Workshops, LibGuide, and Pizza: A Message from Ashley Bozian

Ashley Bozian

As we are gearing up for our week of teacher workshops, we thought we’d share some of our progress and a couple of “sneak peaks” at what is in the works. Now that Summer is officially here, the team has been hard at work getting things ready and making sure that everything is in order. So far, we have put together a comprehensive LibGuide for our teacher participants, which consists of sources contributed by our esteemed faculty presenters. It was very important to us to make sure that these materials would be available to our teachers even after our week together concludes and for use by other teachers around the country as well, and so with that in mind, the vast majority of these are in the public domain – free and accessible to all. The LibGuide will be available to you as of July 1st, so be on the lookout!

              Onto one of our favorite topics: food! The team has put together a food sensitivities survey so that our participants may inform us of any food allergies, sensitivities, or preferences as we plan the week in meals. Teachers, you should be receiving this survey in your email inbox in the coming days. Please take a moment to fill it out and return it to us promptly so that we can ensure everyone has a good dining experience. Speaking of food, the team assembled this week at one of our favorite local restaurants to continue our planning (because we like to think that hard work should always be rewarded with pizza). Stay tuned to the blog for more updates as they roll out! We are looking forward to working with you in July, and as always, please feel free to reach out to us with any questions!

Meet the Team: Family, Immigration, and History

Here are the selected teachers for the Family, Immigration, and History: Grade 10 Citizen Archivists in the Digital Age program. Congratulations and we look forward to working with you this summer. It’s going to be a great experience.

The Teachers

Michael Freydin is chairman of the Greater Metropolitan New York Social Studies Conference, national chairman of the Fund for the Advancement of Social Studies Education, and board member of Association of Teachers of Social Studies/UFT, and of the Middle East Outreach Council. He teaches American History and Global History at Stephan Halsey JHS157 in Rego Park, Queens. He has developed and presented curricula at the NCSS, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of African-American History and Culture, GMNY, LICSS, CityLore, New York  State Historians Society, and NYSCSS. He has written 9th grade curriculum for NYC DOE, and completed the Astor Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Sean McManamon is a teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School specializing in Advanced Placement World History. He has a Master’s Degree in History and publications in such topics as the Great Irish Famine, Japanese Tokugawa history and co-authored an AP World Review Book. He has been selected for a number of programs with institutions such as Gilder Lehrman, China Institute, Korea Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities and does curriculum writing for the New York City Department of Education. Born to immigrant parents in the Bronx, Sean regularly goes back to Ireland and has researched his family history back centuries.

Michael Mondello is an enthusiastic, second year Social Studies teacher in Queens, New York. As a Molloy College graduate, he continues to develop his craft by continuously setting ambitious professional goals, seeking out professional development opportunities, and collaborating with fellow teachers to develop engaging lessons for this high school students. Even though his career is in its infancy, Michael’s ultimate goal is to one day become a department administrator at a Long Island school district, while teaching as an adjunct professor at night so that he can share his passion for education with aspiring teachers.

Kenneth Porter spent nearly fifteen years working for Verizon Communications in various management positions before leaving the corporate world to pursue a more rewarding course in education and youth development. Through his company, Mind Candy Media, Mr. Porter has published various books and partnered with youth agencies and schools to implement educational programming, character education and mentoring programs. After transitioning into teaching full time, he taught history at the middle school level.  He is currently a global history teacher at Epic High School South, in Queens, New York.  Most recently, he led a group of students to successfully win the New York City Urban Debate League’s Beginner Public Forum Championships, which was a major accomplishment for a group of students with no prior debate experience. Mr. Porter has a Masters of Science degree in Technology and Automation Management obtained from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Masters of Arts degree in Teaching obtained from Relay Graduate School of Education. He enjoys using his education, work and life experiences to transform the lives of our youth.

Korell Pierson is the Chair/Lead Teacher of the Social Studies department at Brooklyn Lab School, in Brooklyn New York. He received his BA in History from Morgan State University, his MA in Early Modern History from the University of Manchester, and his Advanced Certificate in Secondary Education from Queens College, CUNY. In his spare time, he enjoys studying cultural, economic, and military history, along with foreign and public policy. He frequently attends and participates in educational workshops and events throughout New York City with the goal of utilizing the information and resources from the events to help enrich his curriculum and teacher practices.

Lucas Rule is completing his 15th year as a social studies teacher in NYC.  He is currently teacher at Pathways College Preparatory School in St. Albans.  Prior to Pathways, Lucas taught at Jamaica High School.  He has taught multiple history courses in each of these schools.  Lucas also worked to develop and implement a geography course as well as a successful law program at Jamaica High School.  Since joining Pathways HS, Lucas has worked to expand the advanced placement and college course offerings that are taught in it social studies department.

