of its elementary and middle schools and require each student to complete at least one five-credit high school course in personal finance or financial literacy prior to graduation.”

NexGen Personal Finance Academy

From the NGPF website:


NGPF Academy is our system to offer and track FREE professional development opportunities for educators focusing on personal finance. While anyone can participate in free professional development through NGPF Academy, the swag and gift card incentives are intended for teachers and educators reaching a multitude of students. Finance professionals and homeschool educators are welcome to attend NGPF PD but will not receive Academy credit.



Join live sessions, find support, and collaborate with the community of teachers.


Become NGPF Certified in personal finance topics by taking a multi-week course.


Try new PD opportunities that can be completed on your own time.

Native Land

From the Native Land website:

We strive to map Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see the history of their countries and peoples. We hope to strengthen the spiritual bonds that people have with the land, its people, and its meaning.

We strive to map Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages across the world in a way that goes beyond colonial ways of thinking in order to better represent how Indigenous people want to see themselves.

We provide educational resources to correct the way that people speak about colonialism and indigeneity, and to encourage territory awareness in everyday speech and action. is a website run by the nonprofit organization Native Land Digital. We are guided by a Board of Directors and an Advisory Council. Our funding comes from friendly organizations and individual donors.

Nebraska Council of Economic Education (NCEE) 2021-2022 Calendar of Events

Nebraska and NewsELA Standards Alignment

Support your Social Studies classrooms with content that’s aligned to the 2019 Nebraska Social Studies Standards and resonates with students. Newsela’s vetted content builds connections, promotes inquiry, and develops background knowledge, pushing students to think like historians, economists, political scientists and geographers.

Newsela Highlights:

  • Get even more out of core instruction
  • Differentiate instruction easily with texts published at 5 reading levels
  • Add relevance or rigor to any lesson
  • Daily content added to help teachers and students stay up to date on what is happening around the world
  • Provide more reading and writing choices for students
  • Save time finding, vetting, and aligning content
  • Ensure every student can access background knowledge and discussions

Newsela is aligned with the Anchor Social Studies Strands in K-12.


Forms and Function of Government and Civic Participation


Economic Decision Making, Financial Literacy, Exchange and Markets, National Economy, and Global Economy [starting in 5th grade]


Location and Place, Regions, Human-Environment Interaction, Movement, and Geospatial Skills and Geo-Literacy


Change, Continuity, and Context, Multiple Perspectives, Historical Analysis and Interpretation, and Historical Inquiry and Research

60 Days Across the USA

From the “60 Days Across the USA” website:

It took 60 days, but our virtual journey is in the books.

Over 8 weeks during spring 2020, we traveled through all 48 states in the continental United States. We visited 370 towns and 33 state capitals. We also encountered dozens of rivers, lakes, mountains, highways, parks, museums and landmarks.

Along the way, I had the privilege of interviewing some terrific people across the country.

There’s been a host of interesting places from the Washington town that celebrated skyjacker D.B. Cooper to the Iowa farm field where singer Buddy Holly’s plane crashed to the Illinois community that brought in purple starlings as a way to solve its mosquito problem to the town in Idaho that’s 36 miles long and less than 1 mile wide, a set-up designed to skirt the state’s liquor license laws.

We visited the towns where Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln lived as well as the birthplaces of Muhammad Ali and Lucille Ball. There’s also that upstate New York town that was reportedly the setting for the classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

I’ve learned so much about this country’s history, culture, geography and people that I could almost put together an encyclopedia.

The research and writing took me nearly 3 years. It was worth every minute and every word of the 400,000 words on the site.

And, now, we continue on.

Over the next few years, I’ll actually be driving portions of this route in 1-week, 2-week and 3-week chunks. I’ll freshen up each of the 60 daily columns as I do.

There’ll also be revisions as events happen in the states and cities we’ve covered. Our first update was posted shortly after the 60th day in our Day 12 column about Louisiana. The new information included the flooding being experienced this week in Lake Charles, a town hit by two strong hurricanes last year. There was also an update on the Day 38 column with President Joe Biden’s visit to a Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan.

There’ll also be projects that fall under our “spotlight” category where we look at issues such as immigration, hunger and the nation’s manufacturing industry.

Finally, we’re going to rely on our readers to help us fill out the site. There is a Travel Center in the lower left box on the 60 Days USA main page. As you plan and take your road trips, fill that out and let us know where you’re going and what you’ve seen.

