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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Twenty-two Hundred Miles of Canada-U.S. Shared Water Collaborations & Issues @ virtual
Oct 26 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Twenty-two Hundred Miles of Canada-U.S. Shared Water Collaborations & Issues

Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. [Register here]
Betsy Arntzen,
University of Maine – Canadian-American Center
60 minute workshop

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system is North America’s largest waterway. How have two countries maintained collaboration over 84% of North America’s surface freshwater and the shared inland-sea transportation network? Handouts.

This session will unpack and explore the results of 8 states’, 2 provinces’, 2 nations’ legal, economic, and environmental agreements in their shared water boundaries and in matters of controlling 20% of the world’s available fresh surface water, and along the longest border shared by any two countries in the world.


Theme: Preparing Students to Hold “The Office of Citizen”
Audience: K-12, all subjects; Middle School geography.

Navigating Political Polarization in the United States @ virtual
Oct 26 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Navigating Political Polarization in the United States

Monday, October 26, 2020 at 4:!5 p.m. [Register here]
Dustin Tenreiro,
One hour webinar

Americans are increasingly divided over politics. The gap between the policies endorsed by the Republican and Democratic Parties is growing, as is animosity between people who identify with different parties. In this workshop, we will explore the questions: How is polarization influencing decision-making and civic life in the United States? and Can Americans still find common ground? Facing History and Ourselves will provide tools and resources you can use in your classroom that foster civil discourse and support a critical understanding of political polarization in the United States.

Audience: Middle & High School
Theme: Teaching the 2020 U.S. Elections

Exploring the Role of Religion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Religious Literacy as a Means and Ends for Civic Competency @ virtual
Oct 27 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Exploring the Role of Religion in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Religious Literacy as a Means and Ends for Civic Competency

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. [Register here]
Kate Soules,,  & David Rhodes,
Two-hour workshop

While there has been increasing attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education, the impact of religion is often invisible or overlooked. Further, the study of religion is inextricably tied to many topics and themes in the social studies and history classroom, and religious diversity is deeply embedded in public life, individual and community identities, and current events. However, many teachers are apprehensive of any discussion of religion.  When teachers lack confidence in how to address religion in the classroom and curriculum, they often avoid the topic altogether for fear of overstepping boundaries or revealing their own lack of knowledge.  This has significant implications for students’ development of essential skills and knowledge which, in turn, impacts their civic engagement.

This workshop will introduce educators to the principles of religious liberty in public schools and key frameworks of religious literacy so that they can support students in the development of the knowledge and skills crucial for engaged citizenship in a religiously plural society.

Unpacking Religious Literacy for Educators

In these times of upheaval, it becomes increasingly important for teachers to understand the roles that religion plays in the lives of students and to develop their own religious literacy. We will examine what the concept of “religious literacy” means, particularly for educators. Once we break down religious literacy into manageable components, participants will explore various resources that can deepen their own knowledge and be adapted for use in the classroom. Ultimately, we will provide a roadmap for continued learning beyond the workshop. Participants will receive a tool to evaluate their own religious literacy and will be encouraged to arrange follow-up consultations with instructors to discuss strategies for ongoing learning and application in their particular contexts.

To Begin the World Over Again: a multi-pronged, scaffolded history curriculum for engaging and guiding students online @ virtual
Oct 28 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

To Begin the World Over Again: a multi-pronged, scaffolded history curriculum for engaging and guiding students online

Wednesday, October 28. 2020 at 3:00 p.m. [Register here]
William Jackson,, and Nate Noorlander,
One hour webinar

We are presenting an online history curriculum that is adaptable for individual learners, teacher preparation, or classroom use. Our first course covers early U.S. history, from the pre-Columbian Americas to the ratification of the Constitution. Our courses include

  • unit plans
  • daily guided notes with answer keys, adaptable for individual or group work, as well learners at different levels
  • daily reading quizzes with explanations for right and wrong answers
  • on-location mini-lectures filmed around the world
  • printable flashcards
  • vocabulary-building and content retention exercises
  • guided document-based lessons with answer keys
  • a structured rollout and guided instruction in all the steps of the research-paper writing process, including database research and citation methods
  • the text of the full course as a downloadable audiobook
  • and common-core alignment.

Our webinar will promote the content and methods of this course.

Theme: Preparing Students to Hold “The Office of Citizen”
Audience: Middle and high school students, the humanities

EarthView: World Beyond Borders @ virtual
Nov 2 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

EarthView: World Beyond Borders

November 2, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. [Register here]
2 hour webinar and virtual field trip

Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan & Dr.  Vernon Domingo
Bridgewater State University Department of Geography
Featuring Kevin Bean & Moderator Andrea Weng

This workshop begins with a virtual field trip to EarthView, a 20-foot, inflatable globe that serves as a portable classroom for social studies, geography, earth science and more — any discipline that benefits from a global or regional perspective. The field trip will include presentations made both outside the globe and inside (drones may be involved) and on some of the continental and Massachusetts floor maps that comprise the EarthMap portion of the program.

