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2023 TCSS Conference
Friday, Mar. 3rd
In-Person Program

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8 AM Sessions


Tennessee Giant Traveling Map
       Karla Hardison & McKenna Adkins, Columbia Academy at Spring Hill

Come explore the Tennessee Giant Traveling Map and see how you can use it in your school.


What is America? K-2 Strategies for Civics and History (K-2)
       Erin Adams & Sjober Hammer, Andrew Jackson Hermitage

This class addresses K-2 and 4th grade curriculum related to the War of 1812, famous Tennesseans, Tennessee’s place in America, citizenship, and national symbols.  It utilizes three guided, hands-on  activities to get K-2 students right into the story of America.


More Mini-Projects: Ignite Inquiry with Shorter, Meaningful Projects (6-8)
       Alice L. Bryant & Meggie Lucas, Harpeth Hall School & ABC-CLIO

Mini-Projects bridge the gap between worksheets and papers! Mini-Projects ignite student inquiry and build confidence. Following on the heels of last year’s presentation, teachers will share projects including museum label creation, creating short one-page digital presentations, creating hexagons, and using Google Earth to show place, time, and connections to events in history. Teachers will demonstrate how students use snapshot moments in history through their research in digital databases to inquire and create. Attendees will see how a mini-project might be just the ticket to inquiry, engagement, and quality presentations.


Engaging Students in Informed Action Through Design Thinking (K-12)
      Jill Cross, Nathan Collier, & Kayla Buchanan, Bornblum Jewish Community School

The design thinking framework is a natural vehicle for helping students develop empathy and perspective and tackle authentic community challenges with creative thinking. Join us in a fast-paced Design Sprint that will lead you through all the steps of the design process. You will leave with tools and strategies to design learning experiences that will complement the Inquiry Arc of the C3 Framework and develop responsible and active global citizens.


Teaching Hard History: Guidelines for Teaching About the Holocaust (6-12)            Kim Blevins-Relleva & Laura Boughton, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Teaching history responsibility requires a high level of sensitivity and awareness of the complexity of the subject matter.  Teaching the Holocaust is no exception. The Museum guidelines provide scaffolding for teaching about the Holocaust and reflect approaches appropriate for respectful teaching in general.


Teacher Grants, Scholarships and Global Opportunities (K-12)
       Teresa Hughes Shadoin, Johnson County High School

Learn how to apply for scholarships and grants for your classroom. Want to travel the world or become inspired to teach and travel as a global educator?  Perhaps you want to go to a seminar across the country or even travel abroad? Spring is the perfect time to research and apply for a teacher travel grant. The key is to look in the right places and write a compelling application. Whatever your passion or favorite subject, there is a grant or scholarship for you.  Handouts/weblinks will be provided to attendees. 


Teaching Geography Through the Ancient Lens (6-8)
       Chad Michael Hammontree & Jeffrey Trim, Cordova Middle School

Have you started teaching an ancient history geography lesson and that one student, you know the one, will raise their hand and ask, “Why do I need to know this?” As teachers, we give the speech about how learning a wide variety of subjects contributes to being an educated person. Everything you learn in school does not always have a demonstrable real-world application. Geography should not be a good example. Who cares where Tibet is located? Our students should. The ancient geography of Tibet ties into history, economics, and politics. Here we will learn the importance of Teaching Geography Through the Ancient Lens.

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9 AM Sessions


Student FRQs from a Reader’s Perspective (9-12)
       Lori Napier, Columbia Central High School

APHG teachers, come be a part of the conversation centered on student FRQs. This session will be facilitated by an APHG reader. New and experienced teachers are welcome to bring their ideas and expertise to share with other attendees.


Visual Literacy 101: What's in a Picture? (K-5)
       Summer Carter, Social Studies School Service

This fun interactive session is about visual literacy for young students (K-5). Help your students construct meaning and gain understanding by utilizing visual resources (pictures, maps, atlases, globes). Visual Literacy is the ability to construct meaning from images. It’s not a skill. It uses skills as a toolbox. We are going to focus on building and applying that toolbox of skills to images and share techniques like observing elements like color, light and shading; getting students to create their own questions; and drawing inferences and evidence from multiple visuals. Strategies and examples packed to go, to take back to your classroom!