Our photo gallery also welcomes all types of images from our readers’ road trips, so just upload them onto our 60 Days USA Facebook page and we’ll get them posted here.

Wishing everyone safe and enjoyable travels as our nation hits the road once again.

Using Innovation and Technology to Promote Economic Inclusion and Financial Capability for Nebraska Students

Project PLACE Units

From the Project PLACE website:

These units were developed for Project PLACE (Project-approach to Literacy and Civic Engagement), an initiative at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. They are project-based units designed for second-grade students. Support for the development of the materials was provided by the Spencer Foundation and support for their testing was provided by the Spencer Foundation and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. The materials have been modified somewhat from the versions tested to be more useful for educators in a wider range of contexts. Units cover the four major disciplines in social studies: civics/government, economics, geography, and history. We recommend that you teach the units/projects in the order in which they appear. Please note that materials are copyrighted.

The Living New Deal

From the Living New Deal website:

The New Deal reached into every corner of the U.S., touching citizens of every kind and leaving its mark on the nation’s landscape, economy and culture. The Living New Deal is keeping alive the memory of the New Deal.  An important part of that effort is educating the public about the Roosevelt era and its legacy. That includes introducing our audience to a wealth of resources in libraries and on the web: books, films, documents, oral histories, and more. We also provide sample curricula for teachers to pass along knowledge of the New Deal to their students. Use the pull-down menu or click on the headings to find what you’re looking for. (Elsewhere, we provide short histories and a host of news items pertaining to the New Deal).

Websites on the New Deal showcase museum collections, photographic archives, history blogs, and much more that may be of interest to anyone looking for information on the New Deal, its programs, artworks and leaders. It includes websites specific to individual states, as well.

Films and Videos is our effort to generate a record of the New Deal’s attempts to capture its activities on film. The Roosevelt administration harnessed advancements in movie technology to promote its many programs. We provide descriptions of all the films we have found, highlight some of the longest and best films, and include a section of modern films about the New Deal. Our “Fireside Films” section showcases one film each week.

New Deal Resources for Teachers is a sampling of syllabi for teachers at the high school and college levels. Preparing a curriculum or lesson plan on the New Deal can be approached from a host of angles, but it is always helpful to see how other teachers have undertaken this important task and what additional resources they have relied on.

Oral Histories of the New Deal directs you to online resources dedicated to personal and family stories of participants in the New Deal, organized by state and program. These stories offer readers a wealth of personal experiences, from CCC camps in Louisiana to a resettlement community in Maryland, from artists working on public murals to African American women who participated in the WPA.

NSCAS Assessment Presentations at NDE Day 2021

Please join us for the Assessment presentations at NDE Day, July 28, 2021

(Click Links for PowerPoints)

9:45-10:30 NSCAS Innovation – Jeremy Heneger

10:40-11:25 NSCAS Growth Q&A (in person only – recording to come later) – Jeremy Heneger

1:00-1:45 Professional Learning Opportunities in 2021 and Formative Assessment Supports Network – Trudy Clark, Aly Martinez Wilkinson, and Dennison Bhola

1:55-2:40 NSCAS Update 2021-22 – Jeremy Heneger

2:50-3:36 NSCAS ACT State Testing for 2022 – Jeremy Heneger and Iris Owens

2:50-3:35 NSCAS Science: Building a Coherent System of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment – Rhonda True and Audrey Webb



NSCAS Summative Test Window

Click for a pdf of all of the NSCAS assessment schedules in one convenient document.

May 2021 Newsletter

The 2020-2019 Nebraska Social Studies Year in Review

Summer break is soon approaching and I just wanted to take this opportunity to share my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your continued diligence, hard work, and dedication to Nebraska students. I know that this year has been a challenge, and yet you all persevered, all while implementing new standards, instructional shifts, and possibly instructional resources and materials. Also, as my first year as the Social Studies Education Specialist with the Nebraska Department of Education comes to a close, I would like to thank you all for welcoming me into your professional lives through monthly newsletters, professional development, phone call conversations, and emails. In partnership with school administration, district leaders, and ESU Teaching and Learning professionals, we are working hard to meet the needs of social studies educators in the coming 2021-2022 school year. It has been my absolute pleasure to serve you this school year and I look forward to continuing to be a steward of social studies education in Nebraska and ensuring that our students across the state receive nothing less than the best!

