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Teaching with Historic Places, Brown v. Board, and the NPS


I always enjoy spending time at the Brown v. Board National Historic Site in Topeka, Kansas. Based in the former Monroe Elementary building, the site honors the people and ideas that culminated in the 1954 landmark case declaring state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.

It’s a history place. And, you know, I like history. So what’s not to like? Brave parents. Courageous students. Hard working lawyers. Landmark court decision. Good vs. evil. It’s a very moving experience.

The side benefit? Great staff. I worked this morning with Thom Rosenblum – site Historian, Nick Murray – Education Specialist, and Linda Rosenblum – National Teacher Ranger Teacher Coordinator as we discussed future teacher training possibilities.

But the conversation and the location got me thinking. Do classroom teachers really know what goes on at the National Park Service? We’re always looking for resources and lesson plans and materials and ideas and field trips and outside experts. Do classroom teachers know that the NPS has all of that stuff?

If they don’t, they really need to head over to their nearest national park or historic site and check out what’s available in their own back yard. Cause there’s tons of sites with tons of stuff.

Need a place to start?

And each park or site has their own goodies. So be sure to check out the digital resources that each site offers online.

The Brown site, for example, has a handy history page, some curriculum materials, distance learning options, and the friendliest staff in NPS.


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