History teachers at a Michigan high school are working to help students make connections to a day that only some of their grandparents were alive to experience -- Pearl Harbor. Eventually, teachers say, students will have the same problem with the Sept. 11 attacks. A move to include more primary-source documents in history lessons is under way; teachers say this could help students get a better understanding of historic events.
After a sometimes contentious debate in Nebraska about updates to its social studies standards, one of the more talked-about subjects -- "American exceptionalism" -- was retained in the final draft proposal. The concept was kept as was another hotly debated topic: climate change. If approved today in a vote by the state board of education, the standards can be adopted by districts within a year, or districts can opt for more rigorous standards.
In Anne Arundel County, Md., students want officials to lift a block on social media websites such as Twitter at school, saying the restrictions are limiting their education. The student government has adopted as part of its platform advocating for elimination of the block, which affects Wikipedia, Google Images, Facebook and more. "We want to be able to access information that can help us learn and enhance our understanding of certain things we are discussing," said high-school senior Nick Lefavor. "These sites will help with that."
Students at a Wisconsin school are using Skype to participate in a distance-learning exchange with a school in Thailand. The Wisconsin students are learning about Asian culture in an accredited class taught by a teacher in Thailand, while students in Thailand learn about U.S. history. Officials recently announced that the program, which began about two years ago, would continue at least until 2015.
Teachers at a Utah junior high school have developed a program that combines the teaching of English, history, science and technology into an interdisciplinary curriculum aimed at getting students to be active participants in learning. Students research and create multimedia presentations, interview business leaders and participate in hands-on science. "We're into changing the world of learning, and get right to the root of it. It should be a lifelong experience," one of the teachers said.