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Pre-Conference Clinics

Chicago offers an abundance of resources for the social studies classroom, and NCSS pre-conference clinics provide many options to take advantage of them through in-depth, hands-on sessions. Plan to arrive early to participate in one or more of these interesting and valuable clinics.

Thursday, November 29

Offsite Clinics

Take a Stand: From History Learning to Civic Engagement

8:00am to 3:00pm

Host: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, IL

Explore strategies and practical approaches to bring civic engagement and student activism to life in your grade 3-12 classroom. Begin by discovering Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center's innovative, state-of-the-art Take a Stand Center, which uses interactive holographic technology to allow visitors to engage with recorded Holocaust survivors, learn about individuals and groups working to secure and enhance human rights at home and around the world, and receive tips and tools to guide your students in taking meaningful action on issues that matter to them. This workshop will include age-appropriate breakout sessions and tours of the Take a Stand Center and Make a Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition. Fee: CANCELED

Presenters: Amanda Friedeman, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, IL; Kelly Szany, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, IL; Jessica Hulten, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, IL

NewsLit Camp

8:00am to 3:00pm

Announcing NewsLitCamp® at NCSS! Join the News Literacy Project (NLP), Chicago Public Media (WBEZ) and the National Council for the Social Studies for a unique, teacher-centered professional development experience. This is a hybridized approach to edcamp-style professional development, combining topical workshops with practicing journalists (developed with input from teacher attendees) in the morning and teacher-driven conversations, maker sessions and sharebacks in the afternoon.

Registration is free and open now.  Click here to register.


Are Custom Wedding Cakes Speech under the First Amendment?

9:00am to 12:00pm

Explore a unique collaboration between the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago and local law students to bring civics education to the public schools through the First Amendment.


Presenters: Dee Runaas, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, Chicago, IL; Steven Schwinn, John Marshall Law School, Chicago, IL

Religious Literacy Bus Tour of Chicagoland

9:00am to 3:00pm

Explore Chicagoland's rich religious culture and history by exploring notable houses of worship in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Examine the intersections of belief, behavior and community identity. Likely stops include: 

Quinn Chapel AME Methodist Church.  Located in Chicago's historic Bronzeville neighborhood Quinn AME is the oldest black church in Chicago.  Prior to the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, Quinn played an important part in the abolition movement in Chicago and served as a station for the Underground Railroad. In subsequent years, Quinn became hub for American activists looking to reach the city's black population.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and W.E.B. Dubois were are just some of the figures who have spoken at Quinn. St. Therese Catholic Church.  Opened in 1903, St. Therese Mission originally served a predominantly Italian population that is believed to have included at one point, Al Capone's mother. As neighborhood demographics transitioned, the Church became home to a predominantly Chinese population. Chinatown/Buddhist Friendship Association. A self-guided tour of Chinatown including a stop at the Buddhist Friendship Association, a storefront Buddhist shrine aligned most closely with Pure Land Buddhism.  Palatine Gurdwara or Wheaton Gurdwara (TBD).  Visit one of only three Sikh Gurdwaras in Chicagoland and experience langar, a traditional vegetarian meal served to all visitors. Fee: FREE. Vegetarian lunch (Langar) and snacks are included.

Presenters: Seth Brady, Naperville Central High School, Naperville, IL; Benjamin Marcus, Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute, Washington, DC; Mirin Phool, Kaur Foundation, Potomac, MD

Tasting Trade/Trading Tastes: Teaching Geography and Culture through Food

9:00am to 5:00pm

Join us as we cook and taste our way through the Middle East and beyond in this full-day, off-site clinic, exploring history, geography, culture, and even conflict by tracing how what we eat reflects who we are.  We will also look at how other aspects of culture—raw materials and luxury goods, techniques and technologies, design and disease—have moved and morphed across the world to create a global tapestry of traded commodities and memes you can trace in the classroom through experiential activities.

Whet your appetite for understanding how goods and ideas connect through trade and movement of people as we touch, taste, smell, and feel the commodities exchanged along this route, interspersing discussion with hands-on cooking and other activities.  As we make lunch (included), we'll learn the stories of the ingredients we're using, the spices we use as flavoring, and the impact of trade from east to west, and eventually across the Atlantic Ocean.

