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Events > Events for 2018-2019 > History in Middle & Upper School

New Approaches to Teaching Middle & Upper School History


March 5, 2019   10:00 - 3:30 CST

Lipscomb Academy's McCadams Athletic Center

1027 Caldwell Lane, Nashville, TN 37204 



Bring History to Life

~Jane Thomas, Lipscomb Academy


Using the Understanding Sacrifice Program in the History Classroom

~Dr. Scott Johnson, Spring Hill High School

11:55Lunch & Roundtable Discussions

Digital Humanities:  The Next Big Thing

~Dr. Mary Ellen Pethel, Harpeth Hall School & Belmont University


A New Approach to Teaching History in High School:  A Panel Discussion

~Andrew Griffith & Ellie Walsh, Pope John Paul II High School

 3:10Evaluations & Departure


 Andrew Griffith

A graduate of Duke University and Johns Hopkins University, Andrew serves of the Dean of Studies overseeing the academic program at Pope John Paul II High School. After teaching abroad in the Dominican Republic and teaching of Johns Hopkins, Andrew has been teaching high school English and History for twelve years, the past ten at Pope John Paul II High School. There, he has taught freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in English in courses ranging from college prep to AP courses. In the history department, he has taught World History, AP European History, US History, AP US History, Government and Economics. 

  Panel Discussion

This session will focus on Pope John Paul II's process of collaboratively creating a foundational course that engaged freshman students as practicing student-historians. Developed by three primary teachers (Andrew Griffith, Paul Saboe, and Ellie Walsh), the course focuses on developing societies in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, with a particular focus on examining the interactions between the developing world and Western nations in the increasingly globalizing world of the 19th and 20th centuries. Studying the impact of colonization and on the problems of social change and economic integration in 20th century will help students make connections across diverse geographic areas in order to understand the complex and diverse structures of societies today. In the fourth quarter, students seek to understand the connections between global issues and own lives by researching a contemporary crisis in the world today.  Choosing a topic ranging from problems related to AIDS, malnutrition, or educational access in a particular country, students will research the history of their issue, the structural problems associated with the crisis, and possible solutions to the contemporary problem so that they can understand how they can have a real world impact as 21st century global citizens. In addition to the variety of primary and secondary sources that will make up the core texts of the course, students regularly encounter contemporary news stories both to follow current affairs in the region and to understand the connection between history and current events.

 Mary Ellen Pethel, Ph.D.

Author, scholar, and educator Mary Ellen Pethel received her B.A. from the University of Tennessee, M.Ed. from Berry College, Ph.D. from Georgia State University. In 2018, she earned a post-graduate certificate in Digital Public Humanities at George Mason University. At the Harpeth Hall School, Dr. Pethel is the Social Science Dept. Chair, School Archivist, and the coordinator for the school’s Digital Humanities initiative. At Belmont University, she teaches in the Honors Program as well as Global Leadership Studies, including interdisciplinary courses such as "The Age of Exploration," "Making the Modern American City," "Digital Humanities," and “Introduction to Global Leadership.” She has published several articles and four books. Her latest book is entitled Athens of the New South: College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville.

 Digital Humanities:   The Next Big Thing

Digital Humanities is an explosive and emergent field. DH also represents a paradigmatic shift in education—providing a new framework for the ways in which we ask questions, gain and transfer information, and simultaneously teach/learn. Work in the field of DH can be wide-ranging but there are two common denominators for any project or research: 1) the use of mechanized media, and 2) the study of the human condition. Beyond these two factors the manifestation of Digital Humanities, as a philosophy and a methodology, is intentionally fluid and dynamic. How can secondary schools ride the DH wave? Dr. Mary Ellen Pethel will explain Harpeth Hall’s new DH@HH initiative and show administrators, teachers, and IT directors how to take the study of humanities, arts, and social sciences to the next level.


 Jane Thomas

A frequent presenter at TAIS conferences, Jane has been a teacher of grades 2-6 for 24 years, with the bulk of that time in 5th and 6th grade Social Studies.   She has taught in Metro Nashville, at Columbia Academy and has spent the last 19 years at Lipscomb Academy.   Jane is a 1988 graduate of Lipscomb University and retuned there to complete her Masters in Administration in 2004.


 Bringing History to Life:  Engaging All Learners

Are you looking for engaging activities that bring History to life? Come and get an abundance of ideas that you can implement this week.  Learn how to include hands-on and immersive experiences designed to motivate even the most reluctant learner.  This session will also give you practical ways to incorporate writing into your weekly routine. Make History the favorite class of the day with these practical tips, tricks, and tools.



  Scott Johnson, EdD

Dr. Scott Johnson is currently a high school history teacher and coach at Spring Hill High School in Columbia TN.  He has been teaching history and coaching for 20 years, beginning his career as a public-school teacher in Iowa before moving south in 2006 to work at private schools in Missouri and Tennessee, most recently at Lausanne Collegiate School and Battle Ground Academy.  While he was a public school teacher, he was named the 2004 High School History Teacher of the Year for the State of Iowa by the Iowa State Historical Society and Iowa National History Day.  While he was a private school teacher, he was selected to be the 2013 Ed Williams Teacher of the Year by the Shelby County Historical Commission and the University of Memphis Department of History. He was also named the 2014 High School History Teacher of the Year for the State of TN and the 2018 High School History Teacher of the Year for the State of TN as well by the TN State Historical Society and TN National History Day. He was the 2016-17 NHD Teacher Ambassador for the State of TN, a 2017 Understanding Sacrifice Teacher and is currently serving on the Civics Education and Engagement Advisory Board for TN Secretary of State Tre Hargett. He and his wife Kim currently reside in Spring Hill along with their fourteen-year-old son Ben.


  Using the Understanding Sacrifice Program in the History Classroom

This session will explore the World War II-focused, inquiry-based educational resources available through the Understanding Sacrifice Program that include interactive multimedia resources, lesson plans and individual service member biographies.  This program has been made possible through a partnership between the American Battle Monuments Commission, the National Cemetery Administration, National History Day and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.  Teachers should bring a laptop or a tablet for this presentation if possible.


  Ellie Walsh

A graduate of William and Mary and Vanderbilt University, Ellie is in her sixth year at JPII.  Her role is the Social Studies Department Chair.  In addition to teaching the freshman world history course and senior AP Government, Ellie is part of the technology integration team that has supported teachers through a transition to a 1:1 iPad program.   

   Ellie will be participating in the Panel Discussion.



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