All Events, Conferences & Workshops

As a service to members of the Massachusetts Council and the wider social studies community, third party events may be posted in this calendar. Third party events are not endorsed by the MCSS board.

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46th Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies @ Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conf. Ctr.
Apr 4 @ 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
46th Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies @ Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conf. Ctr.
Apr 5 @ 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
46th Northeast Regional Conference on the Social Studies @ Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conf. Ctr.
Apr 6 @ 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Aug 1 @ 8:00 am – Aug 6 @ 4:30 am
AUGUST 1, 2016 – AUGUST 6, 2016
The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies and the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education are currently planning an intensive six-day content institute this summer at Suffolk University in downtown Boston (August 1 through August 6). 
The central focus of the content institute is “The First Amendment: Principles and Practice” and is open to primarily K-12 social studies teachers, pre-service teachers, and undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in history, government, law, and political science. The content institute is honored to present outstanding keynote speakers including Mary Beth Tinker & John Tinker (Tinker v. Des Moines); Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey (Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier); Dr. David Hudson, Jr. of the Nashville School of Law and Professor Bob Allison of Suffolk University. 
The six days include a walking tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail, visit to the Museum of African American History and the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill, and explore the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Museum and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the U.S. Senate. 

We are currently working with Framingham State University and Suffolk University to offer graduate credits for the successful completion of the six-day content institute. Workshops include sessions for teachers on incorporating the content learned from the seminars to design and develop meaningful instruction that can be implemented into the classroom.

Registration costs: $200 for MCSS members, $225 for NCSS members, $100 MACCE cohort 1, $325 non-MCSS members, $450 school members (send 3 teachers), $550 school non-members (send 3 teachers), $100 undergrad and graduate students, retired and pre-service teachers. 
For more information, please feel free to contact either Dr. Gorman Lee at or Roger Desrosiers at
Painless: A Survival Guide to the Dreaded History Project @ Massachusetts Historical Society
Oct 22 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Are you a teacher who is tired of assigning the same old history paper year after year? By applying National History Day methodologies in the classroom, you can transform the “dreaded” history project into an imaginative, engaging, and meaningful history experience. Using the broad theme of “Taking a Stand” as a springboard, you’ll explore how to approach primary source research in special libraries and archives through a range of historical documents, including letters, diaries, songs, petitions, and government records.

This workshop is open to teachers and students in grades 6-12. Teachers can earn 10 Professional Development Points.

Registration fee: $10 (free for students)
Hours: 9:00-3:30
To register: or 617-646-0570.

Fall Statewide Conference: Celebrating the Social Studies @ Holiday Inn & Suites-Marlborough
Oct 26 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies present

2016 Statewide One-Day Fall Conference: Celebrating the Social Studies


Holiday Inn & Suites – Marlborough
265 Lakeside Avenue, Marlborough, Massachusetts

Plimoth Plantation (full day program)
Plymouth, Massachusetts


June Coutu,

Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (Mass Council) hosted its annual one-day statewide fall conference on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at the Holiday Inn & Suites-Marlborough, located at 265 Lakeside Avenue in Marlborough, Massachusetts. There was also a full-day program at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. See registration form (individual and team) for updated registration fees.

This year’s theme is Celebrating the Social Studies. The social studies is a large academic field that explores who we are as people—as social beings—not only in our own local community but in the global society. The field also focuses on how civilizations have thrived on this planet for tens of thousands of years and continue to exist today. Studying the social studies allows all of us to learn what it means and what it takes to be a global citizen; to be a contributing member of society and the human race. The social studies include but is not limited to the study of history, geography, economics, sociology, psychology, civics and government, political science and international relations, and anthropology; all of which collectively brings greater and richer contexts to understanding classical and contemporary literature, the arts, music, science, and human relationships. Without the social studies, there is no history; and without history, there is no future. There is much to celebrate the social studies because it is about society, it is about us, and it is about life today and tomorrow.



Chris Hakala is a Professor of Psychology at Quinnipiac University. Professor Hakala has always been interested in how people learn and remember things they either hear or read. He studies these issues from the perspective of a cognitive psychologist. As the Director of Teaching and Learning, he measures the effectiveness of various classroom teaching techniques, technology in the classroom and the impact of high school psychology on college level learning. The Massachusetts Teachers of Psychology are happy to welcome Professor Hakala for a fun and informative evening.


