First African American Paratroopers Honored

There’s an interesting story today on CNN about the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, which was the first African American Paratrooper unit in the United States.  They were formed during WWII and are finally being honored for their services. 

The 555th, or “Triple Nickle” (incorrect spelling intentional) served by making over 1200 jumps on the West Coast of the United States-the only area in the US mainland that was hit during the war by incendiary bombs from Japan.  The paratroopers were responsible for putting out fires the bombs started before they could grow into huge forest fires.  This was an important task, and also a secret task because the government did not want the public to find out what actually started the fires. 

Only 3 of the original 17 members of the 555th are alive today, but they are being honored at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

ODU Econ Workshops

A couple of workshops through ODU…

Old Dominion University Center for Economic Education

 NEW REGISTRATION PROCEDURE:  REGISTER ONLINE at the Virginia Council on Economic Education’s workshop page and search by SPONSORING CENTER (ODU)  for more information and to register for the workshops. *If you do not immediately receive a confirmation email then your registration did not go through.  Try again, or email Ruth Cookson ASAP.

 Recession Economics: Basic Lessons for Helping to Understand the Current Crisis

Wed., March 24, 2010 4:30 – 6:30pm 

Virginia Beach Higher Education Center

Should we worry about inflation? What should the role of government be?  How does fiscal policy work?  This session will demonstrate basic lessons to help your students better understand current economic events.  Lessons will focus on Civics and Govt. topics such as monetary and fiscal policy, the role of the Federal Reserve and unemployment, and inflation.  Each participant will receive classroom materials and lesson plans.  For Teachers Grades 6-12. Free.  Refreshments provided.

 Focus: Understanding Economics in US History: Grades 6-12

Saturday, April 10, 2010  9:00am – Noon

Virginia Beach Higher Education Center

        Help your students to not just understand “what happened” but “why it happened” using active- learning lessons from the Council on Economic Education.  These 39 lessons, ranging from early Native Americans property rights to the economic problems faced in the 1970’s, use a unique mystery-solving approach to teach U.S. History to your high school and middle school students. Lessons are correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning. Each participant will receive the curriculum guide Focus: Understanding Economics in US History – a $50.00 value – FREE.  Registration is limited to 25 teachers. This program made possible with support from the CEE with funding from the U.S. Dept of Education Office on Innovation and Improvement and the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation.  Coffee and danish provided.  USI.1, USI.5, USI.6, USI.7, USI.8, USII.1, USII. 4, USII.6, USII.9, VUS.1, VUS.2, VUS.3, VUS.6, VUS.8, VUS.9, VUS.10, VUS.15

6th Grade Content Review Workshop

The 6th grade content review workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 23rd, at 4:15pm.  It will be in the library at John Tyler Elementary.  I need an RSVP from everyone attending by Friday, March 19th.  There are some materials I need to purchase this weekend, and I need a head count.  I will only have materials for those who RSVP.  Send your RSVP to

Female WWII pilots honored 65 years later

There is an interesting story on CNN today about a group of former civilian pilots during WWII who have never been honored for their assistance during the war.  Fewer than 300 Women Airforce Service Pilots are alive, and about 175 of them traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

This is a story I haven’t heard before, and I’m glad that these women are finally receiving some recognition for their efforts during the war.

Fall seminar on Galapagos

The Institute of International Education and the Toyota International Teacher Program are offering a fully funded seminar to the Galapagos Islands for 2010.  Full time classroom teachers of all subjects and librarians for grades 6-12 are eligible to apply. 

The seminar will take place from November 20th thru December 4th, so you’ll have to have permission from your principal.  However, the program does award your school $500 to help offset the cost of your absence. 

Applications are due May 26th.  For more information and to apply, visit

NCSS Workshops

The National Council for Social Studies has organized several workshops this summer.  They’ll take place in a few different cities, with the closest ones to us taking place in Washington, D.C.  For more information and instructions on how to apply, visit

Spring and summer seminars and fall conferences

I’ve got information on a couple of seminars coming up, as well as a Civil War conference in the fall.

First, in April, there will be a 3 day residential seminar at Mt. Vernon.  It is a completely funded program, and will take place from April 9th thru the 11th.  (Please note that April 9th is the Friday of Spring Break.)  Participants will be housed on the estate.  I’ve included the announcement, application, and schedule.  For all other questions concerning the seminar, contact


Mt. Vernon Seminar Application

Mt. Vernon weekend schedule

This year’s Presidential Academy will be held from July 11-29 in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Gettysburg.  The application for this seminar is due March 15th.  We had a teacher who attended this a few years ago who had a wonderful experience, learned a lot, and brought back many many materials.  To apply, visit

And finally there will be a one day conference on the Civil War in September, at Norfolk State University.  This is a free conference and registration is open to the public, although seating is limited.  The conference is entitled “Race, Slavery, and the Civil War:  The Tough Stuff of American History and memory.”  It will take place on September 24th, 2010, which is a Friday.  You can find a list of topics that will be covered, as well as the historians who will take part in the conference at  Registration information is also available on their homepage.   

We encourage you to apply for these opportunities!  They often give away lots of materials, and you walk away with new information to add to your lessons.  Good luck!