Roberto Saavedra is currently teaching for New York City Department Education at Robert H. Goddard High School in Ozone Park. He is the founder of Latin American Student Organization and serves as an advisor to student and new teachers. Saavedra is also part of devising curriculum and implementation of lessons for the global studies department. As an educator, his career began at St. John’s Preparatory High School (2003-2006) and then at The Leadership Institute in the Bronx (2007-2010), where he was able to establish a Council for Unity chapter to end gang violence and racism, becoming department chair, and being students’ activities chairperson. Saavedra graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from St. Johns’ University in 2003 and received a Master of Arts in Contemporary World History from the same institution in 2006.

Marc Shoichet is a social studies at in New York City public schools for 13 years. He is currently teaching at Martin Van Buren High School and before that he taught at Murry Bergtraum High School. He is the lead teacher for 10th grade Global history and before that he was the lead teacher for 12th Grade Government and Economics. He currently teachers a co-enrollment Government class through Syracuse University and has also taught an co-enrollment Sociology class through Syracuse University.

Stephen Spear teaches AP World History and serves as the moderator of Model United Nations Club at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Manhattan. He is also the organizer of the school’s Memory Project, in which students conduct research on family history. He holds Master’s degrees from Boston University and Fordham University in American history and Education.

Jennifer Suri has been teaching in both private and public schools for 29 years. She has been the Assistant Principal of Social Studies at Stuyvesant High School since 2000. She earned her B.A. in History from Barnard College and her M.A. in History at Brown University. Ms. Suri currently teaches Global Studies. She has published curriculum materials on the teaching of Islam and on 9-11. Both of these subjects are her continued areas of interest and research.

Deirdre H. Tuite is a History teacher in the Department of Education. She has been teaching for 15 years at Academy of American Studies, Gilder Lehrman’s Flagship school. Over her teaching career, she has taught Senior Thesis, Sophomore Global History, Freshman American History, Junior American History, Advanced Placement U.S. History and Advanced Placement European History. She received her M.A. in history from Queens College, where she wrote her thesis on America’s Denazification Plan in post-WWII Germany.


Bonus Features and Deleted Scenes: WordPress and its role in Historical Research by Dean Guarnaschelli

The role of technology in research becomes more refined as time goes on. Without doubt, there is a type of digital tool that can enhance any academic field today, from comparative literature to engineering and on to exercise science.

It can be argued that the role software technology plays for historians can be divided into two categories, it’s use ‘during research’ and ‘while researching’. This distinction, which upon first glance seems trivial, was however, never as ‘real’ as it is today. In other words, historians have a unique option in the digital age to use technology to conduct their research and also to share it while the research is ongoing for some very beneficial collaborative, developmental and marketing reasons. The work that leads up to a final historical contribution could be chronicled with ‘bonus features’ that show what was discovered and how. The ‘deleted scenes’ of a dissertation or chronicle are not unimportant; historians sometimes change direction to satisfy a new curiosity.

WordPress is a CMS (content management system) that meets the needs of documenting and disseminating historians’ work. This component of research allows scholars to not just ‘share’ the focus of their current project, but also to allow the evolution of ideas to do what it does best–to open new paths for gaining insight. Our field of World History has undergone many ‘overhauls’ over the decades; one catalyst today for the exploration and inclusion of the formerly marginalized sub-histories is our current technology.

WordPress provides all of the hoped for simplicity in terms of setting up a website dedicated to a historical endeavor. The feedback from other scholars and educators is present from the start and the support needed to run a digital forum is optimal. This part of the software phenomenon that we all witnessed this decade is sound, accessible and a motivation to communicate online with others trained in our discipline.

What’s Black and White and Read all over…Sometimes Even a Century and a Half Later? By Dean Guarnaschelli

Historical researchers have a lot to gain from archived newspapers. At first glance, newspapers seem to offer a predictable ‘type’ of information, namely reports on affairs both at home and on an international in scope. What becomes noticeable during research is that the age of a newspaper tells us a great deal about the balance between local and global news reported during a given era.

The concept of a newspaper is rather stable. This makes old newspapers an invaluable source for research aimed at finding out more about human perception over time. One such example would be the section papers have in which they offer their readers advice. Focusing on these features can reveal a lot to the historian about the subscribers and their expectations during that time.

From a genealogical point of view, birth announcements and death notices provide many facts, but newspapers from the turn of the twentieth century and even prior quite often contain immigration material that can lead to findings about groups en route to their new life.

Foreign language newspapers printed in the United States are perhaps the most informative about immigration to America. Besides reporting on home country events, these papers were ways for relatives to find one another back in a time when letter writing, a costly and slow-paced medium, was the only alternative.

