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?
- Find the closest park or site to you and your kids. (Plan some time. There are way more parks and sites than you think there are.)
- Find onsite events planned by the NPS.
- Dig through all sorts of lesson plans searchable by grade, content, and Common Core standards.
- Download as many resources as you want.
- Explore the awesome Teaching with Historic Places program.
- Find out more about possible field trips. (Or a virtual field trip.)
- Download over 500 Civil War Trading Cards via the Flickr link.
- Participate in the Teacher Ranger Teacher program. (Spoiler alert. You get to spend a whole summer as semi-official ranger onsite at a park or site. And, yes, you get to wear a badge.)
And each park or site has their own goodies. So be sure to check out the digital resources that each site offers online.