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1000s of historical Sanborn insurance maps. Cause . . . the more maps the better

I spent yesterday in Topeka, working with KSDE social studies guru Don Gifford and a few others such as @MsKoriGreen and @NHTOYMc to develop the next state assessment. Still in alpha version with beta testing in 2018-2019 but lots of fun talking about what it should look like.

It’s gonna be very cool btw – student focused, locally measured, aligned to historical thinking / literacy skills, and problem based. Look for an update on latest test goodness soon.

So we were all over the place in our conversation. Part of our discussion centered on ways to integrate all of the social studies into the work students will be doing. Including geography. So my mind went to maps. Really cool historical maps. And what it might look like when we use really cool historical maps with kids. So I got a bit sidetracked and did a quick interwebs search for really cool historical maps.

Piece of advice. Don’t do this unless you’ve got more than a few minutes to kill. Cause you will end up in a rabbit hole of geography map goodness. Plus I saved you the trouble.

During my poking around, I ran across the Library of Congress Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps collection. It’s got all the cool historical mapness you’ll need today. Read more

Tip of the Week: Prepping kids for a complex world

Need a brain break? Ready for some current event / world culture / global literacy questions?

Here ya go. Six basic questions covering events of the day and an awareness of the world around you. (Check your work at the bottom of the post.)

1. In which of these countries is a majority of the population Muslim?
a. South Africa
b. Armenia
c. India
d. Indonesia

2. Which language is spoken by the most people in the world as their primary language?
a. Russian
b. Mandarin Chinese
c. English
d. Arabic

3. Which country is the largest trading partner of the United States, based on the total dollar value of goods and services?
a. Canada
b. China
c. Mexico
d. Saudi Arabia

4. Approximately what percentage of the United States federal budget is spent on foreign aid?
a. 1 percent
b. 5 percent
c. 12 percent
d .30 percent
e. 40 percent

5. Which countries is the United States bound by treaty to protect if they are attacked? (select all that apply)
a. Canada
b. China
c. Japan
d. Mexico
e. North Korea
f. Russia
g. South Korea
h. Turkey

6. True or False
Over the past five years, the number of Mexicans leaving the United States and returning to Mexico has been greater than the number of Mexicans entering the United States. Read more

So you love geography? Become a National Geographic certified educator

We all love geography, right? Maps. Human interactions with place. Movement. Impact on historical events and current affairs. More maps. Digital maps. Land forms. Microclimates. Changes over time.

What’s not to love? It’s just too cool.

So okay. Maybe you don’t love geography as much as I do. I suppose that’s possible. But . . . whether you love it a ton or just put up with it, I don’t think that we spend enough time helping kids see the connections between geography and the other social studies disciplines. And that’s a problem.

But I’ve got a solution. Read more

Tip of the Week: Summer Reading List 2017

This year may be a little tough. My July is scheduled full of days that I get to spend with social studies teachers around the country. But my hopes are high.

Regular History Tech readers already know this – every summer since I finished my first year as a middle school US history teacher, I’ve put together a summer reading list. Several teachers down the hall had taken me into their inner circle and suggested, very strongly, that I needed to do more during the summer months than life guard and paint houses – that growing professionally over the summer was a non-negotiable. This professional growth might include some sort of face to face professional learning opportunity but it definitely included creating a personal reading list.

Best. Advice. Ever. It’s really more than just a reading list – it’s the idea that teachers need to continually work on honing their craft and a summer reading list is a practical way to make that happen. So . . . I picked some books with content. Some with process. Some for fun. And started the fall semester smarter than when I left in the spring. So have been doing it ever sense.

The problem is that I have never, not once, not ever, finished my summer list. And July obligations and an extensive honey-do list makes it unlikely that 2017 is the year I actually cross the finish line.

Sigh.

But I’m still creating the list. Cause . . . you know. It could happen. I could finish. I’m not kidding around this year. Seriously.

There’s no real theme this summer. Just a few books that look interesting and that should make me better at what I do: Read more

50+ tasty tools for building historical literacy

We’re all on the lookout for great materials and tools that can help as we design instruction. SHEG. Library of Congress. National Archives. Evidence Window Frames.

So it’s alway a pleasant surprise when a list of handy dandy tools and resources drops in your lap. About a week ago, I was searching for a specific online article that I had forgotten to Pocket. And . . . the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools: K-12 Social Studies resource page popped up in the results.

Instant fan.

Drew Hammill and John Nabors work as Read more