Presenters: Barbara Petzen, Middle East Outreach Council, Washington, DC; Chris Rose, Middle East Outreach Council, Austin, TX; Craig Cangemi, Qatar Foundation International, Washington, DC

Your Whole Classroom Is Watching: Teaching 1968

9:00am to 12:00pm

Host: Chicago History Museum

Explore the tumultuous events of 1968 through analysis of artifacts, photographs, oral histories and place. Drawing on the Chicago History Museum's resources, you'll discover strategies to critically assess 1968's lasting impact. Fee: $10 for members, $20 for nonmembers

Presenters: Heidi Moisan, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL; Megan Clark, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL

Chicago: The Exceptional City

9:30am to 3:30pm

Join Adams State University Professors Rich Loosbrock and Nick Saenz on a tour of Chicago as we explore the concept of American exceptionalism as it relates to the Second City. The tour will make several stops, including one for lunch (on your own). The trip will include places such as the 1893 Columbian Exposition site, Union Station, the University of Chicago, Hull House, Soldier Field, and Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox. This tour will use time on the bus to explain the concept of American exceptionalism as it emerged in 1893 with two key events: the Columbian Exposition and Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis. The tour will take in many sites around Chicago via bus and the running narrative will cover various aspects of Chicago history, but three themes will be emphasized: The 1893 Exposition and Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis; Chicago as Gateway to the West, and Chicago and American Sports.

Fee: $30 for members and nonmembers

Presenters: Rich Loosbrock, Adams State University, Alamosa, CO; Nick Saenz, Adams State University, Alamosa, CO

Civics in Action: Classroom Visit to Westinghouse College Prep

12:00pm to 3:00pm

This clinic focuses on integrating powerful civic learning into the curriculum.  To emphasize the power of experiential learning, it will be hosted at Westinghouse College Prep--a Chicago Public School that has the distinction of being an Illinois Democracy School.  Participants will identify challenges to integrating meaningful civic action projects that tie to existing curriculum and then visit two classrooms in action to observe examples.  One class is an AP Government class where the teacher will demonstrate ways to integrate youth voice and authentic project-based learning in that rigorous curriculum.  The other is an art class where students will demonstrate key civic skills and compentencies as they explore the power of art to make change.  Participants will then hear directly from students who will discuss their electoral engagement projects.  Finally, participants will reflect on the experience and apply their learning to their classroom contexts.

Fee: $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers

Presenters: Jill Bass, Mikva Challenge, Chicago, IL; Linda Becker, Westinghouse College Prep, Chicago, IL

American Empire: Philippines, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico in Primary Sources

1:00pm to 4:00pm

Host: The Newberry

Study original primary sources from the Newberry's collection to explore perspectives on, and experiences with, American imperialism. Clinic case studies will focus on Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Fee: $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers

Presenters: Charlotte Ross, The Newberry, Chicago, IL

Artwork as Primary Source: Fostering Historical Thinking and Student Inquiry

1:45pm to 5:00pm

Host: Art Institute of Chicago

Explore artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago related to themes of identity and membership in society. Learn strategies for fostering student inquiry and visual literacy. Access to museum is provided. Fee: $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Wayde Grinstead, Facing History and Ourselves, Chicago, IL; Jack Gruszczynski, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Kristin Enright, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Looking at Ourselves: Confronting Race and Racism

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Host: The Field Museum

Uncover the history of scholarship around race and its lasting impacts on society. Unpack ideas related to race and racism, and explore strategies for addressing these complex topics with students. Fee: $10 for members, $20 for nonmembers

Presenters: Heidi Rouleau, The Field Museum, Chicago; Heidi Moisan, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL; Megan Clark, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL

Full Day Clinics

Preparing NCSS/CAEP Program Reports-Clinic for Program Writers

9:00am to 3:00pm

This clinic will prepare participants to review teacher preparation programs in social studies or related disciplines and to update current reviewers in applying NCSS Standards for the CAEP Program Review Process.

Fee: $300 for members, $375 for nonmembers NCSS Conference Registration Required More Information

Presenters: Brandie Benton, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR

Birth of a Movement: Do You Know William Monroe Trotter?

10:00am to 4:00pm

Who is William Monroe Trotter, and why is he forgotten? His fight against D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking yet notoriously KKK-friendly Birth of Nation is a lesson for civil rights activists today.


Presenters: Michael Curry, NAACP National Board of Directors, Boston, MA; Judy Richardson, SNCC Digital Gateway, Silver Spring, MD; Colin Rose, Boston Public Schools, Boston, MA; Susan Gray, Northern Light Productions, Allston, MA; Dick Lehr, Boston University, Boston, MA

Inquiry, Argument Writing, and DBQ Online

10:00am to 4:00pm

To address the C3 Framework, instructional shifts emphasizing student engagement and writing instruction must prevail. The DBQ Method helps teachers implement rigorous reading and writing activities in technology-rich classrooms.

Fee: $30 for members, $45 for nonmembers

Presenters: Chip Brady, The DBQ Project, Evanston, IL; Phil Roden, The DBQ Project, Evanston, IL

Primarily Speaking: Primary Source Strategies to Support Literacy and STEAM

10:00am to 4:00pm

Discover the world of digital primary sources and the Library of Congress through the lens of Chicago, while learning and applying innovative literacy, technology, and media strategies for the classroom.

