Three King School lower school educators brought their passion for social studies to Philadelphia for the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference (NCSS), which took place from December 1-3.
The NCSS is “the largest professional association in the country devoted to social studies education,” as it is stated on the council’s website. Its membership “represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute social studies.”
“This is an opportunity to meet, talk to, and share ideas and curriculum with others to see what works for them and what I can take from that to see how it can work for my students,” said Helen Santoro, who teaches Grade 5 and has attended the annual event in the past. “It's more than just listening to a presenter; we learn from other teachers and collaboration, which is the best type of learning. Just like we teach our kids, we learn from and with each other!” she added.
The conference has taken place annually for over a century. This year, the conference included the following themes:
- Inclusive Social Studies: Who Are We?
- Starting at Home: Social Studies is Local—Where Are We?
- Collaboration in Social Studies: Building Partnerships
- Social Studies: Transcending Borders & Seeking Connections
- The Future of Social Studies—What’s Next?
Also in attendance were Grade 3 teacher Samantha Clark and Emily Decker, who teaches Grade 2.
“I walked away feeling inspired by all the amazing educators who presented. I came away with ideas that I instantly implemented in order to benefit my students and make their experience richer and more engaging. I also came away with a long list of picture book titles to enrich my teaching,” said Decker.
“I am excited to implement more inquiry-based learning and visible learning practices in my classroom, as well as an increased commitment to Global Studies and project-based Learning. My overarching goal is to create the highest level of engagement for my students possible,” added Decker.
Santoro highlighted the importance of listening to new perspectives and keeping up with the most innovative methods of teaching, as “children learn differently than they did ten years ago, five years ago, and even two years ago.”
Before leaving for the conference, Decker had this message for her students: "Just like students, teachers are always learning!"