Iowa Council for the Social Studies

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2023 ICSS Conference 

The 2023 ICSS Fall Conference, ""Standing Up for Social Studies."," is scheduled for Monday, October 16th at the Graduate Hotel in Iowa City. 

There has never been a better time to attend the ICSS Conference. Come get inspired and get ideas to help your students gain the skills they need to create a future in which they want to grow old. ICSS is ready to support you with standards implementation, resources, strategies, technologies, camaraderie and motivation to crush social studies instruction this year.  ICSS Conference offers powerful PD sessions by teachers for teachers in every level and every discipline. Join social studies teachers across the state and learn about a wealth of topics and teaching strategies.

Keynote Speaker:  Tim Smyth   

Bio -

Tim Smyth is a high school social studies educator of more than 20 years who travels the country giving professional development on the power of teaching with comics. Tim has been a part of a global online comics in education program through the US State Department, uniting students through pop culture and shared experiences. He has been published by many outlets sharing his experiences in the classroom and also shares many of his resources on his website, In July 0f 2022, his first book was published from Routledge - Teaching With Comics and Graphic Novels. Additionally, he works with publishers, such as Scholastic, MacMillan, and PBS to create teacher guides and curriculum. In his work with educators, Smyth has also facilitated coursework through the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Studies program, using his book as the core text. Tim is a true comics in education evangelist, knowing the importance of this medium as his own three nerdy kids have come to love all things literacy through comics. 

Description of book -

This text will allow you to harness students’ love of comics and graphic novels while increasing critical thinking and engagement in the classroom. Author Tim Smyth offers a wide variety of lessons and ideas for using comics to teach close reading, working with textual/visual evidence, literature adaptations, symbolism and culture, sequencing, essay writing, and more. He also models how to use comics to tackle tough topics and enhance social-emotional learning. Throughout the book, you’ll find a multitude of practical resources, including a variety of lesson plans—some quick and easy activities as well as more detailed ready-to-use unit plans. These thoughtful lessons meet the Common Core State Standards and are easy to adapt for any subject area or grade level to fit into your curriculum. Add this book to your professional library and you’ll have a new and exciting way of reaching and teaching your students!

Description of break-out session

Comics and graphic novels serve as powerful tools for student engagement and literacy across all levels and subjects. This high interest medium is embraced by students even beyond the traditional superhero stories that should not be overlooked by educators. These stories emotionally involve our students and allow them to literally see themselves in the pages, but also to gain windows into the lives of others. Tim will showcase the power of comics to develop annotation and literacy skills, to help students understand the reflection of history in pop culture as artifact, and much more. Specific lesson plans, tied to Common Core and 21st Century learning, will be shared that can be used in all classrooms the very next day. This presentation will include tips on obtaining classroom comic resources, information on online comics teacher communities, and common core connections to help win over those unfamiliar with this medium to what we already know - that comics open doors to powerful learning.

Learn more about Tim: History Comics

The Iowa Council for the Social Studies is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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