May/June 2016 newsletter

May/June Newsletter

MCSS is looking for a few good conference presenters! 

Spring is in the air and summer will be here before we know it! Now is the perfect time to look back on the academic year and reflect on what you've learned and everything you've accomplished. Did you have a professional experience or learn a new skill that you'd like to share with your fellow Social Studies teachers? How about sharing some of your stellar successes? Consider becoming a presenter at the Maine Council for the Socials Studies Annual Conference in 2016! 

This year’s conference, Civic Engagement in a Globally Connected World, will be held on November 10th, 2016 at the Augusta Civic Center.  We are looking for presenters in the following grade span areas: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. We value workshop sessions that are interactive, hands on, and answer the question, “How do I teach this content?” “How is this presentation helpful to schools working on proficiency standards?”

If you are interested in sharing your knowledge, tools, and skills with Maine teachers, please complete the Google form at this link: 

Submission deadline is June 3, 2016. Presenters will be notified by mid- July.



Maine National History Day

by John Taylor

The National History Day in Maine program continues to grow.  This year’s state contest, held on April 9, was the largest since the University of Maine began hosting in 2014.  Over 300 students registered for the event which showcased nearly 200 student research based projects connected to the annual theme—Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.  As State Coordinator, I am excited about the level of involvement and the quality of work coming from Maine students.  Next year, is looking bright as plans are being made to possibly create regional contests which will take place before the state event on April 8, 2017.

Before NHD in Maine turns all focus to 2017, we must look to the rest of this year.  A large delegation of contest winners have committed to going to the national contest to showcase their state winning performances, papers, exhibits, documentaries, and websites.  It will take place at the University of Maryland, June 12-16.  The past two years have been good for our state.  In 2013, we had a first place winner from Noble High School named Noah Binette in the Senior Individual Exhibit category.  Last year, Madison Albert from Greely Middle School received the Women’s History Award for her Junior Individual Exhibit.  We are all excited to see if this streak continues into a third year.  Plans for are also being made for possible teacher workshops in Portland and Bar Harbor this fall. 

Please follow NHD in Maine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or contact John Taylor ( to learn more about the program or upcoming events.

John Taylor is the Museum Assistant & National History Day State Coordinator at Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan, Maine.


Maine National History Day 2016 First Place State Winners:

Bruce M. Whittier Middle School

     Colin Marquis Boutin-Jr. Individual Documentary

     Sam Boles & Josh Power-Jr. Group Exhibit

Center Drive School

            Devon Hunter & Sara Hagstrom-Jr. Group Documentary

Greely Middle School

            Madison Albert-Jr. Individual Exhibit

Hartford Sumner Elementary School

            Hadley Blodgett-Jr. Individual Performance

Holbrook Middle School

            Ceci Doering & Damian Sheffer-Jr. Group Website

James F. Doughty School

            Alec Jansujwicz-Jr. Paper

            Camden Cole-Jr. Individual Website

 Lawrence High School

            Kelsey Dubay & Jessica Keay-Sr. Group Exhibit

Morse High School

            Zachary Lay & Nathaniel Lay-Sr. Group Documentary

Noble High School

            Olivia Hersom-Sr. Individual Exhibit

            Travis Marshall-Sr. Individual Performance

            Hali Bowden-Sr. Paper

            Jarrod Rudis, Jaxson Monroe & Ray Horne-Sr. Group Website

            Kylan Bowden-Sr. Individual Website

Samuel L. Wagner Middle School

            Emma Campbell, Morgan Gray & Lydia Tracy-Jr. Group Performance


Remembering World War One in Maine

by Shane Gower

“So how is a stone fence a monument?” This was a question posed by one of the thoughtful 11th grade students in my US History class at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield. Students were using the Maine Memory Network website to locate images related to World War One and Maine during that time period. One of the images we found was of a World War Memorial located in Fairfield. The image was taken in 1923. After a few moments of contemplation, the description shed a bit more light on the monument. “The World War I Monument was dedicated on May 30, 1925. It featured bronze tablets with inscribed names and an overhead marble plate bearing 13 bronze stars, one for each soldier from Good Will that was killed in the war. During the dedication ceremony water from the Marne River in France was cast upon the monument. G. W. Hinckley’s war-time letters from Good Will Boys, including those from his daughter Faith and son Ed Ben, were enclosed in a copper box and placed in a crypt behind the south tablet.” After we read this, another student asked, “Does this mean there is a box in the ground under the monument with war time letters in it? Will anyone ever read them? Why would they do this?” The questions flowed from there and we discussed the possibilities. All of this helped us to address our objective- How Was Our Community Effected by the First World War and how can we remember that? 