The monthly newsletter will pause while you all are resting, relaxing, and enjoying your summer vacation. They will start again beginning in August. I hope the information contained within this and the previous newsletters have been helpful. With that being said, there is A LOT of information below for you to digest. If for any reason you need to contact me, you can do so by emailing me at: or calling/texting at: (531) 207-9043.

All my best, wishing you and yours the best summer vacation ever!


The Nebraska Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (NebTOPSS) Psychology Conference

Information from Planning Committee:

NebTOPSS’s mission is to provide professional development opportunities for high school social studies teachers.  Participating in these professional development opportunities allows you the opportunity to network with other high school psychology teachers, learn from collegiate psychology professors and other psychology professionals, as well as obtain new resources for your psychology classroom.  With that mission in mind our third annual NebTOPSS conference will be on June 3, 2021 from 9:00-3:00.  Our focus this year is the social perspective.  The conference will be held at the Don Clifton Professional Learning Center, but there will also be a virtual option available to participants this year.  During the conference you will have the opportunity to listen to Dr. Cynthia Willis-Esqueda discuss techniques for conducting stereotyping, prejudice, and racism research.  You will also participate in demonstrations concerning the social perspective that you could then take back to your classroom.  Plus breakfast and lunch will be provided.

If you are ready to register use the link below to get started!

9/11 Memorial and Museum: Anniversary in the Schools Webinar

From the 9/11 Memorial and Museum website:

Join students and teachers from around the world to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by registering for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s free Anniversary in the Schools program.

2021 Speakers

Carlton Shelley II, a West Point graduate who was a student in the elementary school where President George W. Bush was told about the 9/11 attacks.

Bill Spade, a retired FDNY firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11, and his son, John Spade, a graduate of the 9/11 Museum Ambassador program and Museum volunteer.

Will Jimeno, a retired Port Authority police officer who was rescued from the debris pile hours after surviving the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Brielle Saracini and Cait Leavey, who both lost their fathers on 9/11 and became lifelong friends while volunteering with an organization dedicated to supporting those who lost loved ones on September 11.

The program will be available on-demand beginning Friday, September 10, 2021. On that day, Education staff will answer student questions through an exclusive live chat. Teaching guides will be available in advance of the program.

Register for the Anniversary in the Schools webinar today.

For more information, contact the Education Programs Staff at

The webinar will be interpreted in American Sign Language and captioned. An audio description and Spanish subtitles will also be available.

The webinar is made possible thanks to generous support from the New York Life Foundation.

Nebraska E-Books

From the NDE Nebraska E-Books webpage:

The NeBooks Project is a partnership between schools, state agencies and non-profit organizations across Nebraska for the common purpose of providing quality instructional materials. The initial focus of this project was creating Nebraska focused eBooks for use in meeting 4th grade Nebraska History standards. As the project has continued to grow and gain momentum, we want to encourage the writing of eBooks in all content areas to be added to our eBook Library.


  • This comprehensive packet will guide you as you begin your NeBooks Project. Get a general overview of how to do the project and see student expectations at the elementary, middle, and high school level.
  • Found a video that you want to include in your iBook? There is a letter template to send to the video owner to ask permission to use it in the iBook.
  • We want your work to be recognized, but we are required to have permission to do so. The release form allows NDE to post your completed iBook with your full name as the author, and parent approval for students under 18 years of age. The guidelines also include the same release form translated into Spanish.

Student Authors E-Book Library

Teacher Authors E-Book Library

Lincoln Speaks Symposium

From the Gilder Lehrman website:

Dates: August 1–6, 2021

Location: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL

Participants: K–12 teachers from Illinois, Indiana, and Nebraska

Application Deadline: May 15, 2021

In partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Lincoln Speaks Symposium will allow up to 25 K–12 teachers from Illinois, Indiana, or Nebraska to participate in a weeklong professional development event on-site at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The symposium will focus on Lincoln’s intellectual, moral, psychological, and political evolution. Participants will have the chance to explore Lincoln’s life and writings in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.


K–12 educators teaching in Illinois, Indiana, or Nebraska are welcome to apply to the Lincoln Speaks Symposium. Teachers must be enrolled in the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s free Affiliate School Program to complete their application.


