2016 Conference Theme: Civic Engagement in a Globally Connected World

November 10, 2016

Augusta Civic Center

The Maine Council for the Social Studies annual conference was held on November 10th, 2016 at the Augusta Civic Center. This year’s theme, Global Studies, was the top request from attendees at the 2015 conference, and civic engagement will be on everyone's minds in the aftermath of the elections--don't miss this opportunity to learn from and network with your colleagues across the state.

If you are a student or preservice teacher or if you are registering by PO, download this form and send it by mail (address is on the form). Thank you!

Keynote Speaker: Kenneth C. Davis

Photo by Nina Subin

Photo by Nina Subin

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of America's Hidden History and Don't Know Much About® History, which gave rise to the Don't Know Much About® series of books for adults and children. A frequent guest on national television and radio and a Ted-Ed Educator, Davis enjoys Skype visits with middle- and high-school classrooms to discuss history. He lives in New York City. His forthcoming book is In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives. (Published September 2016)


7:30 - 8:15 am Registration, breakfast, vendor time
8:15 - 8:25 am Welcome
8:30 - 9:15 am Keynote
9:30 - 10:30 am Session 1
10:30 - 10:50 am Break/vendor time
10:50 - 11:50 am Session 2
12:00 - 1:15 pm Lunch announcements and awards:
Presentation of Maine History Teacher of the Year
Presentation of the Glenn Nerbak Award
Announcement of the TOP fellow of the year
1:30 - 2:30 pm Session 3
2:30 - 2:45 pm Turn in evaluations, receive door prizes and attendance certificates


Session Times and Resources

Download a list of session times and locations 
Access resources and materials related to all the sessions


Please fill out this evaluation after the conference--your feedback helps us to improve and better respond to your needs.

Session Abstracts

Kenneth C. Davis                                                                                                     

Using Don't Know Much About and Hidden History to Connect History to the Headlines

All grades

Following Ken Davis’s keynote, get even more in depth with the author. Hear ideas from Ken about how you can incorporate his book into your classroom.

Liz Helitzer, Executive Director, Holocaust and Human Rights Center

Encouraging Reflection and Action: The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine

Grades 6 - 12

Come learn about the many educational offerings available through the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC). Located in the Michael Klahr Center on the campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, the HHRC offers compelling programming, rotating exhibits, teacher training seminars, scholarship opportunities, and free educational outreach statewide. The HHRC's programming uses lessons of the Nazi Holocaust, genocide and human rights abuses to combat prejudice and discrimination in Maine and beyond by encouraging individuals and communities to reflect and act on their ethical and moral responsibilities in our modern world.

Shane Gower

Understanding Sacrifice: World War II and Local History

Grades 9-12

This session will introduce teachers to a lesson plan developed in conjunction with the American Battle Monuments Commission and National History Day that can be applied to a local Maine soldier buried in one of the ABMC WW2 cemeteries in Europe. Teachers will also learn about ABMC's and NHD's Understanding Sacrifice program for Teachers.

Brandi LeRoy

Using ArcGIS Online in the classroom (Geographic Information Systems)                         

Grades 9-12

In this session, teachers will be introduced to ArcGIS Online, how to apply for a free account, and ways that it can be used to both enhance content as well as make community connections. I will share new strategies to incorporate mapping into the classroom.  I will show classroom examples of how it can be used to promote civic and community engagement. Teachers will learn how to use the program apps to create their own maps. Bring your laptop to this session please!


Rory Tannebaum, Ph.D. & Patrick Womac, Ph.D.

Exploring Global Current Issues through Practical, Discussion-Based Activities

Grades 6-12

Attendees will be exposed to a variety of practical and proven strategies meant to engage 6-12 students in collaborative discussions on current issues. The presenters will first provide a brief overview of the need for both discussion in the social studies classroom and current issues as a way to inform students and help them develop critical thinking skills. After this brief introduction, the presenters will simulate 5 strategies for how they have engaged their social studies students in collaborative dialogues dealing with topical issues. The strategies presented will be situated within several topical issues (e.g., the 2016 presidential election, the Panama Papers, Syrian refugee crisis), but will be applicable to any other issue that a social studies teacher feels should be collaboratively explored in the classroom. The session will be hands-on and interactive.


