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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminars

A friendly reminder that applications close on February 29 for the Gilder Lehrman Institute's 2016 Teacher Seminars. Click here to view the full list of 30 week-long seminars with eminent historians scheduled for this summer. 

Each seminar explores a key topic in American history and is open to all K-12 educators, including librarians, Principals and Heads of School. Teacher Seminars feature:

  • Room, board, and tuition
    • Fully paid for public school teachers; matching funds for independent school teachers
  • Top-quality professional development
  • Major topics in American history
  • Access to prestigious universities and historic sites in the United States and abroad

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

UCSS Journal

Have you ever wanted to get published?  Now is your chance.  We are starting up the UCSS Journal: The Armillary again and we would love to have submissions from our wonderful members.  Do you have a great lesson plan or idea that you want to share?  Please submit it.  We are looking for scholarly articles on any history topic, engaging ideas for teaching, or book reviews on historical books.  We will need submissions for our next issue by February 16, 2016.  Please consider submitting your great ideas and add something to your resume!

We will send the journal out to all current UCSS members in March 2016.

Here is where you can go to submit your work

Civics Opportunity for Junior and Senior High Schools

The YMCA invites you to bring Youth and Government to your school this spring. In Youth and Government, students work together to research and write state bills. In April, students are invited to participate in a Mock State Legislature at the Utah State Capitol. All students grades 7th through 12th grade are invited to participate. The Mock Legislature will be split between Jr. High and High School Students. Bill proposals and registrations are due March 15th.

 For more information visit or contact Jamie Nelson, Youth and Government Director 801-839-3409

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fun way to teach about types of government

'     A few years ago while I was browsing ideas on pintrest, I saw a picture of gummy bears representing different verbs of government:

     I thought it would be a fun way to teach the various types of government to my geography students.  I gave my students a list of words that they would need to use, a bag of gummy bears, and I asked them to create a meme to represent the meaning of each type of government.  Students were engaged and I heard fantastic discussions among the groups on what they could do with the gummy bears to create their meme.  Here are some student examples.

There are free apps that students can use to create a meme.  I had my students use their own devices and since they were working in small groups, I made sure to have the students who did not have their own device work in a group with someone who did.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Western States Regional Award

Today at the NCSS Conference in New Orleans our own Quinn Rollins received an award representing Utah. We are proud of his work to promote social studies not only in Utah but around the nation! He is a great example and we appreciate all of his hard work for UCSS. Congratulations Quinn!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

UCSS / UGA Fall Social Studies Conference Saturday Nov 7

Utah Council for the Social Studies and the Utah Geographic Alliance Fall Conference

  • Saturday, November 7 2015
  • Butler Middle School 7530 S, 2700 East, Cottonwood Heights
  • 8:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m.
  • Includes continental breakfast and lunch
  • $25 includes annual dues to both organizations plus conference registration
  • $10 for pre-service teachers

Register at this link (pay online)

Special Guests and topics include:

  • Ken Verdoia, KUED - "Joe Hill: The Utah Legacy"
  • Chris Crowe and Jeff Nokes, BYU - "1969"
  • Paul Reeve, U of U: "Utah and the Cold War"
  • Matt Mason, BYU: "Heritage or Hate? The Causes of the Civil War and the Meaning of the Confederate Flag"
  • LaRae Larkin, WSU: "Putin and the Current State of Affairs in Ukraine"
  • George Henry, U of U: "Why the new AP US History Curriculum is Good for Kids"
  • Peter Von Sivers, U of U: "Isis: Its Origins and Contemporary Actions"
  • Jeff Nokes, BYU: "Teaching With Primary Sources in Upper Elementary Grades"
  • Chris Hall, Davis District: "The (Ugly) Tourist (?): The Potential and Pitfalls of Tourism and Economic Development"
  • Quinn Rollins, Granite District: "The Best New Books to Teach Social Studies"
  • Peter Van Orden: "From the Silk Road to the Mormon Trail: The Travels of Sir Richard Francis Burton"
  • Doug Anderson: "Korea and Your Classroom"
  • Merinda Davis: "Explore! The Art of Maps"
  • Rachel Bird: "Art History in the Elementary Schools? Absolutely!"
  • Pat Lambrose: "Engage, Inform, and Inspire Students and Teachers with ESRI Story Maps"
  • Lynette Peck, Salt Lake District: "Fourth Grade Core with Bears and More" (Junior Ranger Program)
  • ALSO

  • Elementary sessions on using content with great pedagogy
  • Elementary and secondary panels for pre-service teachers: "What I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Teaching!" 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review: Hidden History of Utah

There's a misconception outside of Utah, and okay, even inside Utah, that all of Utah's history is about the Mormons.  Mormon pioneers coming to the Beehive State in 1847, setting up their polygamist kingdom, and then fighting against the U.S. government for fifty years to become a state.  It wasn't until the Mormons agreed to give up polygamy in 1890 that the United States allowed them to move from being a territory to a state, which finally happened in 1896. For many people, that is the history of Utah.  But it's much more than that.

Eileen Hallet Stone is a reporter and columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune.  One of her ongoing columns has been Living History, revived after being dormant for some time.  As a Utah History teacher, I've enjoyed the articles in the paper when I've caught them--but there have been many I've missed.  Thankfully, 58 of those short stories have now been collected in Hidden History of Utah, a 2013 book published by The History Press.  The 200 page book is an interesting series of snapshots into the "other history" of Utah, and it's a great resource for Utah residents or simply history buffs who want to know more about the Western United States.

Most of the stories cover the century from 1850 to 1950, and are each only two to three pages long.  It's a great one to read in short batches, when you've only got a few minutes to get your history on.  The articles are grouped into categories: 

Early Towns, Different Stories

Western Entrepreneur's True Grit

Matters of Inequity

Rails, Wires, Wheels and Roads, 

Uniquely Utah

Suffragists in the West

Working the Mines get the idea.  There are stories from World War II, from the Great Depression, about Prostitution and Prohibition.  Many of her stories are meant to bust the myths that Utah has always been dry (it hasn't, and still isn't), or that we're all a bunch of white bread Mormons (okay, I am, but there's more diversity here than people realize).  The stories are entertaining, succinct, and well-written.  The one caution is that Stone seems to be so interested in telling the "other stories" of Utah's History that she doesn't include the traditional Mormon stories at all.  Filling in gaps is good, but if a reader picked this up expecting to cover all of Utah's History, there would be some series chunks missing.  

with that caveat in mind, if you're interested in Utah History, this is a good place to start.  There are other contributors to the Living History column, including longtime Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley--I'd love to see more collections in this series.  Past publications by the Salt Lake Tribune have included It Happened in Utah by Gayen and Tom Wharton, and In Another Time, by the late Harold Schindler.  All are worth tracking down, for the same reasons that Hidden History of Utah is.