September 2019 Print

MCSS Conference Abstracts

Mimi Stephens

The Civil War and the Meaning of Liberty: A Choices Program

Join the Choices Program in an exploration of our newest unit, The Civil War and the Meaning of Liberty.  In this workshop teachers will be introduced to Choices' expanded U.S. History series and will take a deep dive into the Civil War unit and some of the 11 lessons in this unit.  The workshop provides opportunity for a rich discussion relating to classroom applications of the student text, the videos and the lessons, which include Abolitionists profiles, political cartoons, geography, congressional debates, food shortages, photographs, letters, battles, and more! A one-year digital editions license is provided to all who attend.


Nicole Willard

Four American Presidents and the Berlin Wall

This workshop will introduce participants to the Transatlantic Outreach Program’s (”TOP”) all-expenses-paid study tours to Germany. This workshop will also introduce instructional materials available through TOP such as the icebreaker and lesson strategy, “Four American Presidents and the Berlin Wall”. Participants will be provided with complimentary TOP resources as well as information on the TOP Study Tour application process.

Eric Lahti

 Exploring Maine’s Path to Statehood with Early Maine Maps

Antique maps provide a unique window into the past.  In this session, participants will see the evolution of Maine as an entity before and after statehood. Settlement patterns, boundary issues and economic development will be explored. Vintage maps from around the United States and around the world will supplement the presentation. One focus will be on the types of questions raised by a study of these maps as primary resources.


    Julie Shepherd                   Darcie Drew

Teaching Malaga Island

"Learn strategies to teach the history of Malaga Island to students in grades 6-12. A unit on Malaga Island could include: displacement, media literacy, eugenics, race, archaeology, and historical fiction. We will share primary and secondary source materials, teaching tools and concepts as well as giving suggestions for leading your students in the creation of their own artistic memorials to the people of Malaga."

Lee Anna Stirling, Ed.D

Strategies to Support Students' Social Studies Inquiry within Project-Based Learning

With presentation and hands-on, collaborative activity we will look at how students’ inquiry is featured in project-based learning and how their inquiry can be supported.  We will begin with a brief overview of project-based learning and how students engage in inquiry throughout their project. Participants will engage in Right Question Institute’s Question Formulation Technique, which supports students in generating and prioritizing questions. Additional strategies to support students in connecting to prior knowledge, asking good questions, finding answers, and keeping on track with their inquiry process will be outlined and/or provided as follow-up resources.



Susan Lahti                         Joanne Alex

Exploring Maine’s Geography through Children’s Literature and the Giant Traveling Map of Maine

This session will focus on how teachers can use Maine children’s books to learn about the geography of Maine.  Participants will listen to a short story and then analyze what they can learn about Maine’s physical and/or cultural geography. Then, they will form small groups and read several stories on their own. After, they will ‘walk’ the state of Maine looking for information about the state that they discovered through their stories.  They will also explore uses of the giant Maine map within their curricula.


Gretchen Berg                                          Laurie Downey

Bringing the Bicentennial Home: The Local Stories Project

Brick factories! Spring log runs! Four-masted schooners! Every Maine town has a unique history. This workshop will show how your students can learn about their town’s stories and then creatively share that knowledge. The Local Stories Project is an innovative integrated arts project for public elementary schools that combines local history research and community collaborations to develop both a permanent in-school mural and a lively theater performance.

Nate Otey

How We Argue

In this workshop, we introduce argument mapping: a simple, powerful tool for engaging the most controversial issues. We will teach you to expose the hidden structure of arguments to reveal unstated assumptions and faulty reasoning. Research from top universities shows that mapping significantly improves students’ writing and reasoning skills. Participants will leave this workshop with resources to make students' writing more rigorous and classroom discussions more constructive.


                         Kate Webber               Joanna Torow 

100 Years to the Vote: Women’s Suffrage Teaching Materials from the Maine State Museum

Join Maine State Museum educators to explore a new package of teacher materials on the women’s suffrage movement in Maine. Participants will try out selected activities from the lesson plans, which feature great Maine-based resources and connections to today. The three lessons cover suffrage maps, political cartoons, and an active recreation of a 1914 Portland debate. Learn how to bring these digital resources to your classroom!

Anthony Feldpausch & Dan Ryder

History By Design: Using Design Thinking

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a student centered, multi-disciplinary approach to historical problem solving known as "design thinking”. We will work through a design challenge together in a fun, collaborative process and give plenty of ideas of how you can bring this process back to your own classroom.

Renee Keul

Fun Ways to Teach Maps and Geography

In this workshop, participants will get their hands dirty (probably figuratively but possibly literally) with interactive hands-on activities that teach about maps and geography. Make a homemade compass to teach about cardinal directions, “bury treasure” to practice map reading, and test your geographic knowledge with a group map puzzle challenge.


Anastasia Cronin                     Erin Towns

National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry Process in Action!

Learn how National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry process can further your students’ understanding of the world and empower them to become advocates for change in their own communities. Geo-Inquiry involves an integrated, five-phase, project-based learning process that connects real-world challenges to the classroom. In this interactive session, educators will learn strategies to help students develop the critical thinking skills to ask geographic questions, collect and visualize information, and take informed action. The Geo-Inquiry Process is designed to inspire educators to teach students about the world in innovative, experiential and authentic ways. National Geographic offers guides, student workbooks, professional learning opportunities, and online courses for educators free of charge.