Susan Carpenter O'Brien and Matthew Lindemann

Why Do We Have Rules?                                                                                           

Grades K-8

Using the C3 framework, two 5th grade teachers will share learning materials, experiences and classroom videos while teaching the Early English Colonies. This civics inquiry-based unit has students discussing “Why do we have rules?” You will see argumentation, debate journals, and claims-evidence-reasoning all packed into a unit. The teachers will connect history to the students’ world by using primary sources, “act-it-outs”, and experiential learning.


Lonney Steeves

Maine Youth in Govnernment / Hands On Civic Engagement                                 

Grades 9-12

“Youth in Government” is a program that gets High School students from all over Maine participating in a Model Legislature at the State House in Augusta.  Students draft the legislation, elect all of the leadership, then come to Augusta to discuss and debate issues they see facing our State.  They sit in the committee rooms and seats in the House and Senate of our actual legislators.  My workshop would walk teachers through how easy it is to get students involved in this outstanding leadership and learning opportunity. Our program motto is, "Democracy must be learned by each Generation.”


Jocelyn Gray

Learning Local Civic Responsibilities through Project-Based Learning                 

Grades 9-12

 This workshop will focus on learning how to incorporate and work with local government groups to involve students in civic decision-making processes and teach the students how to be involved and to challenge local civic decision through project-based learning.


Julia Gray-Clark

Helping Teachers Teach About The Wabanaki                                                        

Grades 3-8

This workshop is designed to help teachers gain the confidence they need to teach about the Wabanaki people and meet the requirements of LD291. Through lecture and hands-on activities, we will explore how to evaluate resource materials, choose the correct vernacular to talk about the Wabanaki people, and demonstrate ways to integrate Wabanaki information into discussions they are already having with their students. Also, learn what resources the Abbe Museum has to help teacher meet the requirements of LD291. 

Michael Smith  

Creating Special Purpose Maps: European Map Project                                         

Grades 9-12

This hands-on project combines research, design skills, problem solving, technology, and critical thinking. The students first learn to draw and label the map of Europe. Then they select a research and map the results. Once complete, the special-purpose maps can be presented by the students or the teacher to explore European culture, economics, and history.

The project will challenge your top students, but accommodations are easily made for students with special needs. Participants will be making their own maps as part of the workshop. The teachers benefit by connecting with their students directly through this collaborative, hands-on project.  Each participant will be given a set of reproducible materials including: an outline map of Europe, a grid map of Europe, map directions, a list of recommended topics, a construction checklist, a presentation checklist, a Directed Map Analysis Team Activity, and a scoring rubric.


Jacqueline Littlefield    

We are the People: Civil Disobedience Ignites Change                                           

Grades 9-12

Participants will examine Civil Disobedience thru the lens of the Leipzig 1989 peaceful demonstrations which contributed to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).   Explore the viability of civil disobedience in today's world.  Complimentary materials available. Study Tour information provided.

Using video, primary source documents and images related to the 1989 Leipzig peaceful demonstrations, we will analyze the events that contributed to the collapse of the GDR and the Berlin Wall Also we willexamine ways to encourage students to examine their role as engaged citizens. This session ties in very well with the conference theme - Civic Engagement in a Globally Connected World - as understanding the peaceful focus of the 1989 Leipzig protest and spontaneous eruption of massive participation is an excellent case study in civil disobedience in the tradition of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.   This session provides Maine's teachers with the resources to introduce the concept of civil disobedience, as well as, other examples from history which can be used as comparisons and contrasts to the events that would unfold in Leipzig in the fall of 1989.


Keith Magnuson and Jacob Brown

Teaching Social Studies: An Inquiry Based Approach                                                                                        

Grades 9-12

This session is broken up in two different parts. First, learn how to align a unit plan to the C3 framework to spark student inquiry. The second part of the session will focus on student feedback with progression scales and student trackers. Also Learn tips of personalized learning with the use of inquiry in a workshop/seminar model. Leave this unit with resources you can use in your classroom!

