PDE Social Studies

Visit the PDE Social Studies Archive


April 2024 | Volume IV, Number 4



Hello Everyone!

April Observances

Passover (April 22 sundown - April 30, 2024): Beginning at sundown on April 23 and ending at nightfall on April 30, Passover is an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. Seder meals, storytelling, and specific dietary practices are central to this observance and rich in historical and spiritual significance.

The Jewish Educator Portal

The Lookstein Center

Laylat al-Qadr – (April 6): Laylat al-Qadr is the holiest night of the year for Muslims as it’s believed it’s the night that the Quran was sent down from Heaven. The last ten nights of Ramadan are dedicated to praying and scripture reading as they believe this night of decree took place in one of those ten nights.

Islamic Relief

Muslim Aid

Combating Media Bias – Allsides

Allsides.  Everyone is biased — and that's okay. There's no such thing as unbiased news. But hidden media bias misleads, manipulates, and divides us. So, everyone should learn how to spot media bias.

New Webinar Recording available from the American Historical Association

On March 14, The American Historical Association presented American Lesson Plan: Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education, an online webinar where we discussed the question “What are schoolchildren being taught about our nation's history?”

Among education reformers and activists, the question raises alarm, often grounded in broad assumptions about the possibility for politics to shape what happens in the classroom. About two years ago, The AHA decided to take the question more literally, and we launched our Mapping the Landscape of Secondary US History Education project. Since then, their project team has interviewed and surveyed social studies administrators and US history teachers and assessed state-level legislation and district-level curricula in states around the US. The AHA will release the full report later this year but shared some important findings in this webinar.

New PD from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve

The Great Depression

April 24, 2024

This one-evening professional development program introduces middle and high school educators to lessons for teaching about the Great Depression. The lessons will help teachers and students answer the following questions:

  • How can we measure the effects of the Great Depression?
  • How can we analyze the possible causes of the Great Depression?
  • How did the New Deal programs affect the U.S. economy?
  • Could something like the Great Depression happen again?

This program emphasizes active- and collaborative-learning teaching methods and the use of primary source materials. Participants will receive 2.50 hours of professional development credit, dinner, and access to the St. Louis Fed’s The Great Depression curriculum. Free parking will be provided. For more information and to register, visit The Great Depression.

Keys to Financial Success

Summer 2024

This professional development program acquaints high school educators with the Keys to Financial Success personal finance curriculum. Composed of 47 lessons designed to help educators teach high school students about personal finance using active and collaborative learning, Keys to Financial Success is a comprehensive plan for a semester or yearlong personal finance course. Keys to Financial Success teaches students the knowledge, skills, and processes required to make sound financial decisions and manage their own personal finances. The lessons engage students in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making. The program, taught by economic educators from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the University of Delaware Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, provides the essential professional development and complete classroom resources for teaching personal finance using the Keys model. Upon completion of all program sessions, participants will receive 40.00 hours of professional development credit and all curriculum resources. Breakfast, lunch, and parking will be provided at all in-person sessions. For more information and to register, visit Keys to Financial Success Teacher Training Summer 2024.

New PD from the Committee of Seventy

PA Youth Mock Election

C70 sponsors the PA Youth Mock Election, which gives students hands-on practice casting votes for real candidates who appear on their ballot. The Mock Election is available to all Pennsylvania high school and middle school teachers statewide, for free. C70 provides digital instructions for how classrooms can participate, plus access to C70's nonpartisan Interactive Voter Guide for students to research their choices. Middle and high school teachers can register their class and execute their election by April 16 (one week before the April 23rd primary election).

Democracy for Kids, K-8

The Democracy for Kids program is designed for elementary and middle school kids. Resources include reading lists and discussion questions from children's books tied to basic themes of civics. C70 also developed STAR Cards, which are decks of cards with prompts that are perfect for morning meetings. They are free to obtain and easy to use.

If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Justin Villere [email protected] to learn more.

Can We Talk?

Can We Talk? is C70’s effort to combat polarization and social isolation. It aims to equip students with the skills to have productive dialogue with other students from different backgrounds and life experiences on a range of issues. There are 12 different lesson plans, from 15-40 minutes in length. Before doing a lesson, it would be helpful to first introduce students to the ground rules for productive dialogue. C70 is running a statewide event on April 25th, where students can interact with others who come from different backgrounds or life experiences. They'll practice the skills they are developing here.

Contact Justin Villere [email protected] to learn more.

America250 Launches new Initiative

America250, the non-partisan initiative working to engage every American in commemorating and celebrating the 250th anniversary of our country, just launched America’s Field Trip – a nationwide scholastic contest that provides elementary, middle, and high school students the opportunity to submit artwork, videos, or essays illustrating what America means to them.

Here’s everything you need to know about America’s Field Trip:

  • 75 first-place recipients will receive unforgettable “field trip” experiences to some of the nation’s most iconic historical and cultural landmarks.
  • Second-place recipients will receive a $500 cash award.

The teacher associated with the top scoring student submissions in each grade level category will receive a $1,000 cash award.  Visit America250’s website to learn more about how students can submit their entries before 11:59pm ET on May 17.

From the OER Project:  Womens’ Achievements Throughout History

Women in Science: Breakthroughs
Use this lesson plan to explore women's achievements in science during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students will meet luminaries like physicist Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu and Henrietta Leavitt, and even get a little working knowledge of astrophysics that will help them put their breakthroughs into context. Illuminate them!

Women in Han China and Medieval Europe

The experiences of women have varied widely across time and geography, but how different was life for women between twelfth century Han China and western Europe during the medieval period? Read up on China and Europe, and then tackle this comparison activity with your class!

Looking for more resources? Check out the OER’s women in history page! If you've already used some of these resources, or have questions for your fellow teachers, drop by the dedicated Community thread to share your thoughts. It's a great place to get support and expand on these topics.

National History Day in PA is looking for judges

WHAT:  Judging student entries for the 2024 NHD in PA State Contest
WHEN:  Saturday, April 20, 2024
WHERE:  The University of Scranton, 800 Linden Street, Scranton PA

Do you love history?  Do you want to help Pennsylvania students excel?  If so, judging at the 2024 National History Day in Pennsylvania State Contest is just for you.

Hundreds of PA’s best and brightest students will gather at the University of Scranton on April 20-21 to compete for the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania at the National Contest outside Washington, D.C. in June.   These students have spent all year working on their projects, writing papers, creating exhibits, editing documentaries, building websites, and crafting their performances.  WE NEED YOU to help judge the projects and select the delegation to the national contest.  Volunteers willing to help with the contest are also welcome.

For more information or to register, visit JUDGE REGISTRATION  or contact Jeff Hawks at [email protected] or 223-269-3712.

Thank you for subscribing to the SAS Social Studies PLC and for all you do every day for the students in Pennsylvania!

Don McCrone
[email protected]

NOTE:  Sites identified here have been reviewed by the content advisor; however, educators are advised to preview for appropriateness for their respective classrooms.

Visit the PDE Social Studies Archive