Interested K–12 teachers in Illinois, Indiana, or Nebraska must complete an application to be considered. Applications will be reviewed by Gilder Lehrman and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum staff.

The deadline to submit an application is May 15, 2021. Selected teachers will be notified by June 15, 2021.

Wrapping Up the School Year with an Econ Focus

Free Interactive Nebraska Redistricting Lesson from LWV-NE

Attention: American Government Teachers and Curriculum Specialists

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska with the support of Common Cause of Nebraska has developed a 60-90-minute lesson plan on Redistricting 2021 with a focus on Nebraska. It addresses the Nebraska civic education curriculum standard:

SS HS.1.1. Analyze the foundation, structures, and functions of state government and its outcomes. For example: bicameral/unicameral, reapportionment/redistricting, branches of government, judiciary process, penal system

Meant to Represent: Putting Our Vote on the Map, an interactive presentation, incorporates speakers from LWVNE who offer explanations and video demonstrations of redistricting terms: Census, apportionment, redistricting, gerrymandering, packing, cracking, and communities of interest. Nebraska voting districts and precincts are illustrated. Constitutional requirements for redistricting both at the national and state levels are covered along with a brief history of redistricting in Nebraska. The unique concept of Nebraska’s Unicameral, the role of Nebraska’s citizens as the second “house,” and the importance of public participation in state government is emphasized. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on state redistricting are addressed as well as the path taken to ensure fair redistricting in the state legislatively and through ballot initiative. An optional quiz is included.

With a strong emphasis on voter participation, the second portion of the presentation focuses on a community map-drawing activity, using DistrictR software, that demonstrates how lawmakers use data to inform where they set voting district boundaries. A LWVNE member facilitates the use of the program and draws a sample community. Following the presentation, students can use the software to draw their own community defining “communities of interest,” citing parks, schools, familiar landmarks, restaurants, and businesses.

Meant to Represent: Putting Our Vote on the Map will be available for your use after May 8, 2021. Please register below to receive a customized-for-Nebraska lesson on redistricting. This plan is especially relevant now through the end of September. The Nebraska Legislature will draw new maps in late September, early October, 2021.

Bonus! Nebraska Poets on Redistricting!!

Watch Redistricting Poetry Winners read their poems on LWVNE’s website:

Redistricting – League of Women Voters of Nebraska (

First Place – Grace Eastin, a Junior at Sutton Public Schools, and resident of Clay Center, Nebraska

Second Place – Patrick McEvoy, Poet and Core Teaching Artist, Nebraska Writers Collective, Louder Than a Bomb


School Name:__________________________________________________________________

School District:_________________________________________________________________



Course & Grade:________________________________________________________________



Date Needed:__________________________________________________________________

Send application and any questions to Carol Dennison,

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center – 2021 Virtual Summer Institute

From the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center website:

Through this introductory institute, teachers will begin an investigation into the history of the Holocaust (1933-1945). During this intensive, five-day virtual seminar, participants will become familiar with the content area, literacy-based teaching methods, and resources to teach Holocaust history to their students. The course will include primary source readings, use of historical documents, multimedia presentations, guest speakers, and will draw interdisciplinary connections that align with state and national standards.

Educators will leave a with deeper knowledge of the Holocaust and rich pedagogical resources. The program will enable educators to investigate with their students the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and indifference, and the role of the individual in nurturing and protecting democratic values and human rights.

Full and partial tuition assistance is available.

State Board, District, and ESU Map Resources

The State Board, District, and ESU Map Resources page has been updated with NEW 2021 maps!

Microsoft Education Center

From the Microsoft Education Center website:

Learn with free courses and resources today! Nearly a million courses were completed worldwide over the last month with the Microsoft Educator Center. Bring new skills to your classroom, earn professional development hours, and acquire badges as you confidently implement hybrid learning.

Newspaper Navigator

From the Newspaper Navigator website:

Newspaper Navigator is a project being carried out by Benjamin (Ben) Charles Germain Lee as part of the Innovator in Residence Program at the Library of Congress. The goals of Newspaper Navigator are 1) to extract visual content from 16+ million pages of digitized historic American newspapers in Chronicling America and 2) re-imagine how you, members of the American public, can search the visual content using machine learning techniques. The first phase (extracting the visual content) was completed in April, 2020, and resulted in the full Newspaper Navigator dataset. The second phase of Newspaper Navigator consists of the application that you are currently using! All Newspaper Navigator photos in the app and dataset are in the public domain!