Born in Krakow, Poland, in 1929, RENA FINDER and her family were forced by Nazi troops to move into the ghetto. Her father was taken away by the Gestapo and never to be seen again. She and her mother later worked in the factories owned by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler; she later traveled to work in Schindler’s new plant in Czechoslovakia, where she and other Jews were liberated in 1945. Finder then married and in 1948 she and her husband moved to the United States. Finder now speaks about her life experiences and insights about the Holocaust regularly to students and teachers through Facing History and Ourselves.

Requires attendance and participation at the Fall Conference in Marlborough (October 26, 2016) and Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies (NERC) at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate in Dorchester/Boston (April 3-4, 2017). Assignments include final paper and annotated lesson unit/plans. Register for the course at the fall conference. MORE DETAILS COMING SOON!



Below are the scheduled workshops for the conference:
Report and Discussion of ESE Civics and History-Social Studies Initiative
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE)
All subjects and levels
In the last year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has launched a number of initiatives to foster student learning in history-social studies. These initiatives range from establishing a task force to examine how to support effective practices and greater involvement of students in civic learning to the revision of the MA History and Social Science Curriculum Framework. This workshop will provide participants with an update on current initiatives and a forum for discussion with members of the Civic Learning and Engagement Task Force, a group of practitioners, scholars and Department staff members who are gathering feedback from the field that will inform these initiatives. 

King Philip’s War and Cultural Conflicts in New England
Mass Historical Society and Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library
Grades 6-12
Investigate multiple perspectives with maps, artifacts, and documents related to native-colonist relations in 1600s New England. Key figures include: Metacom (a.k.a. King Philip), Josiah Winslow (Governor of Plymouth Colony), and Mary Rowlandson (English colonist captured by Native Americans during the war). Teachers will work in small groups to analyze primary sources, such as John Seller’s 1675 map of New England, and brainstorm an inquiry-based activity related to the war and 17th century native-colonist relations.

Center for Civic Education: We the People
Roger Desrosiers, Massachusetts Center for Civic Education
Grades 5-12
The We The People program is designed to promote civic competence and responsibility among elementary and secondary students. The program enhances students’ understanding of the institutions and principles of American constitutional democracy. The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” before a panel of judges. This provides students with an interactive way to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and to evaluate, take, and defend positions of relevant historical and contemporary issues.  This program has been recognized as a great tool to increase literacy, research, writing and oral skills for students of all ages.

Center for Civic Education: Project Citizen
Ellen Barber-Morse, Massachusetts Center for Civic Education
Grades K-12
Civic participation is a corner stone of our government. And it is civic particpation that has moved our country forward in its struggle for justice and civil rights. The workshop stresses the connection between good citizenship and civic participation.  This presentation introduces The People: Project Citizen instructional program. Rational, goals and outcomes will be discussed. This workshop will include two lesson demonstrations that clearly show the strengths of the program. A completed project will be available to view.

Teaching the Importance of Voting
Kathy Babini, Plymouth Public Schools
Grades 6-12
Resources, activities and ideas will be shared in this workshop for teaching about the importance of voting, roles of the president and voting history.  Participants will leave with websites, lessons and lots of ideas for getting students to learn about the importance of being an engaged and informed voter.

John Adams Courthouse: Justice on Freedom Trail
Richard Desorgher, John Adams Courthouse
Grades 6-8
The John Adams Courthouse comes alive at this workshop; participants will become aware of what the John Adams Courthouse has to offer on an educational basis for their students, for classroom resources and for field trip possibilities. The John Adams Courthouse will be celebrating the social studies through exhibit displays, courtroom visits, visits with justices and tours of one of Boston’s most elegant and historic19th century buildings. The themes of civics, political science, law, justice, history and politics will ring throughout the workshop.

Geography in Today’s Classroom
Massachusetts Geographic Alliance
Grades K-8
This session will share ideas, resources and instructional strategies for engaging students in geography lessons.  interdisciplinary lessons, project-based learning and collaborative activities will presented.

State of Geography Today
Massachusetts Geographic Alliance, Bridgewater State University
All levels
Co-Directrors of the Massachuetts Geographic Alliance will share information regarding state and national initiatives focused on geographic education. Important session as we prepare tomorrow’s global citizens.

Creating a Family Geography Night
Rob Poirier, Massachusetts Geographic Alliance
Grades PK-8
This workshop will give presenters information for hosting a Geography Night at their school. This event has become a highlight for students, staff and the community in North Andover. The event grows each year. Presenter will take participants step-by-step through the planning to host their own event.