The World Around Me: Exploring Life with an Economics Lens (9-12)
       Jackie Morgan, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Nashville Branch
      Maria Edlin King, Tennessee Council on Economic and Free Enterprise Education at MTSU

Whether you buy a cup of coffee or celebrate a holiday, economics is part of the decisions you make. Explore trade, the role of consumers, spending trends, and more. This hands-on session will provide FREE resources and ready-to-use lessons. Leave this session with the tools needed to help your students explore their economic world. 


Resource Overview from the National Constitution Center (3-12)
      Sarah Harris, National Constitution Center

Participants will gain insight into a wide variety of educational materials from the National Constitution Center, including our online interactives. A key example is Rights Around the World, which uses an interactive map to highlight rights enshrined in founding documents worldwide. They will also learn about professional learning opportunities, with offerings ranging from pedagogical focuses to content-specific programs. Finally, participants will learn about the Center’s educator networks that build on the expertise of teachers nationwide to support further resource development.


Build A House: Image Analysis in Social Studies (K-12)
          Will Kelley, Memphis-Shelby County Schools

Educators will learn about the "Build A House" methodology of image analysis. This strategy can be used and modified for all skill levels, grade levels, and content areas, and can be used as an activity in multiple ways in a social studies classroom.


Increasing Geographic Awareness with Google Maps, Voyages, and Expeditions (6-12)
       Brandon O'Neill, Fulton High School (Knox County Schools)

Google offers numerous tools and opportunities for social studies teachers to both increase geographic awareness and student engagement. This session will introduce attendees to the opportunities offered through Google Maps, Voyages, and Expeditions. Participants will walk away with classrooms ready activities and strategies that can be implemented immediately.


Training Students to Tackle Difficult Conversations (6-12)
       Wesley Hedgepeth, National Council for the Social Studies

Discussion in social studies classrooms is used to check for understanding, allow for student voice, build empathy, and expose students to multiple perspectives. There are many benefits to utilizing discussion, but how do we continue to cultivate a community of respect when topics become divisive? The practice of norms setting provides a framework for respect within a classroom. Regular reflection occurs concurrently, ensuring norms are being followed and providing the opportunity to evolve with changing needs of a classroom. Participants will practice setting norms, participate in mini-discussions, and become comfortable with the process in order to implement norms into their classrooms.

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10 AM Sessions


Mapping for Mastery (3-8)
       Kristi Letsinger, Knox County Schools Social Studies Department

Maps are an extremely important part of any Social Studies classroom from kindergarten through high school.  However, many students struggle with interpreting the information that they see.  This session will focus on steps to help students interact with maps in a more meaningful and productive way.


Using Simulations in the Elementary Classroom (K-5)
       Stephanie J. Richards, Lauren Luna, Cari Moravits, Josie Morse & Abigail
       Parker,  Tennessee Tech University

Ever heard the phrase 'walk a mile in someone else's shoes'?  Why do children retain more when they are put in a situation requiring them to think and feel like someone else may have thought or felt?  Come see a few different simulations and how you can easily use them in your classroom!  Interact with and see how we created simulations varying from town meetings to conquistadors to Pearl Harbor to concepts like supply and demand and budgets.  Free resources available!


Brand New Tennessee Tales from the Early 1800s (9-12)
       Bill Carey, Tennessee History for Kids

Bill Carey has a new book coming out in bookstores in April. Called True Tales of Tennessee: Earthquake to Railroad, it includes stories about Tennessee history in the early 1800s – many of which have never been told. Come hear about the first steamboats that landed in Tennessee; how the construction of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad sealed the fate of Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, Shelbyville and Decherd; the story of Tennessee’s first telegraph message; the rise and untimely death of Tennessee’s first venture capitalist; and the tale of Ned Buntline – nearly lynched Nashville before he shaped the image of the American west.


