Humanities Webinar

Humanities WebinarSeptember 12, 2017 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Welcome to a new year of webinars directed to the humanities. Please join us for information, resources and discussion about ELA, social studies, the arts and world languages. If you are unable to join the webinar it will be recorded. This month, in honor of Celebrate Freedom Week, we will be discussing the Constitution through the lenses of our various content areas.

The link for joining the webinar will be sent out next week.

All the best,

Allegra Kazemzadeh

Coordinator, Social Studies

Office of Middle/Secondary Learning

West Virginia Department of Education
1900 Kanawha Blvd East

Building 6, Room 603
Charleston, WV 25305-0330
304.558.5325  Voice
304.558.1834 Fax

Freedom Week September 11–15, 2017

Celebrate Freedom Week — September 11 – 15, 2017

House Bill 3080

During the 2017 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature, House Bill 3080 was amended to include Celebrate Freedom Week.


“In order to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values on which this country was founded, a full week of classes in September, during the week in which the eleventh of September occurs, shall be recognized in all public, private, parochial and denominational schools located within this state as “Celebrate Freedom Week.” Celebrate Freedom Week must include at least three hours of appropriate instruction in each social studies class which instruction must include an in-depth study of the intent, meaning and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with an emphasis on the Bill of Rights, using the historical, political and social environments surrounding each document at the time of its initial passage or ratification and shall include the study of historical documents to firmly establish the historical background leading to the establishment of the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights by the founding fathers for the purposes of safeguarding our Constitutional republic. Nothing in this subsection, however, creates a standard or requirement subject to review by the office of education performance audits.


NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to institute a “Celebrate Freedom Week” and require the instruction in the study of the Declaration of Independence and other founding American historical documents, including the Bill of Rights, during this week.”


To help educators select resources that address both the requirements of the bill and the West Virginia College and Career Readiness Standards in social studies, the Office of Teaching and Learning has prepared a document (see attached) that includes both the related CCRS by grade and a brief list of useful resources. Please note that these resources are 1) only some of the resources available and 2) provided for educators’ convenience. They are not to be construed as curriculum, nor should they be considered as required in any sense.


Katherine Johnson Day – August 28th, 2017

Katherine Johnson Day – August 28th, 2017

Katherine Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is an African-American physicist and mathematician from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia who made contributions to the United States’ aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. She is portrayed in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures.

We have created a booklet that includes several lessons plans for K-12 that you can use with your students if you wish. I have attached it here.

On August 28th, 2018 Katherine Johnson is to be honored at the Greenbrier Resort. For more information about the event please contact the state’s office of minority affairs at 304-558-2000.


George Washington & the Eclipse

George Washington & the eclipse-

Did George Washington ever experience a solar eclipse? Twice during the Revolutionary War, solar eclipses not only captured the interest of scientists and the public, but were also considered to be of important military significance.

Eclipsing the Revolution

Even during the darkest days of the American Revolution, while war raged across the countryside, people looked skyward and documented sudden darkenings of the heavens. 18th-century almanacs, like the one depicted here, frequently charted these phenomena, and even prominently featured information about them on their covers. As George Washington discovered, information about eclipses could even be valuable to the war effort.

On January 8, 1777, just days after his stunning victories over the British at Trenton and Princeton, General Washington stopped to pen a strange letter of thanks. Instead of praising battlefield heroics, Washington acknowledged the Pennsylvania Council of Safety for notice they provided of an impending eclipse. In a letter dated January 5, 1777, Thomas Wharton warned the General that “according to Astronomical Calculations, on Thursday next between the hours of 9 and 11 in the forenoon, a great Eclipse of the Sun will be visible here, perhaps it may not be amiss on this occasion to guard against a superstitious fear in the Army which might take place should the Men be unexpectedly surprised with this appearance.” In his response to the council, Washington agreed that “this event, without a previous knowledge of it, might affect the minds of the Soldiery, and be attended with some bad consequences.” Indeed, a partial eclipse obscured roughly two-thirds of the sun at approximately 10 a.m. on the January 9th.

More than a year later, on June 24, 1778, a total solar eclipse was recorded as being visible by combatants from the Carolinas to New England. Thomas Jefferson noted this event in his letters from Monticello, but was “much disappointed in Virginia generally on the day of the great eclipse, which proved to be cloudy.” Although George Washington does not mention this event, troops in his army took notice as preparations were made in the days leading up to the Battle of Monmouth. Revolutionary War veteran Joseph Plumb Martin remembered that “the day we were drafted the sun was eclipsed; had this happened upon such an occasion in ‘olden time,’ it would have been considered ominous either of good or bad fortune, but we took no notice of it.” After some of war’s most brutal fighting, Washington’s troops were left in command of the field of battle, so perhaps it was a good omen after all.  


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