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2018 Award Winners

Find the criteria for nominating a member (in 2019) for a NCSS award or grant.

Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year

Elisabetta Bavaro

Oceanside Union Free School District
Oceanside, New York

Empower Your Students to Take Action: Fostering Global Citizens and Solutionary Thinkers
This workshop will discuss how the 2018 NCSS Elementary Teacher of the Year converted her engaged learners into empowered learners. Student agency is at the heart of this classroom transformation. Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals, see how you can promote global citizenship and solutionary thinking in an effort to inspire students to change the world around them.

Presenter: Elisabetta Bavaro, Oceanside School #5, Oceanside, NY
Chair: Sarah B. Shear, Penn State - Altoona, PA


See more photos of award winners from the 2018 conference in Chicago.


Outstanding Middle Level Social Studies Teacher of the Year

Tracey Zaval

Midlothian Middle School
Midlothian, Virginia

Tonight In the Classroom— Incorporating The Tonight Show's Games Into Your Classroom
Are you looking for ways to bring fun and excitement into your classroom? Come learn how to incorporate games from The Tonight Show into your lessons to increase student engagement through creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. This session will feature games such as Box of Lies, Five Second Summaries, Wheel of Freestyle and Lip Sync Battle among others.

Presenter: Tracey Zaval, Midlothian Middle School, Midlothian, VA
Chair: Anthony Angelini, Conewago Valley School District, New Oxford, PA


Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year

Alicen Morley

Boone High School
Boone, Iowa

Using Deductive Reasoning to Uncover History
History is taught in chronological order. We start from the beginning and work our way to the end. But, that’s not how researchers discover history so why are we for inquiry in the opposite direction? Learn how to teach history backwards and spiral the curriculum forward to strengthen such historical thinking skills as causality and chronology.

Presenter: Alicen Morely, Boone High School, Boone, IA
Chair: Jesse Haight, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA


Jean Dresden Grambs Distinguished Career Research in Social Studies Award

Dr. Stephen J. Thornton

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Gatekeepers All
For more than 30 years Stephen Thornton has explored how social studies teachers tend the curricular-instructional gate—why, how, and to what effects. Professor Thornton explains how he first became intrigued by the notion of teacher-as-gatekeeper, how the field has profited from studying it, and why attention to it remains vital.

Presenter: Stephen J. Thornton, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Chair: Jeff Passe, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA


CUFA-FASSE Social Studies Social Justice Research Grant

Andrea Hawkman

Ryan T. Knowles

Anti-Racist Teacher Efficacy: Toward Justice-Oriented Teaching in Missouri
This project explores the influence of white fragility on the pedagogical choices that teachers make. Findings from a statewide survey of teachers in Missouri will be discussed.

Presenters: Ryan T. Knowles, Andrea Hawkman, Utah State University, Logan, UT; Antonio J. Castro, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Chair: Dr. Tina Heafner, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Charlotte, NC


Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award

Dr. Wayne Journell

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, NC

Grabbing the Third Rail: Teaching Politics in Secondary Education
Many teachers have become afraid to broach political issues in their classrooms. However, helping students become politically aware is an imperative of effective civic education. This presentation, which is based on the book Teaching Politics in Secondary Education: Engaging with Contentious Issues, will discuss reasons for incorporating politics into the curriculum, as well as offer research-based strategies for doing so.

Presenter: Wayne Journell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Chair: Sarah Mathews, Florida International University, Miami, FL

 The 2019 Exemplary Research Award was presented to Dr. Wayne Journell for his text Teaching Politics in Secondary Education: Engaging with Contentious Issues. In this text, the author argues that helping students become politically aware is an imperative of effective civic education. Dr. Journell’s book was written to discuss best practices and engaging methods for implementing conversations about politics and controversial issues in social studies classrooms. The author’s findings support previous research that confirms students often already have an idea of their teachers’ positions on social issues. He argues that there is no such thing as a neutral classroom, and suggests that social studies teachers have the unique opportunity to model the processes they use to examine multiple perspectives on issues to form reasoned decisions. Dr. Journell lays out criteria for distinguishing between a controversial issue, with the potential to facilitate public discourse in a classroom, and a topic that is “settled” within the general population, which should not serve as the basis of a discussion. Finally, this books offers practical suggestions for how teachers can implement contentious ideas in classrooms throughout all social studies disciplines. The review committee complimented Dr. Journell on this feat explaining, “The author takes the reader through multiple classrooms and school-settings with detailed explanations of the methods he used for each investigation.”—Sarah Mathews


Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award

Dr. Neil Shanks

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Economics is Political: Preservice Teachers, Purpose, and the Challenges of Critical Economics Pedagogy A case study of preservice teachers in an Urban Teaching program exploring the intersections between purpose and economics. Specifically, these teachers wanted to explore the past, present, and future with social studies and fundamentally alter traditional forms of social studies instruction. At times, economics aligned with these purposes, but the misalignments offer important lessons for utilizing economics in critical social studies pedagogy.

Presenter: Neil Shanks, University of Texas at Austin
Chair: Ritu Radhakrishnan, Oswego State University, Oswego, NY


Award for Global Understanding Given in Honor of James M. Becker

Gustovo Carrera

Shore Country Day School, Beverly, MA

Teaching Global Citizenship a Case Study: Civil Rights, Cold War, and the African Anti-Colonial Struggle Civil rights leaders understood their struggle as part of a larger struggle for liberation, and pro-independence leaders in Africa understood America and its foreign policy, at least in part, through the lens of segregation and the Civil Rights struggle; while America’s Soviet adversaries exploited those perceptions to their advantage, a community of Civil Rights and anti-colonial advocates bound by ideas and ideals emerged across the Atlantic.

Presenter: Gustovo Carrera, Shore Country Day School, Beverly, MA
Chair: Joseph David, J.I. Watson Elementary School, Iowa, LA

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