Teaching Through Monument and Memorials (K-12)
      Emma Volpe, STEM Prep Academy

Every day we walk or drive past historical markers probably without realizing it. Whether a street name, bench, landmark, plaque, or statue. These monuments and memorials have been built as a physical representation of historical events and people. They give us perspective as a small glimpse into the past while living in the present. Teaching through monuments and memorials allows students to have a physical representation of history making lessons more tangible. It is our job not only as educators of history but citizens of our community to pay attention to the narratives being told and how to carry on their legacies into the future.


Facilitating Contentious Issues in the Classroom: Student-Driven Civil Discourse (6-12)
          Allan Carey, Sphere Education Initiatives (Cato Institute)

Civil Discourse! Your students can engage in healthy discussion on difficult, often contentious, issues in history and current events! The protected freedoms in our democracy inspired, and continue to inspire, millions to become part of these United States. Through self-discovery of issues, consideration of multiple and opposing perspectives, students can find their voice to thoughtfully engage in civil discourse. Audience members will role play as students as they engage in the lesson presentation to practice and model civil discourse. Together we can help the next generation become better, more informed citizens who can contribute to a peaceful civil society.


Creating and Using Digital Breakout Rooms in your Social Studies Classes (K-12)
       Burt Finley, East Hamilton Middle School

This session will show you how I have created digital breakout rooms in my Social Studies classrooms to increase student engagement.


Beyond Freud: Activities & Strategies for Teaching Psychology (9-12)
       Kim Francis, Greeneville High School

Discover new activities, tools and resources for your high school Psychology course! Ranging from topic specific demos and experiments to review strategies that can be tailored to any social studies course, attendees will come away with numerous activities and resources to implement in their own classrooms. Several activities can be adapted to other social studies subjects as well. Opportunity to meet other Psychology teachers from across the state!.

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Activities are my Jam! (6-12)
       Rebecca Furman, Hardin Valley Academy

Looking for something new, something borrowed, something cool? Activities, activities, activities for any classroom.

11 AM Sessions


Teaching Beyond the “Canon” of the Civil Rights Movement: Tent City Geographies (9-12)
       Katrina Stack, University of Tennessee

Beginning in 1960 in Fayette County, Tennessee, Black activist communities and their allies built a Tent City to house sharecroppers and tenant farmers subjected to “retaliatory eviction” for trying to register to vote. Tent City geographies offer an alternative to what traditionally counts as the “canon” of Civil Rights teaching, which often emphasizes marches, boycotts and sit-ins carried out by victimized activists. Tennessee curriculum standards identify the significance of Fayette’s Tent City, providing an opportunity to re-center the agency of Black places and people, rediscover home as a site of activism, and recover the role of joy, lived resistance, and self-defense in the Movement.


Engaging Preservice Elementary Teachers with the Inquiry Design Process (K-5)
       Amy Palmeri,  Vanderbilt University

Within an elementary education social studies methods course, preservice teachers engaged in the inquiry design model (IDM). Specifically, preservice teachers learned about the content of the elementary social studies curriculum, including social studies practices, and a variety of pedagogical strategies for teaching this content through a series of IDM inspired units. The final course project required preservice teachers to create their own IDM resource appropriate for K-5 learners. In this presentation an overview of the social studies methods course will be shared along with examples of the IDM resources created by the preservice teachers.


How to use Primary Sources in the Classroom (3-8)
       Courtney Starling Stewart, Gallopade International

For learners of all ages, focusing on details is a great way to introduce the basics of primary source analysis. Through observation, students can draw conclusions about the subject, time, place, and purpose of a variety of primary sources. Primary sources can help students understand people, places, and events throughout history. This session will focus on how to teach Primary sources in the classroom. There will also be handouts and an explanation at the end about how Primary Sources are integrated with Gallopade Social Studies Curriculum for Tennessee.


Exploring Japanese Internment Through Music, Video, and Text (9-12)
      Arielle Dyer, Springfield High School - Robertson County

TN Standard US.54 focuses on Japanese Interment.  This session will provide an engaging lesson that will explore the topic through primary sources and modern music.  Participants will experience a video circulated by the government in the 1940s and a rap song released in 2005.  The sample lesson is designed to engage students in comparing, contrasting, and evaluating the decision of Japanese Internment.  There will be additional focus on this lesson’s alignment with the TEAM rubric.


