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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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
The Citizen Lyceum: Bill of Rights @ Asa Waters Mansion
Oct 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The Massachusetts Center for Civic Education (MACCE) will unveil its adult learning initiative on Friday, October 28th, at the Asa Waters Mansion in Millbury, Massachusetts, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Citizen Lyceum is intended to give greater understanding about American government. Its first topic will be on the Bill of Rights. MACCE is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes civic learning and engagament in the community from primary through higher and continuing education. Through its We the People programs we support civic education in our schools and beyond. The event is free and open to the public. There will be light refreshments following the presentation provided by the Friends of Asa Waters Mansion. For further information please call Roger Desrosiers at 508-728-4733 or email at

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

We the People Simulated Congressional Hearing State Competition @ Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
Jan 28 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

The culminating activity for the We the People: The Citizen & The Constitution program is a simulated congressional hearing in which students “testify” in front of a panel of judges acting as members of Congress. In addition to the simulated congressional hearings, some teachers, schools and districts choose to participate in the State and National Finals or the National Invitational. These additional learning opportunities can be exciting to many students and serve to further their understanding of the constitution and government.


During the simulated hearings, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles through their testimony in front of a panel of judges. The entire class, working in cooperative teams, prepares and presents statements before a panel of community representatives acting as a congressional committee. Students then answer follow-up questions posed by the committee members. They will have the opportunity to evaluate, take and defend their position on a variety of historical and contemporary issues. In addition to the hands on learning experience the hearings offer, they also serve as an effective way for teachers to evaluate their student’s grasp of the material.

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

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