Shane Gower

Remembering the Fallen: Teaching the World Wars with Local Soldiers


This session will include a “Bell Ringer” activity to model how teachers can engage students. Teachers will learn how to use the stories of local soldiers to teach about the World Wars and teach primary source analysis using an inquiry approach. Teachers will learn about the Silent Heroes website sponsored by National History Day that they can post to and the Sacrifice for Freedom travel program for teachers and students also sponsored by NHD. Teachers will learn about resources available from National History Day, The World War One Centennial Commission and the Friends of the World War Two Memorial.

Anne Prescott, PhD

Ties That Bind: Mapping U.S.-East Asia Connections

This is an innovative collaborative digital mapping project which allows teachers and students to experience the people, places and events which connect the United States and China, Japan and Korea. Participants will learn about ties between Maine and East Asia, and then consider classroom implementation strategies, including the use of primary source documents.

Kate O'Quinn

Legacies of WWI

Even though WWI was 100 years ago, its legacies are still all around us. Civil rights, women's rights, technology, and a second world war to name a few. If you struggle with ways to teach WWI, come and hear about National History Day's Legacies of WWI program and leave with resources that you can use in class this year to help bring this important topic alive for your students.


Brandi LeRoy                              Erin Towns

National Geographic Certified Educator Training Phase I


National Geographic Educator Certification is a free professional development program that recognizes pre-K through 12 formal and informal educators committed to inspiring the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and changemakers. These educators are part of a powerful movement to make the world a better place by empowering students to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges in their communities and beyond. They’ll be introduced to National Geographic’s Learning Framework, which is a set of attitudes, skills, and knowledge areas that embody the attributes of an explorer—one who seeks solutions to our world’s most pressing problems.

This session counts as Phase 1 of the National Geographic Educator Certification course, which educators can continue for free online. As they go on to complete Phases 2 and 3, they will have the opportunity to try out new lessons and activities that challenge students to solve real-world problems and create a video to tell the story of their impact and growth. National Geographic Certified Educators also receive special access to: National Geographic Education resources, an online community of like-minded peers, leadership opportunities, and eligibility to apply to prestigious programs like the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship.  

Joe Schmidt

Knowing They Know What They Know: Student Assessment

In this session participants will look at the different aspects of how learning occurs in a social studies classroom and different ways that students can be assessed on their learning. Relevant research related to assessment will be included and variety of assessment strategies will be shared with implementation ideas discussed. Participants will leave with classroom ready resources and assessments.

Valerie Young

Preparing for NHD in the Elementary School


Have you been trying to figure out how to better support your students as they compete in the National History Day competition in the upper grades?  As a 6th grade teacher, this became a passion of mine four years ago. Come see the process we walk our students through in our mini NHD project creation with a focus on Maine.

Michelle Anderson

Educating Maine’s Future Workforce

Education has been evolving over the past several years to provide students with more finance and work readiness education as they plan for a future career path. We will present on how Junior Achievement is partnering with school districts in Maine to create a pathway approach to workforce readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurial skills. JA’s innovate and turnkey programs allow school districts to best adopt the programming and delivery methods that work best for their needs.

Bobbie Thibodeau & Michelle Strattard

Teaching Global Perspectives in Maine

We live in a rapidly changing, global society that is increasingly connected through technology…but we also live in rural and semi-rural communities in Maine. Aligned with the 2019 MSSC theme, in this session we will look to Maine’s past, present and future for strategies, opportunities and resources to meet the challenge of teaching global perspectives in Maine classrooms.



Adam Schmitt

In this workshop, participants will learn about elements of the C3 Inquiry Approach and look at ways to integrate social studies content with other elementary disciplines through the creation of integrated inquiry projects. The goal of this workshop is to help teachers create space for social studies content in the elementary curriculum.


Jessica Graham
Incorporating National History Day into Curriculum
National History Day is a nation-wide (and world-wide) academic contest that encourages students to conduct in-depth, long-term historical research, create dynamic presentations in a variety of media, and share their learning with authentic audiences. Our session will provide an overview of the type of projects students create for National History Day and examples of how the program has been incorporated into the existing standards and requirements of a ninth grade civics course and ideas for incorporation and pacing in your own classroom.

Nicole Burgess

Take A Stand:  Engaging Students in Real World Change & Reform

Educators will have the opportunity to learn about interesting ways to get students engaged with the world around them, by creating their own change and reform in areas that they find to be of importance. Educators will be given an explanation as well as participate in a demonstration of how these hands on, interactive projects achieve not only the standards of the discipline we are teaching but allow students to have their voices heard. 

Kristen Leffler

Getting The Scoop: Community Inquiry Through Student Journalism

Join documentarian turned Social Studies educator Kristin Leffler in discussion about how to best integrate journalistic inquiry and reporting in classrooms. Participants will engage in the beginning stages of the inquiry-to-documentary process, try their hand in interviewing techniques, and brainstorm ways to fit this authentic, hands-on social studies work into existing school structures and curriculum. 

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