Bring your laptops!


Daniel Novak and Elaine Fryda

From John Locke to Student troublemakers facing the US Supreme Court           

Grades 9-12

This interdisciplinary unit provides a unique look at our founding documents, a student-centered approach to the Bill of Rights, and an exploration of civic decision-making in everyday life. We will demonstrate how we use informational texts, primary documents and contemporary readings to encourage students to see the personal relevance of civic responsibilities. We will share our teaching materials, including product descriptors and rubrics for lessons and assessments. Attendees will be encouraged to ask probing questions and discuss related experiences.


Mark Schulte

Proven Tools and Techniques for Using Exciting and High-Profile Reporting on the Most Pressing Global Issues of Our Time                                                                          

Grades 9-12

Participants will view a selection of the Pulitzer Center’s best journalism projects, showing how students can be encouraged to develop healthier news diets by cultivating an interest in under-reported global stories -- from climate to food security to mass migrations and more. Using proven tools and classroom techniques, most of them web-based and all of them free, we will then show how educators have used these projects successfully in their classrooms to foster a sense of informed global citizenship while meeting learning standards.  Bring your laptop, please!


Derek Latham, Daniel Novak, and Shauna Broyer                                                   

Is George Milton Guilty of the 1st Degree Murder of Lennie Small?: Of Mice and Men on Trial

Grades 7-12

This interdisciplinary unit starts with a reading of the classic Of Mice and Men and ends with a multi-day courtroom simulation.  Students gain an authentic understanding of courtroom vocabulary and procedures, the roles of lawyers, witnesses, juries and even the media, as it covers the proceedings from start to finish.  Product descriptors, rubrics and unique character sheets for all of the roles will be distributed and reviewed.  This high interest, heterogeneous unit is a fantastic opportunity to teach and gauge the students’ collaborative skills while delving into good literature and civic responsibility.  This simulation can be adapted for groups of 24-40.  Appropriate for an advanced middle school group and high school.


Margaret Chernosky

Getting Started with ArcGIS Online: A Hands-on Workshop                                    

Grades 9-12 

This hands-on workshop will help you get started making custom maps with ArcGIS Online. You will learn how to use web-based mapping software to create, save, add data and share maps. At the conclusion of the workshop, you will be comfortable teaching your own students how to use this powerful geospatial technology. Please bring your laptop or tablet. At least a week prior to the workshop, please request a free ArcGIS Online Organization account for your school. http://www.esri.com/connected
If you miss getting your Organization account, please come anyway!


Jim Ford  

The Stock Market Game                                                                                            

Grades 6-12

During this interactive session, participants will learn how to engage students into the topic of investing utilizing the SIFMA Stock Market Game Program. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to get started in the classroom and how to take the first step in the lifelong process of understanding investments.


Dr. Mishy Lesser and Mr. Adam Mazo                                                                    

Forcible removal of Wabanaki children and Truth and Reconciliation in Maine     

Grades 7-12

This session uses compelling film and curriculum to explore the historical context of Maine’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined forcible removal of Wabanaki children by child welfare officials. The TRC’s final report frames child removal as evidence of ongoing cultural genocide. After screening the documentary, “First Light”, we test its free online learning resources and apply the inquiry process to explore genocide in New England. Teachers shape this workshop through collaboration and discourse. Participants work in small groups using the Question Formulation Technique, in response to a prompt related to forced removal of Native children.


Erica Gower

Using Primary Sources for Elementary School                                                        

Grades K-4

Participants will learn about a lesson designed to take 30 minutes, aligned with the C3 Framework and the MLRs that can be integrated into elementary classes. What is a Primary Source and why is it important? Participants will view some clips from the modeling of this lesson with 2nd grade students and receive all handouts and resources to teach this 30 minute lesson in their classroom. Participants will learn about how to use formative and summative assessment during this session.