Through the online resources of the Maine Historical Society, and the help of the Staff at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in Seringes-et-Nesles, France, my students learned about the sacrifice made by a young man who grew up in one of the towns in our school district. Benjamin Bradford was born and raised in Wayne, ME. He played semi-professional baseball in Winthrop, attended Kents Hill School and received a degree from Bowdoin College. Bradford enlisted in the Army in 1917 and was sent to France in June of 1918. He was killed when his plane tragically crashed at the Aviation Training Facility in Tours on August 6, 1918. What was our community like when Bradford left in 1917? How has our community changed as result of the war? How can we remember the effect of the war on our community? Why is it important to remember the sacrifice of Benjamin Bradford and others?

These are all questions my students set out to resolve through research and presentation. Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs at the Maine Historical Society, visited my class to introduce the Maine Memory Network and how it can be used. Students quickly found interesting artifacts on the website. They found the ability to create an account and store images an engaging and helpful research tool. We then contacted Geoff Fournier of the American Battle Monuments Commission and Superintendent of the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery where Benjamin Bradford is buried. He provided us with a photo of Bradford’s grave and the information they had about Bradford. Students used these resources and a few others to create a presentation designed to answer our questions. Each student was asked to make a claim about the effect of the war on our community, and to design a memorial or monument that would help us remember the effect of the war.

So how can a stone fence be a monument? What should monuments be made out of? What form should they take and what message should they give? These are all questions my students wrestled with and designed monuments that reflected their ideas on these questions. While I’m not sure any of them understood why a Stone Wall was erected in Fairfield to remember the sacrifice of the Boys who attended Good Will Hinckley, they all came away with an appreciation for the thought process behind monument design.

There are nine ABMC maintained American Cemeteries in Europe dedicated to soldiers killed in World War One. These cemeteries contain the remains of many Maine soldiers who grew up in our communities from all over the state. Unfortunately, the cemeteries see fewer visitors each year and are looking for opportunities to see those who are interred in those cemeteries remembered by others. There is a great opportunity for classrooms to connect with any of these cemeteries. Combined with the outstanding Maine Memory Network website, there are plenty of opportunities for students to learn about the way World War One changed our communities!

Shane Gower teaches Social Studies at Maranacook High School in Readfield, Maine.

Resources: Maine Memory Network (, American Battle Monuments Commission (, The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery (

Have a story you want to share for our SOCIAL STUDIES IN MAINE or SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSROOM spotlights? Submit it to the Maine Council for Social Studies at  

MCSS is co-sponsoring a Social Studies Summer Symposium!

June 29, 2016, Marancook High School, Readfield, ME

Space is limited; register by June 10, 2016

The Maine Department of Education, in partnership with the Maine Council for the Social Studies, will hold the inaugural Social Studies Summer Symposium on June 29 at Maranacook High School in Readfield, from 8:00-4:00.  The day will feature a variety of workshop sessions crafted and delivered by Social Studies Teacher-Leaders from across the state.  The Summer Symposium will include sessions for elementary, middle and high school teachers and contact hours will be awarded.    

The $25.00 registration fee includes lunch and seven contact hours will be awarded.  Registration and online payment must be made in advance. 

Register here:


Grant Opportunity, deadline May 8: The Gannett House Project announces a travel grant opportunity for teachers interested in participating in the 2016 Annenberg–Newseum Summer Teacher Institute in Washington, D.C.  The Institute, Primarily Digital, is a valuable professional development opportunity for teachers who want to help students explore the power of free speech in print and across the digital landscape.

June 23-24 2016, Marion, MA: Choices Program Working Conference: Engaging Students in Inquiry and Discussion on International Issues

June 29, 2016, Readfield, ME, Social Studies Summer Symposium: Space is limited; register by June 10. The Maine Department of Education, in partnership with the Maine Council for the Social Studies, will hold the inaugural Social Studies Summer Symposium on June 29 at Maranacook High School in Readfield, from 8:00-4:00.  The $25.00 registration fee includes lunch and seven contact hours will be awarded.  Registration and online payment must be made in advance.

July 25-29 2016, Worcester, MA: The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester, Mass will hold a Summer Holocaust Institute.

August 9-10, 2016, Augusta, ME: Holocaust and Human Rights Center Summer Seminar: Holocaust and Human Behavior: For Middle and High School Educators

August 19-22, 2016, Wilton, ME: Cemetary Preservation Workshop