Massachusetts Floor Map
National Geographic Society; Massachusetts Geographic Alliance
Grades 3-8

National Geographic Society recently developed large floor maps for every state. In this session, the teachers who created the lessons will present activities and ideas for using this traveling map in your school. Find out how to have the Massachusetts visit your school.

Teaching Psychology of Addiction

Heidi DiRoberto- Council Psychologist at Spectrum Health Systems
Casey Cullen- AP Psychology teacher – Westborough High School
Grades 9-12
In this session teachers will learn about various methods to explore the psychology behind addiction with their students.  Drug addiction is not a new problem in our state but due to a few key factors, the study of addiction is front and center in the world of public policy.  Giving students a firm understanding of the biological underpinnings of addiction and the realities of recovery programs in our state will equip them to deal with the crisis in an intelligent and meaningful way.  Please join us for this critical talk in the field of mental health.

Demonstrating and Consolidating in the Teaching of Psychology

Michael Sullivan, Hopkinton High School
Grades 9-12
The teaching of psychology lends itself to discussion and demonstration – but how do we know what the students got out of those conversations and activities? In this session, we will look at some (hopefully engaging!) teaching ideas, and at systematic ways to pull the learning together after the fact. With luck, you will leave with a teaching idea or two that you didn’t have before, and some ideas about consolidating what you want the kids to know.

Using Sports in the History Classroom
Brian Sheehy, North Andover High School
Grades 9-12
This presentation is designed to introduce educators to how they can incorporate and include sports related topics and themes into their traditional history classroom.  Sport can be a unique and different way of engaging students in learning.  This presentation will also include a sample lesson that looks at the treatment of African Americans in baseball in the second half of the 19th century mirrored the treatment they faced in the US.

Building Understanding
June Gustafson, Hingham Middle School
Grades PK-8
This workshop presents a holistic approach by blending the units of study together and using buildings from around the world to approach the mini units as a bigger and interwoven set of ideas. The idea is to give each small group of students a different iconic building from different parts in the world. Student then research the geography, culture and economy of each location from the time the building was built. Community building activity will be shared that becomes a visual reminder for students about the importance of kindness and patience towards one another.


Connecting Children to Justice
Jan Shafer & Ann Gogol, Discovering Justice
Grades PK-8
We present an overview of  Discovering Justice’s kindergarten through middle school literacy-based civics curriculum, which uses children’s literature, informational texts, historical documents, and the students’ own experiences to teach civic values, skills, and dispositions. Through audience participation and a slide presentation, we show how our curriculum teaches students to take responsibility for themselves and  others, how to make a difference in their communities, how to work for justice, and the value of participation in civic life.

Primary Sources for all: Library of Congress
Josue Sakata, Boston Public Schools; Richard Cairn, Collaborative for Educational Services
Grades PK-12
Photos, drawings, maps, film, recorded music, sheet music, advertisements, broadsides from the Library of Congress can help make Social Studies accessible to ALL students.

Power of Stories
Jonathan Bassett, Newton North High School; Gary Shiffman, Brookline High School
Grades 9-12
Jon Bassett and Gary Shiffman are the creators of the “Four Question Method,” a simple way to help history teachers and students focus on the content and skills that really matter. In this workshop teachers will learn specific techniques for building units and lessons clearly around compelling narratives, and for coaching their students to use storytelling skills to demonstrate understanding of the history they learn. You’ll walk out with useful tools for planning, teaching, and assessing.

WWII/Vietnam: The Home Front
Harriet Kulig, Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Grades 9-12
The Springfield Armory National Historic Site offers a vast collection of primary resources on WWII through Vietnam. By exploring the effects of these wars on the Armory as a community, participants will examine the social change that occurred as women and African Americans joined the workforce to produce weapons. Finally participants will examine the effects of the wars on Veterans through the use of oral history. Teachers will receive free primary resources and learning strategies from the Springfield Armory National Historic Site collection examining WWII and Vietnam eras through classroom and fieldtrip activities.

A New Look at Thanksgiving
FULL DAY PROGRAM AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION ($80.00 indiviudal/$120.00 team of 2)
Vickie Oman and staff, Plimoth Plantation
Grades PK-12
This full day session will be held at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth from 9 AM – 3 PM.  For the first part of the day, teachers will participate in sessions on primary sources, Wampanoag culture, artifacts and the Story of Thanksgiving.  Teachers will have an opportunity to discuss representing native cultures in the classroom, then spend the afternoon visiting the Wampanoag Homesite and the 17th Century Village looking through a new lens.  Lunch may be purchased at the Patuxet Café at the Plantation, or bring a lunch.  The workshop is appropriate for elementary teachers. 
Teachers should report directly to Pilmoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA no later than 8:45 a.m. Program begins promptly at 9:00 a.m.
It is with regret that the workshops, Historical Perspectives of Arab-Israeli Conflict and Peace and Understanding Judaism, by Jacqueline Regev, have been cancelled.

