Teaching Social Studies: A Joint Publication of the New Jersey & New York State Councils for the Social Studies

Teaching Social Studies/Volume 18, Number 2/Summer-Fall 2018


Teaching Social Studies is distributed digitally to members of NYSCSS, NYS4A, and NJCSS. It provides opportunities for the presentation of divergent opinions by social studies educators. The views expressed do not represent the official position of the councils. For information or to submit articles, contact: Mark Pearcy (editor and NJ representative) at mpearcy@rider.edu or Alan Singer (NYS representative) at CATAJS@Hofstra.edu.

Article 1- Engaging K-6 Students in History: The Nutley History Fair, by Hank Bitten

The Nutley Academic Booster Club (ABC) (http://www.nutleyabc.org/) provides an opportunity for students in their K-6 elementary schools to participate in a science and history fair in alternating years each March. The article below reflects on my observations as a judge in the 2018 History Fair for K-6 students.  Read more…

Article 2 – This is How You Get Gun Control, by Bruce W. Dearstyne

“We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program a few days later. It was a wrenching reminder of how long politicians have ducked responsibility for curbing killers using assault rifles. Read more…

Article 3 – You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train, by Derek Pearce

American historian and activist Howard Zinn, who passed in 2010, released his memoirs in 1994 under the title “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train”. While I am sure Zinn’s words are open to interpretation, I have always taken them as a challenge: to what extent are you willing to allow history to unfold around you before taking action? For Zinn, these words were used to confront his students about their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Then, like now, there is a serious debate in teaching circles about how involved educators should be when social issues are discussed in the classroom. Read more…

Article 4 – Responses to Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Snyder argues that the founders of the United States, the revolutionary generation that wrote the Constitution and created the new nation, were fundamentally concerned with the threat of tyranny. In the eighteenth century the threat came from monarchy. In the twentieth century he argues it came from fascism, Nazism, and Stalinist communism. Snyder worries that in the twenty-first century the threat to democracy will come from virulent nationalist populism. Read more…

Article 5 – Fascism in America: It Can Happen Here, by Alan Singer

Sinclair Lewis titled his 1935 novel about a fascist threat to the United States It Can’t Happen Here. The novel tells the story of “Buzz” Windrip, who defeats Franklin Roosevelt for president in 1936 after a campaign based on stoking fear, promising unlikely economic reform, and championing patriotism and “traditional” values. Philip Roth developed a similar theme in his 2004 novel The Plot against America. This time it is 1940 and FDR is defeated for reelection by the real life aviation hero and pro-German “America First” anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh. Both books are works of fiction, but the domestic fascist threat to the United States prior to World War II was all too real. Unfortunately, and frighteningly, it may be all too real in the United States again today. Read more…

Article 6 – Culturally Responsive Webquests: Connecting Technology with Inquiry-Based Learning, by Erik Byker and Vicki Thomas

Article 7 – Policy Analysis as an Exit Criteria: The Case of the Participation in Government research paper in New York State, by Nancy Hinkley and Casey Jakubowski

Article 8 – Holocaust Education in a Polarized Society: Importance and Resources, by Brandon Haas

Article 9 – A New Wave of LGBT books for Children, by Peter Olson

Article 10 – Shake, Rattle, and Rally—and #NeverAgain: Student Activists in 1963 and Today, by Lisa K. Pennington

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