Teaching the Armenian Genocide-  "The Forgotten Genocide" (6-12)
         Kevin Dockery, Hume-Fogg Academic High School

In early 2022 I was chosen as one of 15 educators from around the United States to travel to Armenia as part of the Genocide Education Project's inaugural Teacher Fellowship program.  We met in Armenia in July and spent almost two weeks at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute conducting research, attending workshops and listening to experts discuss the history of the Armenian Genocide in hopes that we could better prepare educators and colleagues to teach this "forgotten genocide."  We studied the historical backdrop of WWI and the changing geopolitical situation in Europe and Central Asia.


Intersecting Social Studies and STEM (9-12)
       Andrew Fultz  & Patricia Roy, South Doyle High School

Social Studies and STEM are often seen as opposites; however, Problem Based Learning (PBL) units can bridge the academic gap between these two disciplines. The U.S. History teachers at South Doyle High School led a PBL unit about the lack of sidewalks in South Knoxville. In this PBL, students researched the historical roots of suburbanization, the rise of the automobile, and redlining. Then, students prepared a presentation for local politicians about reallocating City funds for new sidewalks as well as the location for a new sidewalk.



Lunch & Awards

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Message from the TCSS President

Message from the NCSS President

Presentation of TCSS Awards 

Presentation of TGA Awards

1:15 PM Sessions


Using a Tennessee Map to Help Teach Tennessee History (K-8)
       Dr. Marsha Sharp, Fairview Elementary

In this session, teachers will develop strategies using a map of Tennessee that students draw in the classroom to reinforce Tennessee standards.  These strategies include creating a Tennessee map featuring items found in the Tennessee 5th grade Social Studies Standards such as labeling the six physical regions of Tennessee, major industries & agriculture, tourism sites, first capital of Tennessee, and the Wilderness Road.


Do you DBQ? It’s Elementary! (K-5)
       Imali Kent, The DBQ Project

Using engaging questions and primary and secondary sources from a variety of perspectives, The DBQ Project was created to help teachers help students read with understanding, critically think, and communicate clearly. Come discover strategies on breaking down a DBQ so that even younger learners can learn how to think like historians, engage in historical debate, and write evidence-based arguments. Participants will get a chance to preview our DBQ Project’s Elementary Mini-Q binders and receive a complete elementary Mini-Q unit.


Sing Me Back Home (3-12)
       Renee McBride & Stacey Gall, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The story of country music is an American story from a Tennessee perspective. Tennesseans anchor the story, and artifacts from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection illuminate the narrative. In this presentation, we will cover the development of the genre, from its folk roots to its international reach, with an emphasis on the progression of listening device technology. Other themes include image cultivation and migration to and through America. Additionally, we will share resources available to students and teachers and a variety of school programs available on-site, online, and in classrooms.


Use and Misuse of Films in Race Topics (6-12)
      Dennis Matthew Stevenson, University of Tennessee

Building on the work of historians and the model for Thinking Like a Historian, this session seeks to address the use and misuse of film to address issues of race in American History with a look at two examples Amistad (1997) and Selma (2014).  The focus is on instructional strategies of these films as primary sources to build analytical skills of historical memory.


Incorporating Literacy Effectively in 6-8 SS (6-8)
         Jennifer Ledbetter, University School

Attendees will be presented with data that supports the idea of cross curricular instruction. Attendees will then see examples and interact with content area literacy examples.


Holocaust Learning Experience (3-12)
       Leigh Routman, Holocaust Learning Experience: MorseLife

Turnkey online educational program to teach lessons from the Holocaust. Our lessons contain a teacher's resource guide, a lesson and a Holocaust Survivor testimony all professionally produced in mini documentary format. Our program is easily deployable through our learning management system. It provides access equitability to all students in all school districts. It is sustainable and scalable, focusing on teaching students to be up-standers and better global citizens. There is a catalogue of over 20 lessons for teachers to choose from. It is age appropriate from 5th grade through 12th grade.


