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Becoming US is latest from Smithsonian. And it’s a no-brainer. (Seriously. Go there now.)

I got the chance to attend and present at the very awesome Minnesota Council for the Social Studies conference this weekend. (Thanks @jessellison!) Spending time with hundreds of other social studies teachers is always a good thing. I always walk away smarter.

But some days you don’t just walk away smarter . . . you walk away SMARTER. Today was one of those days. And I know that I just posted something a few days ago about the new cool Smithsonian Open Access tool. But this afternoon, Orlando Serrano from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History highlighted a new website from NMAH that really blew me away. And I gotta share.

If you already know all about the new site titled Becoming US, nothing to see here. But if you’re looking for high school resources, case studies, primary sources, and units all centered around the idea of immigration and migration history in a more accurate and inclusive way, then hang around a bit.

I literally just heard about the site two hours ago so feel free to poke around on your own because, well . . . I’m only two hours ahead of you. But basic overview? The Smithsonian has packaged a variety of in-depth teaching tools around five themes centered on immigration and migration:

  • Borderlands
  • Education
  • Policy
  • Belonging
  • Resistance

When did NMAH create the site?

The people of North America came from many cultures and spoke different languages long before the founding of the United States, even before European contact. At the center of Becoming US is the understanding that some people were already in the land that is today the United States, some people were brought against their will, some people came voluntarily, and some people never moved but became part of the United States as its border expanded to include them.

Despite the nation’s history of immigration, incorporation, and importation of people to the place we now call the United States, most school curricula leave out key truths and themes about how people become American and live in the nation together. Becoming US provides resources that change how migration and immigration are learned.

I love that much of the curricula and lessons are connected to the Smithsonian Learning Lab collections. And I like that each case study has everything I might need to teach the lesson, including a focus on inquiry and the use of evidence. You get essential questions, teaching suggestions, vocabulary, timelines, primary sources, closing reading tools, suggestions for discussions, and assessment ideas. In a lot of ways, I’m reminded a bit of the Inquiry Design Model lessons you can find at C3 Teachers.

These case studies seem perfect for immediate use in US history, government, or current event courses. So whether you need something for tomorrow or something next month, head over and give it a look.

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Glenn is a curriculum and tech integration specialist, speaker, and blogger with a passion for technology and social studies. He delivers engaging professional learning across the country with a focus on consulting, presentations, and keynotes. Find out more about Glenn and how you might learn together by going to his Work with Me page.

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