And so it begins! I’m kinda pumped. Have my coffee, a blueberry scone and there’s free internet access throughout the conference.

It has been two years since I’ve been to NCSS but God bless ABC-CLIO for coughing up the loose change for the wi-fi. Other than small, techie kinds of conferences, I’ve not been to a national conference where internet was available in ALL areas. Nicely done NCSS!

I’ll be posting throughout the day, with updates as I go along so pleaze escuse any major speling; puncuation or formating errros. Thanks!notable08covsmall

First session today is the annual session on new and notable trade books. NCSS has always done a great job of working to link literature to social studies instruction, especially at the K-6 level.(You can access past notable books on their web site.) As a secondary person, language arts integration in elementary grades is one of my weakness, so looking forward to this. I need the help!

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Okay  . . . some nice ideas so far but they’ve sent up three areas in the same room for different grade levels. And no one can really hear the presenters – rather we can ALL of the presenters. Oh, well . . . hey, there’s free internet! (Hoping the CD coming at the end has the teaching suggestions included)

I choose to sit with the grades 5-6 people. And the first book, On the Wings of Eagles, is about the Home Front during WWII in a couple of different places from the perspective of a couple of kids. Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story focuses on a variety of topics including some great economic issues and a connection between the 1930s rudy-rides-railsand current economic situations / homeless.

Next came Monkey Town, a historical fiction chapter book for grades five and up about a young girl in Dayton, Tenn during the Scopes Trial. monkey-townSome great photos, political cartoons and primary source documents to use with this topic – maybe put kids in small groups to do some sort of jigsaw activity with specific research on the people, the place, the topic, etc. Nice connections to the present discussion on evolution. The presenter suggests that his kids really like to write additional chapters to the ends of books. Nice idea!

Next comes Good Masters, Sweet Ladies: Voices from the Medieval Village, the 2007 Newberry Award winner. The book is basically 23 monologues written to be performed by students as read aloud mini-plays. It looks very good. I like the idea of the first person the-brothers-warperspective that kids would get. The Brothers Civil War; Civil War in Verse is book that also gives kids a chance to get out of the typical expository textbook style of history by looking at the Civil War through poetry. An especially powerful poem about picking cotton was shared. We need to more of this. (I was reminded of Out of the Dust, another great historical book using poetry)

Vinnie and Abraham talks about the child sculpter who later creates, as an eighteen year old, a famous bust of Lincoln. Never heard this real life story before – vinnie_and_abrahaminteresting. Nice way to incorporate discussions about creativity and influential women into a variety of hsitorical periods. Vinnie became the first woman to win a federal commission – her full length sculpture of Lincoln is the one now standing in the US Capital. Bread and Roses Too talks about early unions and women workers.

Other than it was hard to hear at times, some nice ideas and resources.