We thank our sponsors this year

(Please see their products and services at the conference site in Marlborough)





Election Propaganda from Adams to Roosevelt @ Massachusetts Historical Society
Nov 5 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Explore presidential campaign propaganda from our nation’s first election to twentieth-century battles for the White House. Participants will examine documents and artifacts and discuss different strategies used to appeal to voters during specific campaigns. Using documents from three different centuries, we can investigate the issues that have resonated with Americans over time, and discuss how and why some of these subjects continue to serve as topics of debate in the 2016 election cycle.

This program is open to all educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs and one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Registration fee: $25 (free for students)
Hours: 9:00-3:30
To register: or 617-646-0570.

National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference @ Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Nov 30 – Dec 4 all-day

Sharpen your skills, gain new techniques, and further your professional goals at the 2016 NCSS Annual Conference.

  • Learn best practices and the latest research from experts and colleagues in social studies education
  • Receive classroom-ready lessons
  • Interact with nationally-known speakers and educators
  • Share teaching strategies and solutions with peers
  • Expand your professional network
  • Discover the latest teaching resources, products and services in the exhibit hall


Featured Speakers

Pre-Conference Clinics

Washington, DC 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.


The Washington area is rich in history and culture, and there is no better way to appreciate that than on a custom tour. In addition to Washington’s famous landmarks, NCSS tours cover sites from Gettysburg, PA to Fredericksburg, VA, and a variety of subjects. Take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to explore the abundant resources and history of the mid-Atlantic region.

Special Events

Network with colleagues, visit famous Washington sites, and enhance your conference experience by attending these exciting special events, open to all NCSS conference attendees.

AP Workshops

College Board AP Workshops focus on providing both new and experienced AP teachers with in-depth explorations of specific AP course topics and offer instructional activities designed to increase student engagement with AP courses.

Community Scholar Speakers

NCSS Communities have invited prominent scholars to speak on issues related to their missions. Attend sessions of interest to learn about the discussion topics and NCSS Communities.


More than 800 presentations by the leading social studies researchers and practitioners with classroom-ready resources on the latest social studies issues and teaching methods

Center for Civic Education: Project Citizen Teachers Workshop @ John Adams Courthouse
Dec 9 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Center for Civic Education: Project Citizen Teachers Workshop

Only 15 participants can be accommodated
*PDPs are available*

What is Project Citizen?
Project Citizen is a civic education program that promotes competent and responsible participants in state and local government.  It actively engages students in learning how to monitor and influence public policy and encourages civic participation among students, their parents, and members of the community.

As a class project, students work together to identify and study a public policy issue, eventually developing an action plan to persuade authorities to adopt their policy. The final product is a portfolio displaying each group’s work. Students fully engage because project is student driven and authentic.

In a culminating activity, the class presents its portfolio in a simulated legislative hearing, demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of how public policy is formulated.  Classes also present their portfolios in the state showcase with other schools.

An outstanding cross curriculum project stressing researching, summarizing, public speaking, persuasive writing and arguing. Also the project also develops 21st century skills.

Project Citizen includes a process oriented instructional guide (2 levels available including Spanish). The teacher’s guide includes directions for leading the class through the five step process and developing a portfolio.  It also contains instructions and evaluation procedures for conducting a simulated legislative hearing. May be used in elementary classroom, middle school team or senior project..

About the Workshop
This active workshop is intended for grade 5-12 teachers.
·     Elementary ELA and SS
·     ESL – All grades
·     Middle School Teams
·     High School
·     Special Education

It features lesson demonstrations and a chance for participants to experience the program as their students would. It also includes advice and handouts on how to implement the program in classrooms and youth groups.

