Holocaust Remembrance Week

Remembrance Day

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 8), the Greece social studies department invited Mr. John Kula to speak with students.  Currently, John works in the security department in Greece, and he has a rich family history dating back to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.  John visited Arcadia High School, Arcadia Middle School, and Athena High School over the week.

John’s parents were both captured by Nazis during the Holocaust, and placed in labor/concentration camps.  After the liberation of those camps by both the Russians and the US, his parents met at a refugee camp, were married, and John and his older sister were both born in Europe in those camps.  John and his family arrived in the United States, via Ellis Island in 1949.

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For John’s presentation, he walks students through his very personal connection with the Holocaust, share pictures, talks about the experiences of his parents, and answers questions.  He also outlines the major causes, events and results of the Holocaust, and includes major individuals as well.  Lastly, he completes his talk with the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and passes around pieces of the wall that he owns.  John’s message to the students is centered on celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, rather than allowing those things to create negative situations and devastation.   He connects this overall theme to bully prevention strategies, and creates an argument that focuses on never forgetting about our history, and making history a personal journey.


Reading Like a Historian…

Hi all,

Here’s the Link: Stanford’s History Education Group – Reading Like an Historian.

Reading Like an Historian

Please check out this website – it is a great one for all social studies teachers, and it connects our content to Common Core and skill development in text analysis.  Brad Fiege from Arcadia presented this to the social studies department, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The website is an excellent resource for social studies teachers for a number of reasons.  First, lesson plans are created with Common Core in mind.  The center of these lesson plans is textual documents, primary sources, maps, etc. that are historically relevant.  The push is to have student “Doing History” rather than simply learning about it – and that is at the heart of the Common Core standards within social studies.  Second, it is easy to access these plans, and they are free.  Simply register once, and you have access to these plans in PDF format.  All materials are printable, and you can save them as well.    As well, the lessons are created through the Stanford History Education Group, and the resources are grade level appropriate for our students.  Many documents are from the Library of Congress as well.

There are numerous lesson and documents available right now in US History, and just last month, Global lessons were added too.  That database will continue to grow.  There are currently 15 lessons in the Global History database.

Knowledge Maps for Social Studies

Hi all,

For students, learning about how they learn is often times a key to growth and development in school.  Knowledge maps can help students focus in on what they know, what they need to improve, and what they don’t know – and how all of this impacts assessment and how to make sense of content.  Basically a knowledge map is a learning guide for students – in a unit, based on a reading, or through an entire year. Knowledge maps are modified graphic organizers for classroom content – but they can be much more than that.  They also can serve as a checklist for teachers and students to inform instruction both in terms of content and skills.  They are a great way to track student progress using formative data, and it enables students to internalize their own strengths and weaknesses. They can address skills related to the Common Core SS, classroom content, and are a great tool for student analysis.

Based on the Greece Central SD social studies curriculum maps, these knowledge maps give the basic outline for grades 7-11 , excluding AP courses.  If any teacher would like a knowledge map for an elementary grade level, or for an AP course, please let me know and I will create one.

Listed below these links are different strategies that teachers and students can use to enhance the use of these knowledge maps.  The maps listed here are based on an entire school year, but I’ve also included a blank map that could be used for revolutions in grade 6, 9 and 10.  Any theme can fit into these maps.


7th Grade US Knowledge Map

8th Grade US Knowledge Map

Global History 9 Knowledge Map

Global History 10 Knowledge Map

US History 11 Knowledge Map

Revolutions Knowledge Map


These next links will provide both a blank student checklist, as well as a completed check list.  These are to be completed at five week intervals so discussions with students can focus on learning, growth and improvement.

Student Checklist Knowledge Map – A blank copy that teachers and students could start using right now.

Knowledge Map Student Checklist Example – Anything highlighted in green indicates mastery, yellow is meeting, and pink is need to review.

This last link is a completed knowledge map in Global History 9.  A student completed this throughout the year, summarized the work on the student checklist above, and has indicated strengths and weaknesses based on content, assessments  and skills.


Knowledge Map Completed by Student – Again, green indicates mastery of content, yellow is meeting, and pink is working towards meeting.  This student also included both formative and summative assessment grades – which serve as evidence and data – for both teacher and student.  The process becomes very fluid throughout the year.


1.  Knowledge Map Completion – The purpose of this is to have students who are just being introduced to knowledge maps to organize and practice the lesson for one class period by completing a partially filled knowledge map.  Progression to a completely blank map, or even to having student create and knowledge map template could work.  The revolutions knowledge map above could be used for a lesson on any revolution in global history.

2.  Building Knowledge Maps – Once students get the basics of knowledge maps, have them generate maps based on content and skills.  This could occur over a lesson, through a non-fiction reading activity, or through an entire unit.

3.  Note-Taking Knowledge Mapping – Provide students with a blank knowledge map for the lesson or unit.  The map will help students organize information presented, worked on, shared or discussed through the lesson or unit.  Some students will be very challenged by this, so it’s a great way to incorporate differentiation or groupings of students so they can assist each other.

