Nov/Dec 2015 newsletter

November/December 2015 Newsletter

The Maine Council for the Social Studies welcomed over 130 participants to our annual MCSS Conference in October! The day was a huge success, featuring fantastic speakers, engaging sessions, great food and fun, and - of course - plenty of talk about Social Studies!

You can keep the conversation going by following MCSS on Facebook (Maine Council for the Social Studies) and on Twitter (@MaineCSS)! 

The Great Thanksgiving Listen:  StoryCorps is piloting a project for students ages 13 and over to interview an elder over Thanksgiving and upload their recording to the Library of Congress.  A free Educator’s Toolkit is available. 

Grant Opportunity: Maine Humanities Council

Maine Humanities Council has a new grant category to fund programs that involve Pulitzer Prize-winning works or creators. The awards will vary from $500 to $10,000.   Nov. 13 deadline for programming that takes place no later than December 31, 2016. We are very eager to have schools/districts/classes apply, and are happy to provide assistance in thinking through the ways you can incorporate Pulitzer Prize-winning works into your existing curriculum and/or school/district events. For example, we may be able to connect you with Pulitzer Prize-winning creators who would be willing to visit your school and talk about their work. 

Visit the MHC grant page for more information, or call Anne or Lizz at 773-5051 to talk about your idea. 


Visit the MHC grant page for more information, or call Anne or Lizz at 773-5051 to talk about your idea. 

Release of First Light

First Light independently documents the work of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the first such task force in US history to investigate issues important to Native Americans. The TRC was dedicated to uncovering and acknowledging the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families because of the state’s child welfare system.

First Light is the first film in a series, anchored by the feature film Dawnland slated for release in early 2017.

First Light is about the journey of loss and healing of Native people participating in a historic truth commission in Maine. 

Free learning resources for First Light connect teachers and students to primary source documents and discussion questions so they can begin to examine the history.  The First Light trailer is available now with free streaming available. 

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) Travel Programs

GEEO is a 501c3 non-profit organization that runs summer professional development travel programs designed for teachers. The following travel programs are being offered for 2016: Bali/Lombok, Bangkok to Hanoi, China, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, India/Nepal, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Morocco, Myanmar, Peruvian Amazon, Peruvian Andes, Portugal/Spain, Heart of the Silk Road, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam/Cambodia, Western Balkans, Peru (Winter Break), Southern India (Winter Break), Israel (Spring Break), Moorish Spain (Spring Break), and Morocco (Spring Break).  The registration deadline is June 1, 2016.   Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at

Advocacy in Action Student Video Contest (from the Center for Effective Government)

Did you know that one in three U.S. students goes to school within the risk zone of a chemical facility? Many students don’t realize that they are at risk – or that they can be a part of the solution.

Challenge your students to create a short film exploring the risks from chemical facilities and offering solutions for protecting our communities. All students grades 9 through 12 are eligible to participate and will compete to win cash prizes of up to $1,000.

The Advocacy in Action video contest and lesson plan help students make real-world social studies connections. Students will:

●     Use our interactive map to locate their school and identify nearby facilities that may be putting them at risk

●     Learn how our government regulates these facilities and how they can be made safer

●     Explore essential communications strategies

●     Become active, engaged citizens

The deadline to submit videos is March 18, 2016.

Facilities can take steps to reduce their hazards. We need our students to speak up and demand that facilities no longer put surrounding communities at risk.  

For contest rules, lesson plan, and other resources, visit

World of 7 Billion Video Contest

(from Population Education)

Back by popular demand, the World of 7 Billion student video contest can help you bring technology and creativity into your middle and high school classes. The contest challenges your students to create a short (60 seconds or less) video illustrating the connection between world population growth and one of three global challenges dealing with either Deforestation, Public Health, or Water Scarcity. Students can win up to $1,000 and their teachers will receive free curriculum resources. The contest deadline is February 25, 2016. Full contest guidelines, resources for research, past winners, and more can be found at