Participants will receive
·     Workshop materials include lessons and handouts for each step of the process
·     CD of resources
·     One level of Project Citizen sample text
·     Opportunity to participate in State Showcase, June 3, 2017
·     Correlations with the Massachusetts frameworks in history/social science, and language arts
·     Uses 21st Century skills
·     On going support from state coordinator

Project Citizen Outcomes
·     Skills and knowledge to be an effective citizen
·     Students value project’s authentic work
·     Practical experience that empowers students and fosters a sense of competence
·     Develops an understanding of the importance of citizen participation
·     The internalization of democratic values and principles through practice
·     Students accept responsibilities for their own learning and become independent learners
·     Students learn to make their own decisions
·     Students learn to budget their time and develop task commitment
·     Students learn problem solving skills,
·     Reinforce…extend…and transfer academic skills
·     They learn to work as a team

Lunch Included
Workshop Fee $30.00

To register, or for more information, please contact:
Massachusetts Coordinator
Ellen Barber-Morse: 617-686-5609   or

Summer 2017 Content Institute — Article III of the U.S. Constitution-The Federal Judiciary: Principles & Practice @ John Adams Courthouse & Suffolk University
Jul 31 @ 8:00 am – Aug 4 @ 4:00 pm

Download and print application [PDF]
Register online NOW (mail/send payment later)
Application extended deadline: June 30, 2017

The Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS) will present its second annual summer content institute for K-12 social studies teachers from July 31, 2017 to August 4, 2017. The central focus of the summer content institute is on Article III of the U.S. Constitution—the federal Judiciary. Constitution scholar Linda R. Monk (2003) describes Article III of the U.S. Constitution as “the shortest, and least specific, of the constitutional provisions establishing the three branches of government” (p. 90).

The intensive five-day content institute will be held at the John Adams Courthouse, Massachusetts Historical Society, Suffolk University, and African Meeting House from July 31, 2017 to August 4, 2017. The focus is on Article III of the U.S. Constitution, focusing on a range of landmark Supreme Court cases, biographies of notable Supreme Court justices, its relationships with the Executive and Legislative branches of federal and state governments, and principles of judicial philosophy, restraint, and activism, and the rule of law with respects to the Bill of Rights.

Guest speakers include Professor Mary S. Bilder of Boston College, author of Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Constitution (Harvard University Press, 2015), David L. Hudson of Nashville School of Law, Honorable Robert Cordy (retired) of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Charlie Newhall of St. John Prep, Professor Robert Allison of Suffolk University, Barbara Berenson of John Adams Courthouse, Kathleen Barker of Massachusetts Historical Society, Chris Duggan from American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and L’Merchie Frazier of Museum of African American History. 

Some of the key objectives of the summer content institute include: examining long-lasting principles of the federal judiciary including, but not limited to, judicial review, judicial restraint, judicial activism, and strict construction versus loose construction; exploring how the federal judiciary have affected the relationship between the federal government and the states and the people; and analyzing the Supreme Court’s interpretations of the U.S. Constitution throughout the course of American history. In this content institute teachers will study the historical origins and developments of the federal judiciary by examining a variety of primary source materials including, but not limited to, Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 78, Judiciary Act of 1789 and of 1801, Marbury v. Madison (1803), McCulloch v. Maryland (1819). Teachers will also look at how the rulings or actions of the Supreme Court may have led to constitutional amendments, and how constitutional amendments have affected the Supreme Court in interpreting the U.S. Constitution and future rulings. Teacher participants will also examine and assess consequential rulings including but not limited to Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v. United States, The Slaughterhouse Cases, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Citizens United v. FEC.

Partnerships: MCSS will be partnering, once again, with Massachusetts Center for Civic Education (MACCE) and James Madison Legacy Project (JMLP) and offer this professional development opportunity to its cohort members and provide historical content to its program mission and objectives for teaching and learning. MCSS is also seeking to build partnerships with Suffolk University (SU), University of Massachusetts-Boston (UMB), Boston Public Schools, New England History Teachers Association (NEHTA), American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Teacher Law School program, and Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS).


Suffolk University has available lodging in the downtown Boston campus at Miller Hall, West Hall, and Modern Suites for summer content institute participants at an additional cost.

  • Single with Shared Bath: $81.00 per individual per night
  • Double with Bath for 4: $62.00 per individual per night
  • Quad (minimum 3 people): $49.00 per individual per night (Miller Hall only)
  • If you are interested in staying at Suffolk University and would like more information, please email Gorman at 


If you plan to commute daily, there are several parking garages near the Suffolk University Boston campus. The Boston Common Parking Garage is open 24 hours/7 days and is located underneath the Boston Common (entrance is on Charles Street, between the Boston Common and Public Gardens). Daily rate is $32 (Mon through Fri). Discounted price with online reservations.

For more information, visit 

It is more affordable to park your car overnight at the Alewife T or Braintree T Station ($7-8 per day/night) and take the subway to Park Street in downtown Boston. Riverside T Station also has parking ($13/night).