John Taylor, Liam Riordan, and Nicole Rancourt                                                

National History Day in Maine: Learning Through Primary Source Based Research           

Grades 6-12

National History Day promotes the learning of history by students in grades six through twelve.  Through the encouragement of their teachers, the students choose historical topics related to an ever changing but broad yearly theme.  Then they conduct extensive primary and secondary research relevant to their chosen topic.  Through a combination of creativity and scholarship, students then present their historical research in the form of papers, exhibits, performances, web sites and documentaries in state and national competitions. NHD is a flexible program that teachers can use however they see fit.  Some make NHD a class project while other teachers sponsor after school clubs. 


Laurie Downey and Gretchen Berg with Marie Trombley                                         

Forging strong community connections through experience-based learning and integrated arts

Grades K-4

Young people often develop their first real sense of community in their home towns. This hands-on workshop session will explore how the innovative, experience-based Local Stories Project encourages that process. Through this Project, students make lasting connections to their local community in multiple ways: by interviewing town elders and historians and visiting local sites, and then creating a permanent mural and a performance to share this new knowledge with their community. The story will be told from dual perspectives - of the two teaching artists who conduct it, and a 3/4 classroom teacher from Scarborough whose class completed the project in 2015. The classroom teacher will discuss the benefits as well as the challenges of implementing an interdisciplinary, experience-based unit. She will share planning materials and practical suggestions. Attendees will emerge from the session with an understanding this innovative process, and gain new ideas for integrating art and community based research into their classroom curriculum.


John Bear Mitchell, Liam Riordan, Patrick Womac                                                                    

Teaching Statehood:  Looking Ahead to the Maine Bicentennial in 2019-2020

Grades 9-12

The three UMaine faculty on this panel are committed to exploring how best to use the bicentennial of Maine statehood in 2019-2020 as an opportunity to enrich social studies curriculum.  The importance of "civic engagement" in the state constitution, stressed economic, religious, and African American toleration (but NOT for Native Americans). Half the session will be devoted to presentations from three distinct disciplinary positions: Mitchell (Native American Studies), Riordan (History), Womac (Education/Geography).  The other half of the session will be devoted to an open discussion about what classroom teachers most need to best aid their students in exploring the statehood process and its ongoing legacy more deeply.


Bobbie Thibodeau

360 degree Virtual Exchanges                                                                                              

Grades 9-12

Educators can incorporate 360 degree photos and video technology to further expand, and globalize, the boundaries of their classrooms.   Participants will learn about some of the cameras and platforms available and those being developed currently.  A focus will be on the Ricoh Theta 360 camera recently used on a trip to Morocco and that 9-12th grade students are using to create virtual exchanges with students abroad.   Potential platforms for the images will be discussed and demonstrated, including Google cardboard, Mettavr and Twitter. I will bring 2 Ricoh Theta cameras and 10 cardboard headsets to use.  


Brett Elwell

EverFi Digital Tools for Middle School Financial Literacy                                       

Grades 6-8

This workshop will introduce middle school educators to EverFi’s free, online financial literacy tool.  The course is a designed as a co-curricular resource with seven 30-minute lessons for a total of 3.5 hours. The course is standards-aligned and offers assessments as well as additional offline material. Through a compelling narrative in which students play the Mayor of a town, local citizens are helped with real-life decisions. From weighing opportunity costs, to delaying instant gratification for long-term gain, students face important questions on their way to becoming certified in the course.


Brett Elwell

EverFi Digital Tools for High School Financial Literacy                                           

Grades 9-12

This workshop will introduce high school educators to EverFi’s online financial literacy tool, available at no cost through the support from the Maine Office of the Attorney General.  EverFi™ – Financial Literacy uses the latest in new media technologies – video, animations, 3-D gaming, and avatars – to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation.


Frederick Koerber and Eric Lahti

History from Your Backyard; Using Maine's Rich Archaeological Heritage to Inspire Students

Grades 5-8

This 'hands on' session will include techniques for teaching artifact interpretation, methods of analyzing historic evidence, and ways of applying knowledge to build concepts. With great potential for interdisciplinary instruction, archaeology based units rely on integrated thinking skills across the curriculum. Maine has a wealth of prehistoric and historic sites from which to draw.


Erin Towns
The Unconference

All grades

This is a participant-driven meeting. Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. Unconferences typically feature open discussions rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted. So bring your issues related to the Social Studies or your ‘tricks of the trade” to share.