Fee:  FREE

Presenters: Keith Patterson, Teaching with Primary Sources Western Region, Denver, CO; Kile Clabaugh, Teaching with Primary Sources Western Region, Denver, CO; Peggy O'Neill Jones, Teaching with Primary Sources at MSU Denver, Denver, CO; Michelle Pearson, Adams 12 School District, Broomfield, CO; Laura Israelsen, Chesterfield School District, Chesterfield, VA; Rolan Schendel, MSU Denver, Denver, CO

Teaching and Assessing World History: Korea Today to Yesterday

10:00am to 4:00pm

Explore how to leverage current events in Korea to teach historical concepts and reasoning skills. Utilizing free, open source resources, participants will build instructional and assessment materials aligned to AP. Attendees will be treated to lunch as part of the clinic, compliments of the Korean War Legacy Foundation.


Presenters: Greg Ahlquist, Webster Central Schools, Webster, NY; Deborah Wing-Leonard, Clear Lake High School, Houston, TX; Ryan New, Boyle County High School, Danville, KY; Gabe Fain, Frisco Heritage High School, McKinney, TX; Samantha Fraser, Cherokee High School, Woodstock, GA; Barbara Coulter, Chillicothe High School, Chillicothe, OH; Patrick Whelan, Saint Stephen's Episcopal School, Bradenton, FL

Half Day Clinics

First People's Day: From Problem Based Learning Challenge to Law

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Learn how to develop an inquiry-laden, problem-based project around an important community issues. Middle school students and teachers share their framework for passing a new city law.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Matthew Russ, The Lippman School, Akron, OH; Sam Chestnut, The Lippman School, Akron, OH; John Bennett, The Lippman School, Akron, OH

Classroom-Ready Lessons on the Muslim World

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Explore the diversity of the Muslim world, including southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Africa. A group of teachers share their innovative lesson plans and teaching ideas.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Lisa Adeli, University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Tucson, AZ; Robert Hallock, Sammamish High School, Bellevue, WA; Seth Polley, Bisbee High School, Bisbee, AZ; Katy Smoot, Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park, NJ

Engaging Social Studies: Creative Assessment with Toys, Games, and Comics

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Learn how to help all students connect with social studies using toys, games, and comics. Literacy strategies, design thinking, and cross-curriculum connections all combine in this hands-on clinic.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Quinn Rollins, Granite School District, Salt Lake City, UT

Finding Truth: White Supremacy and Forced Removal of Native Children

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Explore new ways to teach about white supremacy, settler colonialism, forced removal of Native children, curricular representations of Indigenous peoples, and historical falsehoods using Dawnland and its digital teacher's guide.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Mishy Lesser, Upstander Project, Boston, MA; Sarah B. Shear, Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, Altoona, PA; Riel LaPlant, Rising Cedar Storytelling Project, Olympia, WA

Live It to Learn It: Understanding Elections Using Storypath

2:00pm to 5:00pm

How do we teach about elections in a manner that inspires students to embrace the democratic process and ultimately be lifelong engaged citizens? Learn about the Storypath approach--curriculum provided.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Margit McGuire, Seattle University, Seattle, WA; Bridget Walker, Mukilteo, WA

New Space, New Day: Blending ELA, Social Studies, Social Media

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Explore how social studies and ELA intersect with this generation. Learn how to open up students' imaginations, using sources from picture books to the Canon to tweets to Beyoncé.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Jocelyn Chadwick, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Arlington, MA; Carol Jago, UCLA, Chicago, IL

Teaching Content Literacy Skills, Developing Content, and Engaging Elementary Learners

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Learn content literacy, inquiry and effective questioning strategies, having social studies content as the focus, while fulfilling the Common Core's increasing depth, rigor and student engagement. Receive ready-to-use lessons.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Donna Knoell, Shawnee Mission, KS

Using Inquiry to Discover the Past and Present of Chicago

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Find treasure along the Magnificent Mile; discover the secrets of the Chicago River and enjoy sculptures near Lake Michigan. Join a hands-on exploration of Chicago using inquiry as your guide.

Fee: $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Paul Nagel, Cypress, TX; David Faerber, Lee Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, LA

Developing Social Studies Curriculum to Combat Misinformation

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Work collaboratively to explore the long history of misinformation and create interactive lessons to help students develop the skills they need to understand and combat misinformation.

Fee:  $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers

Presenters: Sarah Morris, Nucleus Learning Network, Austin, TX

Building Problem-Based Learning Units That Connect Classrooms and Community

2:00pm to 5:00pm Learn how to develop an inquiry-laden, problem-based project around an important community issue. Middle school students and teachers will share their framework for passing a new city law.

Presenters: Matthew Ross, Sam Chestnut, John Bennett, The Lippman School, Akron, OH