The Geography Teacher

From the Taylor and Francis Online website:

Free access until June 1, 2021

The Geography Teacher provides a forum for educators and scholars to present innovative teaching strategies and essential content for elementary and secondary geography, AP Human Geography, introductory college geography, and preservice methods courses. The journal invites scholarly work in the areas of how students learn and instructors teach by preserving and disseminating research. It is also a forum for discussion of state, national, and international trends in geography education. The journal seeks original manuscripts that contribute to the understanding of issues and topics associated with geography education.

While research manuscripts are accepted, one important aim of the Journal is to provide a forum for those manuscripts that may be outside traditional research formats. Lesson plans and approaches to teaching are of particular interest.

The Critical Social Educator

From the Critical Social Educator website:

The Critical Social Educator is an open access, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal designed to connect practitioners and researchers interested in critical social education at the elementary level. By critical, we mean an examination of power relations with a focus on injustice and oppression in terms of how these operate within sites of learning as well as efforts to disrupt them. By social education, we mean all experiences through which children learn about the social world and their participation in it. By elementary, we mean educational experiences that include children ages 5-12 and/or prepare adults teaching and learning with this age group.

The journal aims to provide a space for researchers and practitioners to be in dialogue about the possibilities and challenges of critical social education at the elementary level.

Personal Finance Institute


July 13-15, 2021

Due to the success of previous Institutes, we are again offering the Personal Finance Institute.

Register Now!

Are you a new/newer teacher?  Are you a seasoned teacher wanting to refresh and sharpen your skills? Do you teach Personal Finance? Would you like to earn financial education industry certification? Are you interested in revising an existing Personal Finance course to add more rigor? If so, consider attending Nebraska’s Personal Finance Institute, to be held at the University of Nebraska-Omaha July 13, 14, and 15, 2021.

K-12 teacher participants will each receive a $300 honorarium. Meals are included but participants must pay for their own lodging. A room block is reserved at the Aksarben Courtyard Marriott for those who wish to stay overnight. To be eligible to receive the $300 honorarium, attendees must participate in all aspects of the Institute, including pre-work, evening meals and W!se certification pretest and exam.

The Personal Finance Institute is limited to the first 30 completed registrations. To register you must complete the online Personal Finance Institute application and submit your $100 refundable deposit.  Your check will be held and returned to you the final day of the Institute.

Prior to the Institute, participants are required to spend a minimum of 20 hours in Institute pre-work. We will utilize NextGen Personal Finance ( on-demand professional development modules for this purpose. More details will be provided at a later date. Prior to beginning the Institute pre-work, participants will take a 1-hour proctored certification pretest from their own device at home/school. In the registration link, you will choose the pretest date/time from the following:

  • Saturday, April 17 at 8am
  • Sunday, May 2 at 3pm
  • Saturday, May 8 at 8am
  • Wednesday, May 12 at 6pm

Any Nebraska middle school, secondary and/or 2- or 4-year college educator who intends to implement personal finance into their curriculum is eligible for the Personal Finance Institute. Those participating in the Institute should understand that they are responsible for paying their tuition, if choosing to take for credit, prior to the Institute. Off-site lodging is your own responsibility, although a discounted housing block will be established. Only K-12 teachers are eligible for the honorarium.

At the end of the training, teachers are required to take the W!SE financial literacy certification exam. Passing or failing this literacy certification exam will not affect the course grade. However, being able to add an industry certification to your teaching resume is a valuable aspect of professional development!

Earn Graduate Credit

The Personal Finance Institute will be offered as an optional 3-hour graduate credit on-campus course from July 13-15, 2021. Participants can sign up for optional graduate credit (3 credits—ECON 8050: Economic Education) through UNO. To do so participants will need to create an account. Applications are now open for Summer with a July 1st registration deadline for credit. Participants are responsible for all tuition and fees.

Note that if you are using ECON 8050 to complete the Certificate in Economic Education please reach out to Dr. Jamie Wagner ( prior to enrolling in the course for additional information.

Create account:

Program selection: Graduate non-degree summer 2021

Applications open now for Summer 2021 and deadline is July 1st.

Application fee: $25

No prerequisites in economics required.