Using digitally archived newspapers to temporarily reverse the unfortunate but also inevitable ‘extinction’ of New York City’s original foreign language newspapers opens up a world that tells stories of hope, reunification, tragedy and laughter that let us know how valuable our current tales will be to future researchers.

Calling all NYCDOE 10th Grade World History Teachers

Hey Teachers!

We are recruiting for the summer workshop “Family, Immigration, and History: Grade 10 Citizen Archivists in the Digital Age” at St. John’s University. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, this project employs inquiry-based approaches to family history for New York City Public School grade 10 teachers who wish to inspire their students to employ historical methods and thinking, while learning research and digital literacy skills. The goal of the project is to develop curricula and resources to inspire inquiry-based learning that addresses Units 5 and 6 of the NYC Social Studies Scope and Sequence, and to engage teachers and students in the research and re-use of extant, freely-available digital historical records, thus providing a model for wide-spread adoption in formal and informal education settings.

Ten teachers will be selected to participate in the week-long workshop in July as well as five follow-up sessions to further hone their digital and historical thinking skills. Teachers will receive a stipend of $1,500 for the summer as well as compensation for the follow-up workshops. Applications due April 21, 2017.

This is a great opportunity for teachers!


Application May Be Found Here:

Notes of [Stolen] Media Literacy Ideas from Recent Conferences

On November 8, 2016, social studies teachers gathered at Alexander Hamilton Custom’s House in lower Manhattan for a professional development day on “Elections and Media Literacy. “ I gave a workshop on “Media Literacy, World History and Elections: Tools to Breakdown Walls.” At this writing, the conference has taken on more significance.   With a focus on whether Russia had influence in the U.S. elections in order to elect Donald Trump or whether the rise of fake news had an impact on the elections, the topics on media literacy and elections has taken on a new urgency.

What can we, as educators, do? With media literacy, we must educate ourselves about how URLs are purchased and/or obtained. We must teach our students and ourselves how to read web sites far more critically and to research those web sites to know the authors and the authors’ purposes. Lastly, like any good historian, we must encourage them to question the evidence and use their investigative skills to dig beyond the superficial.

In my presentation, I spoke about the importance of facilitating and curating materials for students to discover the past. A couple weeks later, I encountered again the importance of curating and guiding. Educators are collectors of evidence and some use this evidence in a creative fashion to teach students how to read material culture as demonstrated by Michael Freydin and Matthew Foglino two New York City public school teachers and members of the Association of Teachers of Social Studies. At their recent National Council of Social Studies conference presentation on increasing student engagement through the arts and artifacts, they demonstrated how to train students to read art and artifacts from the Middle Ages to draw some conclusions about the past and the past lives of people.

What if we collected fake items such as news or historical websites and then curated those items just a we do with sites created by reputable sources or peer review historical web sites?  Part of the AHA’s Tuning Project on the Discipline Core encourages that history students “recognize the provisional nature of knowledge, the disciplinary preference for complexity, and the comfort with ambiguity that history requires.”

In a time of rapid change, history teachers must continue to collect, curate, juxtapose, and educate about the media, its uses, and how sometimes certain ambiguities are created for a purpose.  That purpose may not ultimately be to support engaged citizenship but to undermine it.

“Family, Immigration, and History” An Introduction to Chronozoom by John Ronzino

As naïve as it might sound, I have come to the acceptance that there is no magic bullet to education. There is no single activity or method that will improve education and increase student engagement. I’ve tried it all. As a high school history teacher since 1999, I’ve jumped on board every new educational promise. I practiced everything from cooperative learning to role play and from learning centers to writing across the curriculum (which I actually thought was useful). I’m starting to realize that the key to student engagement is a mixture of activities that students should take part in during the lesson. The high school classroom cannot be a bell-to-bell lecture. Chalk-and-talk is long dead my educational paisans.

One such promising activity for students in a history class is Chronozoom. On September 28, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at the St. John’s library on a new digital tool that can provide students and teachers with hands-on instruction. The workshop was led by Andy Mink. Mr. Mink is the Vice President of Education Programs for the National Humanities Center. He is also the founder and owner of Mink’ED.

Chronozoom is a brilliant tool that allows students and teachers to amend a beautiful timeline of historical events that link to primary documents across the internet. The primary sources can be something as simple as a letter John Adams wrote to Abigail or a news clip reporting on the fall of Saigon. The focus of the Chronozoom workshop was to connect family history with migration. This would be an outstanding project for my students since I work at a diverse school. Every student has a story and they can now tell it with history evidence.

This program could be used inside the classroom as an excellent tool for project-based learning or as an afterschool research project. As with all things involving project based learning, the details need to be ironed-out and the logistics need to be coordinated but the potential for Chronozoom in a modern classroom is limitless.

John Ronzino is a NYC DOE teacher at Flushing High School since 1999, and he is a PhD candidate at St. John’s University.