The Route 128 T Station in Westwood is $14/night; park and take the Commuter Rail to South Station in Boston (then take Red Line to Park Street). 


Finally, participants will have the option to earn 3 graduate credits from Framingham State University for an additional cost of $225, or 70 PDPs in content (history and government/political science). Participants will also be introduced to the Center for Civic Education We the People program, which coincides with the summer content institute.


Registration costs to this summer’s content institute is as follows:

  • MCSS/NCSS/NEHTA member/individual ($300)
  • MCSS/NCSS/NEHTA non-member/individual ($450) – cost includes 1 year membership to MCSS
  • MACCE cohort member ($200)
  • pre-service or retired teacher ($150)

Payment can be made by check (make payable to Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, or Mass Council). We also accept payment by credit cards (MC, Visa, AmEx, Discover), you can provide your credit card information on the application form. We also accept payment by Purchase Order. Please contact June Coutu ( to request a copy of W-9 form.

Costs help to fund materials/books, travel expenses and Honorarium for guest speakers, some breakfasts and reception, and administrative costs.

For more information or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Gorman Lee at

Mass Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Meeting @ Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Nov 28 @ 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

This memorandum provides an overview of proposed revisions to the 2003 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework and outlines anticipated next steps in the process, for discussion by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) at the meeting on November 28, 2017. The framework includes learning standards that outline the expectations for what students should know and be able to do, as well as other material such as the vision and guiding principles designed to support effective instruction. Enclosed with this memo is a draft of selected portions of the proposed revisions, including the introductory materials for the framework as well as new standards emphasizing civic education for grade 8. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) plans to present a full draft of the revised framework to the Board in January 2018, anticipating that the Board will discuss it at the January 23 meeting and vote to invite public comment. The current timeline calls for the Board to discuss and vote to adopt the final revised standards contained in the framework at the June 26, 2018 meeting.


Web conference on unpacking revised History and Social Science curriculum framework (tentative)
Jan 25 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

In late January 2018 the Board of ESE will vote to open for public comment on the full document, which will be released sometime in January.

Once the document has been released for public comment, Mass Council for the Social Studies plans to facilitate a web conference for social studies coordinators/supervisors/directors and principals on how to unpack the revised framework document and how to prepare and present to your staff as the public comment period commences. Members from the revised curriculum framework panel and DESE will be present to address any questions you have.

Right now, the tentative date is January 25, 2018, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

All you will need is a computer or laptop (or tablet/iPad) with a web camera and mic and high speed Internet access to connect.

More to come, but be sure to pencil in this date and time. A formal registration will be coming to you shortly after New Year’s in early January 2018.

Registration is now open. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. This session will be recorded and archived. Even if you are unable to participate, please register to access the archive recording.

History & Social Science Curriculum Framework Public Comment Outreach Event @ Collaborative for Educational Services (CES)
Mar 5 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Curriculum and Instruction

The Revision of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

Public Comment Period: January 23 – April 2, 2018 – Please participate!

On January 23, 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to release the current draft of the 2018 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework for public comment.

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
History and Social Science Proposed Revised Framework for Public Comment, January 2018
Download Word Document
HSS Proposed Revised Framework Highlights of Public Comment Draft, January 2018

The Department invites educators and members of the public to participate in the public comment period from January 23 – April 2, 2018. The comments will inform additional revisions to the framework. Interested parties may provide comments via a public survey and participate in the upcoming events noted below.

Public Survey – January 23 – April 2, 2018

Public Comment Outreach Events

In order to gain additional public input, the Department, in partnership with the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, will host conference calls and presentations by region across the state. These sessions will welcome participation by PK-12 and higher education faculty, administrators, the general public, students, and parents/guardians on proposed changes to the 2003 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework.

Conference Call Information

  • Learn More: Conference call sessions will begin with an overview of the proposed changes in the History and Social Science Framework draft.
  • Get Involved: There will be time in each session for callers to give ESE staff their comments on the proposed changes and to ask questions.
Mass Council Spring Conference at Bridgewater State University: Going Global @ Bridgewater State University
Mar 9 @ 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Mohler-Faria Science Center
24 Park Avenue, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

(park in Lot G)

Mass Council for the Social Studies will be hosting a spring one-day statewide conference on March 9, 2018 at Bridgewater State University with a particular focus on geography education. The theme of this spring conference is GOING GLOBAL.

As one of the 4 major strands of Social Studies, geography plays a major role in each of the other strands. As students become global citizens, it is important for them to understand the interaction of history, civics, and economics with geography.