Participants are required to attend the entire on-campus training sessions, including evening meals, for the 3 days of the Institute, plus take the literacy certification exam.   The Institute will run approximately from 8:30 am each day and conclude around 7:30 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 4 pm on Thursday. Your registration indicates your commitment to fully attend and participate in the Personal Finance Institute.

Participants should bring a laptop for use throughout the Institute. Dress is business casual. Rooms can be chilly – please bring a sweater or jacket.

Complete the Personal Finance Institute online application, which is due by April 30, 2021 or when registration is full.

If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Dr. Jamie Wagner, Director, UNO Center for Economic Education,
  • Dr. Jennifer Davidson, President, NCEE,
  • Mary Janssen, Career Field Specialist, NDE,

Becky Barnard | Council Coordinator | Nebraska Council on Economic Education | University of Nebraska–Lincoln | Hawks Hall 525 C, 730 N. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588-0404 | 402-472-2333| |

Gallup Strengths: Positivity, Developer, Empathy, Connectedness, Harmony

Open Textbook Library

From the Open Textbook Library website:

Textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are considered open because they are free to use and distribute, and are licensed to be freely adapted or changed with proper attribution.

Open textbooks are licensed by authors and publishers to be freely used and adapted. Download, edit and distribute them at no cost.

The Open Textbook Library is supported by the Open Education Network.

Resources to Respond to Tragedy and Violence

From the website:

All educators are civics teachers. Teachers send messages to students about power, justice, and representation by the content we select, the way we engage student voice, the norms we employ, and the stories included in our classroom. We have a responsibility to prioritize our students’ lived experiences, putting Maslow before Bloom, to inform the essential questions we address in our curriculum. When violence or tragedy occurs, classrooms provide a safe venue for students to process, ask questions and be given context to understand current events as they happen.

While current events unfold, it is not the time to debate policy. Educators will not have all of the answers to the questions students pose. Teachers can create a classroom space where we can be present, listen, and create a safe environment for our students to do the same.

EVER-FI Virtual Classroom Launch

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! EVERFI wants to thank Nebraska teachers for enduring this year by virtually taking over a class period + a $10 Amazon gift card! Elementary and middle school teachers can sign up for a virtual classroom launch by scheduling time with Heather.

During the 45 minute visit, Heather will introduce the Vault – Understanding Money digital resources sponsored by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, support students in the registration process, and get students excited about financial literacy–no lesson planning necessary for teachers!

We are so excited to thank Nebraska teachers for all they have done for students this year!

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

The next Technical Advisory Committee Meeting is on April 19, 2020 from 11:00-3:00 CST.


Meeting Agenda:

  • Using Principled Alignment and Item Difficulty Modeling to Create an Integrated, Hybrid Interim-Summative Through Year Adaptive Assessment System: Proof of Concept and Considerations
  • Through Year Prioritization Model Overview

April 2021 Newsletter

Educating for American Democracy Roadmap

From the Educating for American Democracy website:

The aim of the Roadmap is to provide guidance that shifts content and instruction from breadth to depth by offering an inquiry framework that weaves history and civics together and inspires students to learn by asking difficult questions, then seeking answers in the classroom through facts and discussion for a truly national and cross-state conversation about civics and history to invigorate classrooms with engaging and relatable questions.

The Seven Content Themes map out the disciplinary and conceptual terrain, as well as the skills and dispositional learning needed to support healthy civic participation. The Five Design Challenges span the seven themes and state honestly and transparently some of the rich dilemmas that educators will encounter as they work with the content themes and instructional guidance.

Honest History Readers

From the Gibbs Smith Education website:

Welcome to your new go-to social studies resource. This is not your traditional textbook. Yes,

the history is there, presented in an accurate, unbiased way. But this diverse resource displays a variety of perspectives, stories, and events in a thematic way for students to connect to and engage with. In Honest History Readers students will study topics like independence, conservation, technology and innovation, international relations and more through the lenses of history, civics, culture, economy, and geography, and be able to see themselves in every volume.

Honest History Readers are a K-2 and 3-5 social studies program designed to engage and immerse students in thematic social studies content. Each set includes nine volumes a year, with additional sets available each year. Every volume can be purchased both in print, for a more hands-on experience, or on our digital platform for a more interactive experience, or both.