4.  Knowledge Map Essay – The knowledge map serves as the outline for a thematic essay.  Again, the revolutions example above could serve this purpose for the different revolutions that are focused on in Global History 9 and 10.

5.  Knowledge Maps and Common Core – Student can complete different reading and writing activities, grounded in non-fiction and primary source material through knowledge maps.  For example, student could use a knowledge map to summarize President Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided.”  There are many different uses here.

Hope this helps…please let me know if you have questions.  The next post will focus on Common Core examples and Knowledge Maps.


Khan Academy in the Classroom

Hi all,

The Khan Academy – an online learning classroom – is a great resource for supplemental mini-lessons in our own classrooms.  Salman Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, which is a website dedicated to a new, accessible style of learning and education.  To date, there are more than 3,400 short videos that follow Khan through easy to understand summaries of major trends, concepts and topics in lots of subjects.

The best part about The Khan Academy is that you can sign up as a teacher, have students join your “class” and track data for students as they take quizzes and join in on discussions.

There are over 10 million people that have accessed The Khan Academy.  History (social studies) is not the prominent subject provided, but there are some good summary lessons that are provided.  You can access videos and lessons by clicking on “watch”, then going to “humanities.”

If you teach economics, there are also some great lessons related to major concepts and models in both microeconomics and macroeconomics.  Some of the material relates very well to NYS standards and what we teach, while others do not connect as well.

Thes lessons are primarily for high school students.

For users of smartphones, there is also a Khan Academy app.

Click here to visit the webpage:  The Khan Academy

That’s it for now…


Mankind: The Story of All of Us

Mankind: The Story of All of Us

The History Channel has followed up “America: The Story of Us”, with “Mankind: The Story of All of Us.”  The first episode of 12 aired on November 13th, 9-11pm.  Each episode will be aired on Tuesday, starting at 9pm.

The series chronicles mankind, from the beginnings in Eastern Africa, all the way to modern times.  The first episode was entitled “Inventors” and outlined how humans created new technologies in order to survive and advance civilizations.  Some of the “inventions” included fire, farming, bronze, iron, democracy, writing systems, trade and war.

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This could be a great supplemental resource for 6th, 9th and 10th grade classrooms, and there are many different resources teachers could use from the History Channel website.  There are 2-3 minute video clips, and a Mankind classroom teacher guide.

Click here to explore more related to Mankind: The Story of All of Us




November Madness Resources

November Madness is just more than a week away.  Attached are a bunch of  resources that teachers and students can use throughout the evening to analyze the election.  Please feel free to make copies for your students.   What we tried to do was to have students engage in the political process by connecting it to social media, media bias, ideology, the Electoral College, and the candidates.

Teacher/Student Resources:

November Madness Information Sheet – For Students – An invitation for students to attend.

November Madness Electoral College Map – To be completed prior to election night, or during the evening.

November Madness Electoral College Tracking Sheet – For Election Night – A simple way for students to track the election.

November Madness Media Comparison – For Election Night – Comparing coverage on ABC, NPR, CNN, and Fox News

November Madness Social Media – Getting “Plugged In” – Using social media to engage in the election process.

Here are some websites that may help as well:

270towin.com – a great resource for the electoral college process.

studentnewsdaily.com – can be used for conservative vs. liberal ideologies.

youtube.com/politics – The YouTube channel dedicated to the 2012 Presidential Election.

Gallup Polls and News –  A look at the latest news and polls from Gallup

Pew Research Campaign Center – News, research, polls and a Political Ideology quiz

Twitter.com/president – The twitter page for the 2012 Presidential Election.

President Barack Obama’s Twitter page

Mitt Romney’s Twitter page

CNN’s 2012 Election Center

FoxNews 2012 Election Center

If you have any questions, please email: matthew.schultz@greece.k12.ny.us

Thanks…Looking forward to seeing lots of students and teachers in action for Election 2012!


Native American Day at the Greece Historical Society and Museum

Elementary teachers and administrators, the Greece Historical Society and Museum is holding a “Native American Day” for all residents of Greece.  Please forward this to building teachers and students.

Where: Greece Town Hall, rooms B and C

When: Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time: 10am – 12 noon


1) 10am: Anthropologist George Hammel (Rochester Museum and Science Center) will discuss and display Iroquois artifacts that are 500-750 years old!

2) 11am: Mohawk Storyteller Barbara Bethmann-Mahooty

Why: To explore and learn about local Native American History.  To experience history “hands-on” through artifacts, including tools, spear points, adz, net sinkers,  arrowheads, wampum and tomahawks.  You can also bring any relics or artifacts you may have for identification. You will learn about early Aboriginal tribes of the Genesee region through displays, artifacts and books.

Contacts: Email the Greece Historical Society for more information at: greecehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com, or call 225-7221.

Here’s a link to their website: Greece Historical Society and Museum