Collaboration across curriculum areas also enriches instruction by integrating social studies through literacy and STEM. By broadening instruction, combining the strengths and perspectives of each of the social studies subjects, teaching and learning is enhanced and students are able to better understand our world. In order to be effective and productive 21st century students, they must be well versed in all aspects of Social Studies and be able to understand the interaction of world economies, the cultural and physical aspects of places and how that plays out on a world stage.


Exhibits, EarthView, and NGS Floor map on display in Kelly Gymnasium.

Boxed lunch is available at the conference. Special presentation of FRIEND OF GEOGRAPHY AWARD will take place during the luncheon.

10 PDPs available for full day attendance and develop, implement, and reflect on lesson activity unit using content learned from the day’s workshop sessions.


Dr. Robert Hellström, Bridgewater State University

“Building Community Resilience: a Global Challenge Driven by Climate Chaos”
From the perspective of a Geography Professor specializing in climate change and weather, it is clear that socio-economic costs and hazards faced by local communities today are directly influenced by increasingly extreme weather events.  Dr. Robert Hellström provides a global perspective on increasingly chaotic climate behavior and foundations for building climate literacy and community resilience.  He stresses the importance of educating and empowering the next generation to become citizen scientists, build a firm understanding of extreme weather impacts on their locality, and confidently engage with their community and advance resilience strategies.

Friend of Geography Award

Dan Rea

Host of NightSide with Dan Rea
WBZ Boston


The Revision of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework
On January 23, 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to release the current draft of the 2018 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework for public comment. In order to gain additional public input, the Department, in partnership with the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, will host an overview presentation at the Spring 2018 One-Day Statewide Conference.
This session will welcome participation by PK-12 and higher education faculty, administrators, the general public, students, and parents/guardians on proposed changes to the 2003 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework.

Registration: There is a public session on the revision of the Framework at 2 pm that will be open to the public AT NO CHARGE. Registration for the session on the framework only.



  • Individual MCSS-member: $85.
  • Individual non-MCSS member: $100. (registration includes one-year MCSS membership)
  • Preservice teachers, students & retirees: $45.

Download, print, and complete the registration form [PDF] [Word] and mail form and payment (check or purchase order) payable to Mass Council for the Social Studies:

Spring 2018 One-Day Conference
Attn: Eileen and Norm Shacochis
601 Main Street
Marshfield, MA 02050

Online Registration is closed – You may register on site on Friday




9:00 – 10:30

  • Teaching Geography through Coffee and Vice-Versa, James Hayes-Bohanan — Coffee employs millions of people worldwide and is enjoyed daily be billions, but is largely an anonymous commodity. This workshop introduces the coffee belt — a zone constrained by latitude and altitude across more than 50 countries. It quickly reviews the 50 steps from seed to cup, highlighting lessons about economic and environmental geography at key stages. Teaching with coffee provides an example of how to illuminate the often-hidden geographies of other common products. 
  • National Geographic Teacher Certification & Programs, Kathleen Babini, Brett Duncan & Tracy Dawson-Greene — In this session information will be shared on becoming a National Geographic Certified Educator. The NGS Learning Framework will be shared along with opportunities to be part of many other NGS programs. Participants will take part in activities that could be applied to the certification process, which they can then pursue independently.
  • What If Everything You Knew About Hinduism was Wrong?  Aesha Mehta — This session is designed to highlight best practices on how to teach about one of the most misunderstood world religions, featuring vetted resources and new approaches to teaching about Hinduism.
  • Project Citizen,  Ellen Morse & Roger Derosiers — Project Citizen is a program designed to help students and youth groups learn how to monitor and influence public policy. The program involves critical thinking, problem solving and cooperative learning. Project Citizen aligns well with a service-learning curriculum, as well as with citizen involvement issues in U.S. history and civics. This is a curriculum for individual teachers or team approach. Teachers will participate in a lesson that demonstrates the strength of the curriculum.
  • Massachusetts Atlas for the Classroom, Arlene Kowal & Klaus Bayr — The teachers will be introduced to the overall concepts being presented in the recently revised Massachusetts Atlas (book) also available on a CD for use in K-6 classrooms. Lessons developed by New England teachers for their state atlases which were modified for Massachusetts will be reviewed and at least two tried in the workshop. Included on the CD are a large tile map of the state plus outline maps to use in the classroom.
  • Using Inquiry Projects to Develop Social Studies Knowledge and Content Literacy, Barbara Andrews — This interactive session will highlight instructional practices that provide access to Social Studies standards and topics for diverse students, as they collaborate and engage in inquiry-based projects. Participants will gain an understanding of how to support the needs of all learners as they develop global awareness, social studies vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills and strategies.  Participants will then focus on ways to create standards-based mini-lessons that explicitly foster each student’s ability to meet higher expectations.