Nebraska Game and Parks

From the Nebraska Game and Parks website:

Celebrate 100 years of state park history from your classroom! These resources offer K–6 teachers the opportunity to integrate the Nebraska State Park Centennial into curricula, lessons and activities. Connect students with our state park system through fun activities that are aligned with state standards for learning.

Explore the history of Nebraska’s oldest state park, Chadron State Park, and discover the people, legislation and improvement projects that make the park what it is today. Then think about important events in your life and build a timeline of your own.

Text Complexity Workshop

Integrating Primary and Secondary Sources into Teaching: The SOURCES Framework for Authentic Investigation

From the Integrating Primary and Secondary Sources into Teaching website:

SOURCES Framework

Scrutinize the Fundamental Source(s)
Organize Thoughts
Understand the Context
Read Between the Lines
Corroborate and Refute
Establish a Plausible Narrative
Summarize Final Thoughts

It is essential for educators to provide students with various opportunities to engage with primary and secondary sources in an authentic and engaging manner that replicates that which is done by professionals in various fields of study (Waring, 2020). Through the use of the SOURCES Framework for Teaching with Primary and Secondary Sources, educators can properly scaffold the learning experience for students to allow them a more independent, inquiry-based approach. An added benefit of teaching students in this manner is that the skills and approaches that they employ throughout the process mirror those needed to effectively navigate various perspectives and opinions, including traditional and social media, with which they are confronted on a daily basis (NCSS, 2013).

As students move through the seven stages of the SOURCES framework, the SOURCES Analysis Sheet for use with primary and secondary sources is useful (example image), Additionally, educators will want to use the SOURCES Framework Analysis Sheet to help guide students through the investigation and each of the stages of the SOURCES framework.


From ProCon.Org website:

“To promote civility, critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting the pro and con arguments to debatable issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, freely accessible way.”

Through our website,, we serve as a non-biased information source for our users. We present sourced pros and cons of debatable issues, as well as a host of reference information relevant to those issues, thoroughly researched and compiled by our research staff and editors. We use the pro and con format because it achieves four objectives:

1. First, by exposing readers to both sides of an issue in a side-by-side format, we make it easier for them to see the difference in the facts and arguments offered by each side.

2. Second, our pro and con format creates what we call “beneficial confusion,” causing readers to struggle with well-presented opposing positions, and, therefore, to engage in evaluative thinking to formulate their own views. Readers who have a pre-existing view of an issue may feel more confident in their view, or they may change their view. In either case, many will recognize that the process of acquiring and critically evaluating information has a beneficial and satisfying effect on their decision-making.

3. Third, the format makes readers more confident and comfortable in discussing and debating their views with others, knowing what the “other side” may think.

4. Fourth, challenging readers to examine both sides of an issue tends to reduce the likelihood that they will resort to the “demonization” of those who hold opposing views.

The Redistricting Game

From The Redistricting Game website:

The Redistricting Game is designed to educate, engage, and empower citizens around the issue of political redistricting. Currently, the political system in most states allows the state legislators themselves to draw the lines. This system is subject to a wide range of abuses and manipulations that encourage incumbents to draw districts which protect their seats rather than risk an open contest.

By exploring how the system works, as well as how open it is to abuse, The Redistricting Game allows players to experience the realities of one of the most important (yet least understood) aspects of our political system. The game provides a basic introduction to the redistricting system, allows players to explore the ways in which abuses can undermine the system, and provides info about reform initiatives – including a playable version of the Tanner Reform bill to demonstrate the ways that the system might be made more consistent with tenets of good governance. Beyond playing the game, the web site for The Redistricting Game provides a wealth of information about redistricting in every state as well as providing hands-on opportunities for civic engagement and political action.

Geography Games by Sheppard Software

From the Geography Games website:

We create content and games for our website with these goals:

1) To add sound and visual effects to make learning fun and more memorable.
2) To design games with many difficulty levels so that players will continue to be challenged no matter how far they progress.
3) To provide games that will exercise players’ brains

Resources for Teaching Asian American Identity and History

The recent increase in anti-Asian attacks and the violent death by gun of six Asian women in Georgia on March 17th, has generated discussion and resources in support of the Asian American community. Classroom discussions after violent tragedies like this or the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado should be handled carefully. Current journalistic practice is to focus on the lives and experiences of the victims, presenting a fully humanizing picture of their lives. Good social science practice should include both the challenges faced by Asian Americans confronting a long history of racism and discrimination, as well as the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans to the culture and history
of the United States.

