It’s that time of year again. Constitution Day 2014. September 17.
You know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. My favorite Founding Father?
Ben Franklin. He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.
Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?
And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign: Read more
It’s day one of our Social Studies PLC and I am pumped. It’s always a great time and I’m always learning something new. The core members of the group are from the Century of Progress Teaching American History grant project but in the last year, we’ve added a ton of new people.
New people equals new ideas. New strategies and resources. So . . . yeah, it’s gonna be fun.
We’ve settled into the habit of spending our mornings focusing on a specific topic. We’ll kick off this year the same way by spending the am talking about the best ways to use artifacts as teaching tools. There’ll be a variety of things that we gonna do including: Read more
Using photos, videos, and other types of images is one of the most effective ways to hook kids into your content. Images can create emotion, explain events, generate questions, and help solve problems.
But sometimes it can be difficult integrating visuals into your instruction. What images to use? What activities work best? How can you align these activities with national and state standards?
Picturing United States History: An Interactive Resource for Teaching with Visual Evidence can help. Created by the folks at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at the City University of New York Graduate Center with funding support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the site is a digital project based on the belief that visual materials are vital to understanding the American past. Read more
I’m a huge believer in the power of visuals to encourage critical thinking and to support long-term retention. As social studies teachers we need to do a better job of finding ways to integrate visuals such as art and propaganda posters into our instructor.
Stuck for ideas and resources?
Try the Smithsonian.
Finding online primary sources is never easy. While there are many online archives and tons of primary sources, we don’t always know where those archives live. Even if you can find a helpful archive online somewhere, it can be difficult tracking down exactly what you’re looking for. (This page might help a little.)
And I’m not sure today’s find is gonna help. But it is a very cool place to find primary sources that are incredibly interesting. Created and maintained by Salon, the site is called The Vault. You gotta love the site’s tagline:
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
So definitely continue to use to sites such as the Library of Congress, National Archives, and World History Documents but be sure to fav The Vault as well. Because you are going to run across stuff that is perfect for hooking your kids into a specific topic and for building content knowledge.
Some recent examples? Read more
Are you kidding me? Seriously?
Thousands of historical newspapers from all over the country? Yup. And over 7,892,470 actual newspaper pages? Let that sink in for just a moment. Yup. But where, you ask, can I find such an incredible research tool? The very useful Chronicling America site from the Library of Congress, of course.
You’d think I’d be happy with almost eight million pages to play with. I mean, it’s 7,892,470 pages. Which is . . . you know, a lot. The 7,892,470+ pages cover newspapers from almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 1836 to 1922.
But once you get in the collection, it’s easy to get a little greedy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some coverage from the Civil War? The Great Depression? Prohibition? WWII? Vietnam? Hippies? 9/11?
Still . . . Read more