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S-GI teacher Joe Karb named C-SPAN 2013 senior teacher fellow

Joe Karb

SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute teacher Joe Karb was named a C-SPAN Senior Teacher Fellow for 2013 by the C-SPAN Education Foundation.

Karb, an eighth grade social studies teacher, was awarded a prior C-SPAN fellowship in 2010, making him eligible for the senior fellowship he received this September. According to a Sept. 17 press release by the foundation, “C-SPAN Senior Fellows are expert social studies teachers who are familiar with using C-SPAN’s programs and resources to create innovative teaching materials.”

C-SPAN is a television network founded in 1979 by cable television networks as a public service, according to its website.

The network focuses on political coverage, including “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the U.S. House and Senate. The C-SPAN Education Foundation, which named Karb as a senior teaching fellow, also supports the educational programs and activities of C-SPAN Classroom, an organization offering “a free membership service dedicated to support educators’ use of C-SPAN programming in their classes for research,” according to its press release.

According to the foundation, Karb was chosen, along with a Chicago-area high school teacher, Cara Gallagher, “by a panel of C-SPAN representatives and evaluated based on their innovative use of C-SPAN programming, dedication to learning new technologies and commitment to professional development.”

The latest honorific is another in a list of accolades for Karb, including director of teacher initiatives at the Robert H. Jackson Center, a Civic Voices Fellowship and a 2010 School Innovation Award by Buffalo Business First.

Karb said the 2013 fellowship came as a surprise.

“It’s a great honor,” said Karb. “I’ve worked with C-SPAN for several years, and to be chosen as a senior fellow was a surprise, and it’s amazing.”

According to the foundation’s press release, senior fellows will collaborate with C-SPAN Classroom to create educational resources for teachers and students – which is familiar territory for Karb.

During his first fellowship tenure, Karb worked with the organization to develop “Constitution Clips,” which linked video clips from C-SPAN’s library to relevant sections of the US Constitution. For example, article I, section 3 of the Constitution stipulates that the vice president serve as the president of the Senate, and only votes in the event of a tie. Linked to that passage on the Constitution Clips website is a short video of former Vice President Dick Cheney doing just that – breaking a tie in a Senate vote.

Karb said his next project makes similar use of C-SPAN’s video library. “I’ll be working on a project called ‘C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations.’”

He explained the project is a website, hosted by C-SPAN Classroom, that presents “different primary source video clips,” along with classroom activities, that “allow students in class to engage different issues.

“The deliberations will have a different topic each month, and I started working on a new deliberation dealing with the [National Security Administration] spying scandal; so, once again, I’ll be showing both sides of the argument, and it includes activities for students to debate, or have a mock Congress in class or to write about the issues.”

Karb said he hadn’t yet told his students about the fellowship, though he said he will soon.

In the meantime, fellow S-GI eighth grade social studies teacher Drew Beiter said of his colleague, “It’s great to see him recognized, and to see his wonderful influence expand around the country.”

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