Saturday, May 2, 2015

How does teaching social activism in the classroom prepare students to be active citizens in their communities, the city, and beyond?

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the Museum of the City of New York will host the 3rd Annual Teaching Social Activism in the Classroom Conference. Educators are invited to present and participate in this free full-day conference, which will highlight the various tools and techniques used by teachers to engage their students in the history and practice of social change, inspired by the content of the Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition, Activist New York. Educators, activists, and historians will present their work to one another and will discuss the best practices for teaching this important subject to students of all ages.

Please note: Participation in the conference counts towards maintaining professional certification from the New York City Department of Education. All participating educators will receive a letter of attendance.

Email pd@mcny.org for more information.


Saturday, May 2, 2015 - Museum of the City of New York

This event is free!

Sign-in begins at 8:45 am. The day concludes at 3:30 pm.
The agenda will be posted in early spring 2015.

Participation in the conference counts towards maintaining professional certification from the New York City Department of Education. All participating educators will receive a letter of attendance.

Attending the Conference

Registration is free and is now open.
Note: Registrants may bring student participants. Student-appropriate workshops and/or panels will be indicated as such on the conference agenda.

Register Now

Presenting at the Conference

The application deadline for presenters is March 30, 2015.

Our Topic
The civil rights struggle of the 1960s strove for equal access to public and private institutions—including schools, jobs, and public accommodations—voting rights, and the empowerment of African American communities. It also served as a model for other grassroots movements by people of color in New York City and beyond. Many of these campaigns yielded tangible results, such as enormous gains in African American and Puerto Rican voter participation after the Voting Rights Act.  Yet progress has been accompanied by persistent inequalities. African American high school graduates have tripled and college graduates have increased tenfold since 1964, yet black students are still nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school than white students, and nearly half as likely to finish college.  While the number of black middle-class families has grown exponentially over the past fifty years, African Americans still make only 66 cents of each dollar earned by white workers and are three times as likely to live in poverty – similar to rates in 1959. Continued inequalities combined with recent movements responding to contemporary events presents new opportunities and challenges for connecting past with present in the classroom.

Your Proposals
We invite educators to submit proposals for conference sessions by Monday, March 30. What are your strategies for engaging students with the history of the Civil Rights movement in America? What best practices do you use for incorporating contemporary events such as Ferguson, New York City police protests, and governmental shifts abroad into your classroom? What methods have you found for investigating challenging subjects such as ongoing racial tensions and socioeconomic disparities in the United States?

Proposals for panels or workshops may target any age groups, from elementary through college. Share your strategies and best practices for Teaching Civil Rights: Then and Now, a conversation as important now as it was 50 years ago.

Panels and interactive workshops are encouraged. Sessions are 50 minutes long. Applicants must indicate the sub-theme that best relates to their session and submit a session description, a session overview, and learning outcomes. Please reference any pertinent primary and secondary sources used in your session and how they support the Common Core Standards.

Submit Session Proposal

Conference Sub-Themes

  • Reforming Educational Systems – Consider the connection between social activism and the classroom. How does social activism impact pedagogy?
  • Empathy and Acceptance – How does social activism function as a tool to teach empathy and acceptance?
  • Clicktivism: Social Media and Social Activism – What is the relationship between activism and social media? How does technology empower social activists?
  • Innovative Strategies for Teaching Historical Examples of Social Activism
  • Community Works: Making Dissent Visible in Your Community – How can educators and students engage their communities through social activism?

The Puffin Foundation

Activist New York is the inaugural exhibition in The Puffin Foundation Gallery, which is dedicated to the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have exercised their power to shape the city's and the nation's future.

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