Following the field trip, we will reflect on what we have learned from the twelve years we have spent (so far) using these large-scale maps with well over 100,000 students, educators, and the general public. Finally, we will share resources for exploring patterns and connections — human, physical and environmental — at a global scale using resources available for remote learning on flat screens. The workshop will model the use of maps to learn about the spatial dimensions of such topics as water scarcity, climate change, wildfire, migration, and both the causes and consequences of Coronavirus spread.

EarthView site, including program information, reservations, and fees:

Vernon Domingo is Professor Emeritus of Geography and James Hayes-Bohanan is Professor of Geography, both at Bridgewater State University in southeastern Massachusetts. Vernon’s main areas of teaching and research have been political geography, the geography of Africa, and the geography of access to water. James has specialized in environmental geography, the geography of Latin America, and the geographies of coffee.

Both Vernon and James have long been active in the preparation of future teachers, the continuing education of in-service teachers, and advocacy for geography education. Since 2008, they have been more directly involved in K-12 education as co-coordinators of Project EarthView, bringing them into contact with thousands of students and scores of teachers each year. The two giant globes and seven National Geographic floor maps have been used by almost 120,000 geography learners to date, from infancy to infinity.


Teach the History and Struggle for Voting Rights @ virtual
Nov 4 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Teach the History and Struggle for Voting Rights

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. [Register here]
Carolyn Jacobs and Sue Wilkins, GBH and PBS Learning Media
One hour webinar

Introduce students to the history of voting in America and the key figures who have fought for access to the ballot box for all using powerful media from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE.  We’ll share resources available free on PBS LearningMedia and explore ways to effectively integrate them into your instruction. The presenters are Sue Wilkins, GBH Director of Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction and Karen Pleasant, teacher, Stoneleigh-Burnam School, Greenfield, MA.

Theme: Under-represented voices in American history
Audience: Middle and high school students, all subjects

Preparing Citizens For A World of Migration @ virtual
Nov 5 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Preparing Citizens For A World of Migration

Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. [Register here]
60-minute webinar

Adam Strom,

We live in an era of mass migration. In the United States, 26% of school-aged youth are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. They form just a slice of the one billion people on the move around the world. It is in this context that young people – whether they are part of an arriving or receiving culture – strive to form their identities as learners, community members, and change-makers. While history education has the potential to help young people put today’s experiences in context, myths and misinformation about the past get in the way of a deeper understanding of the experience of migration on individuals, communities, and nations. At the same time, academically rigorous exploration of the past can provide perspective and insight into today’s choices, dilemmas, and experiences of migration.

In this interactive session designed for in-service middle and high school teachers, educators from Re-Imagining Migration will introduce a culturally relevant framework, resources, and strategies for teaching about migration in ways that promote student’s understanding of citizenship in an age of migration as well as their social, emotional, academic, and civic growth. Using primary sources and historical case studies, participants will critically engage text and participate in small and large group discussion while considering fundamental questions about the  human experience such as: What does citizenship mean in an age of migration? Why do people leave their homes and what happens to our identities while crossing borders? What factors influence how communities respond to migration? What are the ways that communities receive and integrate newcomers? What can we do to build more inclusive and sustainable societies?

At a time when more and more families are either on the move, across national borders, or connected to family members who are migrants, traditional understanding of citizenship is being challenged by patterns of migration as well as those who would seek to restrict membership. In greater Boston, over 50% of the population are immigrants or their descendants. However, some politicians argue that birthright citizenship, and the constitutionally guaranteed rights that are associated with it, should not be granted automatically.

To prepare young people, immigrant-origin youth, or their peers, we need to help them understand both histories and patterns of migration to inform their understanding of and perspectives regarding one of the most important civic issues of our time.

Featured Resources:

Teach “McCarthyism” and its Current Relevance @ virtual
Nov 18 @ 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Teach “McCarthyism” and its Current Relevance

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. [Register here]
Carolyn Jacobs and Sue Wilkins, GBH and PBS Learning Media
One hour webinar

Teach students about the strengths and limits of democratic institutions, including a “free press” using digital resources drawn from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE | McCarthy: Power Feeds on Fear. We’ll explore the resources available free on PBS LearningMedia and share ways to effectively use them in your instruction.  Presenters will be Sue Wilkins, WGBH Director, Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction and a social studies educator.

Theme: Preparing students to hold “The Office of Citizen”
Audience: Middle and high school students, all subjects