Apple Pies and Rugs: Exploring Economics & Geography Using Children’s Lit. (K-5)
       Maria Edlin King, Tennessee Council on Economic and Free Enterprise Education at MTSU
       Jackie Morgan, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Nashville Branch

Explore elementary economics and geography strand using the children’s books “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World” and "The Goat and in the Rug." Participants will receive each of these books and the related lessons (all at no charge) to use in their classrooms. Other FREE elementary level resources will be highlighted and shared.

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2:15 PM Sessions


Geography is Elementary! (K-5)
       Jenny Shorten & Sherri Collie,  Tennessee Geographic Alliance

This workshop is geared for elementary school teachers and focuses on the inter-relationship between geography and literature. Effective literacy instruction encourages students to become better readers and writers. There are many books about Tennessee, for example, that can help engage students in rich conversations in large groups, small groups, and in one-on-one settings. Children’s books are an excellent resource for social studies teachers. Geography and history can come alive for students by simply opening up a book.


The Turning Point of the American Revolution (K-5)
       Gordon Sisk, 
Retired Knox County Schools Teacher       
       Sheri McCarter, Northshore Elementary School

The Battle of King's Mountain is often overlooked in the study of American History. This battle was fought by a group of volunteer militia that led to the retreat and eventual surrender of the British at Yorktown. Included will be materials from the NPS and other sources to teach about this battle. I will also present items used during the annual reenactment of the march each September. This lesson is mostly taught to fourth graders, but is relevant in any study of the Revolution.


History in a Hurry: Quick Primary Source Activities for Grades 3-12
       Casey Swank & Kelly Wilkerson, Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Tennessee State Library and Archives’ Education Outreach team is excited to debut our new online Activity Bank! Created with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Bank includes short, primary source-based activities created by educators from across the state that cover the social studies standards relating to Tennessee and American history. During this session, attendees will learn about the Activity Bank and how to utilize it, as well as participate in an example of one of the new activities covering the Cold War.


The Vietnam War Song Project, Vietnam War Songs, and Student Engagement (6-12)
      James Akenson, Tennessee Tech University

This session will engage, involve attendees with information, teaching materials, and sample lesson plan participation with music from, and about, the Vietnam War. The presentation will deal with: 1) The Vietnam War Songs Project (VWSP) developed by Dr. Justin Brummer. The VWSP has identified some 6,000 songs dealing with the Vietnam War and is an excellent resource often included in tweets and retweets for the NCSS Network and state Social Studies councils. 2) Participants will be involved in a lesson based on Australian participation in the Vietnam War. John Williamson’s The Battle of Long Tan will be used to deal with a major Australian engagement in 1966 in Phuoc Tuy Province of South Vietnam. Factual and higher order thinking will be developed in the lesson demonstration. 3) Samples of additional Vietnam War Songs will be provided with group discussion as to issues, themes, and uses regarding teaching about the Vietnam War.


History, Here's a Who, Dr. Seuss Satire in the Classroom (9-12)
         Nicholas Knowles, Hunters Lane High School

Using the satire and writings of Dr. Seuss in the history classroom from WWI through the Cold War to teach engaging lessons that is suitable for all level learners.


Advancing Young Learners’ Civic Agency through the Creation of Digital Stories (3-12)
       Matt Hensley,  East Tennessee State University

Learn how to actively engage 21st century learners in dynamic discussions about social justice and cultural diversity in historical and contemporary contexts through the examination of student-created digital stories.


Rho Kappa: Honoring Social Studies Excellence & Promoting Service Learning (6-12)
       Dusty Helton & Angela Wells, Pigeon Forge High School

A Rho Kappa chapter at your high school, or a Jr. Rho Kappa chapter at your middle school or junior high school, provides national recognition for your outstanding students, and encourages an interest in, understanding of, and appreciation for the social studies. Join Mr. Dusty Helton and Mrs. Angela Wells as they share their combined eleven years of experience sponsoring Rho Kappa at their high schools. They will share why and how to establish a local chapter while highlighting what their students do along with what suggestions they have for your students to promote the social studies throughout your school campus.

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