Below are resources created by national organizations and resources with specific connections to Nebraska history.

APANO responds to shooting tragedy in Atlanta

Council of Korean Americans: #StopAsianHate

Learning For Justice: After Atlanta: Teaching Asian American Identity and History Asian

Americans in the People’s History of the United States

A History of Omaha’s Chinatown

Asian Community and Cultural Center

Nebraska Chinese Association

Zoom In U.S. History Lessons

From the Zoom In website:

Zoom In is a free, Web-based platform that helps students build literacy and historical thinking skills through “deep dives” into primary and secondary sources.
Zoom In’s online learning environment features 18 content-rich U.S. history units that supplement your regular instruction and help you use technology to support students’ mastery of both content and skills required by the new, higher standards:

● Reading documents closely and critically
● Identifying author’s point of view and purpose
● Engaging in higher-order, text-based discussions
● Writing explanatory and argumentative essays grounded in evidence


From the Checkology website:

Checkology’s lessons and other resources show you how to navigate today’s challenging information landscape. You will learn how to identify credible information, seek out reliable sources, and apply critical thinking skills to separate fact-based content from falsehoods.

Checkology gives you the habits of mind and tools to evaluate and interpret information. And you gain an understanding of the importance of the watchdog role of the press.


From the TedEd website:

TED-Ed is TED’s youth and education initiative. TED-Ed’s mission is to spark and celebrate the ideas of teachers and students around the world. Everything we do supports learning — from producing a growing library of original animated videos , to providing an international platform for teachers to create their own interactive lessons, to helping curious students around the globe bring TED to their schools and gain presentation literacy skills, to celebrating innovative leadership within TED-Ed’s global network of over 650,000 teachers. TED-Ed has grown from an idea worth spreading into an award-winning education platform that serves millions of teachers and students around the world every week.

National Register Database and Research

From the National Register Database and Research website:

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

Entrepreneurship in Your Community: Creating Your Own Career

Created by UNO Center for Economic Education and social studies educator Matt Pierson of Bryan High School in Omaha, the Entrepreneurship Guide is targeted for middle and high school teachers to teach entrepreneurship. The guide can be used in its entirety for a semester-long course or it can be used to supplement resources that a teacher already uses. It is tied to the National Voluntary Standards in Economics and the National Financial Literacy standards. Additionally, each lesson is linked to the Nebraska Social Studies and BMIT standards throughout. It is free to use and download and has accompanying slides for teachers.

Effective entrepreneurship requires that students have a keen understanding of the ways in which individuals, businesses, governments, and societies make decisions to allocate human capital, physical capital, and natural resources among alternative uses. This is part of the economic reasoning process and involves the consideration of costs and benefits with the ultimate goal of making decisions that will enable individuals, businesses, and societies to be as well-off as possible. The study of entrepreneurship provides students with the concepts and tools necessary for an economic way of thinking and helps them understand the interaction of buyers and sellers in markets everywhere. Economic reasoning and skillful use of economic tools draw upon a strong base of knowledge about human capital, land, investments, money, income and production, taxation, all of which are essential to being a successful entrepreneur.

A More Perfect Union: Teaching the American Revolution and Beyond

From the National History Day website:

National History Day is partnering with the National Endowment for the Humanities to commemorate the semiquincentennial of the United States. Together, NEH and NHD will create classroom materials that highlight different perspectives on the American Revolution, early American republic, and the continued efforts to create a more perfect union throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

These classroom resources will help teachers engage students with unique primary sources and themes of democracy and citizenship throughout United States history.

April is Financial Literacy and National Poetry Month

Listed below are links to resources that will help you teach about financial literacy and using poetry in social studies.

Financial Literacy


Capitol Hill Challenge

Council on Economic Education




Invest It Forward


The Stock Market Game

Poetry and Social Studies

Niobrara National Scenic River: Ever-Changing Currents Mini-Lesson

Poetry for Social Studies: Poems, Standards, and Strategies

Poetry Lesson Plans for Social Studies Class

Getting Poetic in Social Studies

NSCAS General Assessment Administration Manual

The Online Test Administration Manual (with the scripts for administering the assessment) can be found on NWEA’s Nebraska Portal under Assessment Coordinators.  You may want to bookmark this page as it has a plethora of helpful NSCAS information.