10:40 – 12:10

  • Building Community Resilience in Light of a Global Climate Crisis, Robert Hellstrom & James Hayes-Bohanan — We live in an increasingly volatile global climate resulting in more extreme weather events that adversely affect vulnerable communities. The goal of this panel is to discuss ways that educators can empower the next generation by building a firm understanding of global climate change and the social, environmental and economic impacts of extreme weather events so they can confidently engage their community to advance resilience strategies. Cross-disciplinary educational curricula will help prepare the next generation. 
  • The Geography Behind History, Vernon Domingo — All historical events occur someplace with that place’s distinctive location and physical and cultural attributes playing significant roles in determining social and political outcomes. Here we explore the nature of geography – locational, physical, cultural attributes of places – and how these impact historical events and processes. This session uses examples from the new curriculum framework as it explores the high value that geography provides in better understanding historical events. Geography and history in tandem. 
  • Teaching with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress and World Digital Library, Rich Cairn — Participants will learn tips to access the millions of freely available items in the Library of Congress and other national libraries. Exhibitions and primary source sets on focus topics will provide an introduction to strategies to use an array of primary sources to support exploration of geography and world history. Participants will strategies to find, manage, and put primary sources to use.
  • New Englanders Go Global, Kathleen Barker & Elaine Heavey — Explore the world through the eyes of New Englanders! Engage with letters, diaries, and photographs that document the international travels of northerners in the nineteenth century. Using these examples from the Massachusetts Historical Society, we will model activities designed to foster traditional literacy skills and storytelling, as well as analysis of maps and spatial data. We’ll highlight tools for connecting primary sources and geography, such as such as Google Earth and Story Maps.
  • Geo-Inquiry Process and Institute, Arlene Kowal, Laura Luker, Greg Russian-Area Literacy — This session will focus on the use of the geo-inquiry process and a project for the classroom presented by two teachers trained at National Geographic this past summer. They will explain what they learned and how they put it into action.  The Massachusetts Geographic Alliance in collaboration with the Vermont Geographic Alliance will be hosting a four-day summer institute in both MA and VT for teachers to become trained and familiar with the process. It is hoped that teachers in this session will consider the summer institute. Two teachers from MA will be selected to attend the training at National Geographic.
  • Mapping Massachusetts, Leslie Hamilton & Lisa Peterson — Participants will be part of a hands-on, feet-on experience with the giant Massachusetts Floor Map, learning about connections to economic, physical and cultural geography in Massachusetts. Activities will be shared and participants will learn how they can bring this learning experience to their own school free of change.

Any questions on the program, please contact our conference co-chairs:
Kathleen Babini, Massachusetts Geographic Alliance,
Vernon Domingo, Bridgewater State University Department of Geography,

Any questions on the special event on the revision of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, please contact David

DESE Curriculum Framework Powerpoint Presentation

Any questions on registration, payments, purchase orders, W-9 forms, please contact Eileen Shacochis,

History & Social Science Curriculum Framework Public Comment Outreach Event @ Ellison Campus Center, Salem State University
Mar 13 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Curriculum and Instruction

The Revision of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

Public Comment Period: January 23 – April 2, 2018 – Please participate!

On January 23, 2018, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to release the current draft of the 2018 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework for public comment.

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
History and Social Science Proposed Revised Framework for Public Comment, January 2018
Download Word Document
HSS Proposed Revised Framework Highlights of Public Comment Draft, January 2018

The Department invites educators and members of the public to participate in the public comment period from January 23 – April 2, 2018. The comments will inform additional revisions to the framework. Interested parties may provide comments via a public survey and participate in the upcoming events noted below.

Public Survey – January 23 – April 2, 2018

Public Comment Outreach Events

In order to gain additional public input, the Department, in partnership with the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, will host conference calls and presentations by region across the state. These sessions will welcome participation by PK-12 and higher education faculty, administrators, the general public, students, and parents/guardians on proposed changes to the 2003 History and Social Science Curriculum Framework.

Conference Call Information

  • Learn More: Conference call sessions will begin with an overview of the proposed changes in the History and Social Science Framework draft.
  • Get Involved: There will be time in each session for callers to give ESE staff their comments on the proposed changes and to ask questions.