Teaching the Environment in the Social Studies and Humanities (and Everywhere Else)

When we get close to the end of the year I like to leave my students with a bit of reflection for the future. In a matter-of-fact and “non-preachy” way, I tell them that the most crucial issue that their generation will inherit is the environment. In fact, despite what students hear from many political [...]

6 Tips on Teaching Social Studies in a Politically-Charged Era

I've been challenged by parents plenty of times in my career. However, one that often protrudes in my mind is a 12-page email I received 7 years ago. In teaching about the post-Civil War Reconstruction, I shared both the late Abraham Lincoln and Radical Republican plans for what the South would look like as the [...]

Teachers, National History Day Needs Your Help

This past week, the National History Day program announced that it lost one of its biggest benefactors. Though National History Day (NHD) doesn't announce the benefactor's name, it does reveal how much it's going to hurt the program -- a total net loss of $800,000, annually. If you don't know what the National History Day [...]

Yes, Failure IS An Option

We'd be hard pressed to find an innovation that has changed our modern living as much as the light bulb. When Thomas Edison and his employees experimented with methods to bring about an incandescent light, they finally arrived - almost by accident - on using a cardboard filament. After its success, he famously quipped "I [...]

Why Engaging Students with Politics is Worthwhile

One of my friends approached me last week while at church. Now an administrator, he was a teacher who taught at Dover High School at the height of the 'intelligent design' debate, where a school board wanted it taught instead of the theory of evolution. He taught biology, nonetheless. In initiating the conversation, he said, “I [...]