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.