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Posts tagged ‘kansas’

Can you say Jayhawker? Cause it’s Kansas Day 2019!

Today is Kansas Day. How cool is that?

If you didn’t know already, the state of Kansas is an unbelievably interesting place. And way more than just a flyover.

She was once called the Great American Desert, a title mistakenly given her by temporary passers-through. She’s always been home to huge herds of North American bison, vast expanses of seven foot tall Big Bluestem prairie grass, forested hills, hawks, bobcats, coyotes, the Arkansas and Big Blue rivers, Cottonwood trees, a ton of deer and antelope a-playing, and not just a few amazing people.

Indigenous nations. Explorers and Pony Express riders. Politicians. Artists. Aviators, scientists and writers. Reformers. Populists. Pizza makers. And lots and lots of people who grow the food we eat every day.

Kansas turns 158 today. And it’s her people that make her who she is.

The Great Plains and Kansas have always been home Read more

It’s Kansas Day! It’s Kansas Day!

Tonight, in the Sunflower Showdown, the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the Kansas State University Wildcats play each other in basketball for the 288th time. And today is Kansas Day. How cool is that?

The state of Kansas is an unbelievably interesting place. And is much more than just basketball.

She was once called the Great American Desert, a title mistakenly given her by temporary passers-through. She’s always been home to huge herds of North American bison, vast expanses of seven foot tall Big Bluestem prairie grass, forested hills, hawks, bobcats, coyotes, the Arkansas and Big Blue rivers, Cottonwood trees, a ton of deer and antelope a-playing, and not just a few amazing people.

Indians. Cowboys. Explorers and Pony Express riders. Politicians. Artists. Aviators, scientists and writers. Reformers. Populists. Pizza makers. Farmers. Lots and lots of farmers.

Kansas turns 157 today. And it’s her people that make her who she is. Read more

Happy Birthday Jayhawkers!

She was once called the Great American Desert, a title mistakenly given her by temporary passers-through. She’s always been home to huge herds of North American bison, vast expanses of seven foot tall Big Bluestem prairie grass, forested hills, hawks, bobcats, coyotes, the Arkansas and Big Blue rivers, Cottonwood trees, a ton of deer and antelope a-playing, and not just a few amazing people.

Indians. Cowboys. Explorers and Pony Express riders. Politicians. Artists. Aviators, scientists and writers. Reformers. Populists. Pizza makers. Farmers. Lots and lots of farmers.

Kansas turns 155 today. And it’s her people that make her who she is. Read more

NCHE Session IV – Read Kansas cards and lessons

I started the day picking on the NCHE “history nerds” a bit and how they love cranking up their conference way too early. I’m not making fun anymore. This is becoming a long day. Two more sessions and a quick run through the vendor area before things wrap up.

But it’s a good kind of tired.

And two of my favorite people are hosting a session so I’m off to Ballroom Pershing South and Kansas Read cards with Mary Madden and Marcia Fox. Mary and Marcia are from the Kansas State Historical Society. They have been instrumental in creating and distributing 76 different lessons for K-12 students.

The cards are designed to deeply engage kids in primary and secondary sources, historical thinking skills, and cooperative learning. And they are awesome.

Just so you know – Read Kansas cards are written to help Kansas teachers teach Kansas history. But . . . because there are so many historical periods, events, and people that are really national events (John Brown, Bleeding Kansas, Indian Removal Act, Brown v. Board) the Read Kansas cards can be used by just about everyone.

You can purchase the cards and get sweet, full color laminated sets. Or download PDF black and white versions for free. Either way you get great lessons aligned with state standards and the Common Core.

Fiction, poetry, and teaching history

I watch the wagon
until I see nothing on the open plain.
For the first time ever,
I am alone.

May B

I am a huge believer in having kids read and write as much as possible while in history class. And one of the best ways to engage kids is to have them read fiction, especially poetry and verse.

One of the best examples of historical fiction in a poetry format is Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Out of the Dust is an incredible story that sucks in middle school readers as it describes the life of 14-year -old Billie Jo in Dust Bowl Oklahoma.

If you’re a bit unsure about how to incorporate this poetry book into your class, use supporting materials such as Literature Guide: Out of the Dust or A Guide for Using Out of the Dust in the Classroom. Another great way to integrate Out of the Dust is to have kids compare and contrast the historical fiction content with a non-fiction book such as Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp.

But Out of the Dust is not alone anymore.

A recent book by Caroline Starr Rose titled May B also does an excellent job of capturing the emotions of history students. While Out of the Dust spends its time in the 1930s, May B focuses on the late 1800s Kansas prairie and helps provide a rich context to the Western movement.

May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead—just until Christmas, her pa promises. But a terrible turn of events leaves her all alone and she must try to find food and fuel—and courage—to make it through the approaching winter.

It seemed like a great book for any class studying regions, Kansas History, and US History. But I needed an expert. So I asked my wife, an experienced elementary/middle level teacher, for her opinion.

I loved May B. The writing is vivid and beautiful. It captures the severe and sometimes terrible beauty of the Kansas prairies but also beautifully portrays a girl struggling to embrace who she is. This middle level book shares what life was like during this period in Kansas history and is captivating to the end. It would be perfect for reading aloud in class, perfect for grades 4-8, and perfect for a family to enjoy together.

The author has created a handy teacher’s guide helpful for integrating the book and its content into your class.

I’m curious. What other poetry and verse historical fiction are we missing? What do you use?

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Kansapedia – No brainer for Kansas teachers and pretty darn handy for the rest of you

I’ve always liked the Kansas State Historical Society. They’ve got a great museum, I did some of my graduate work deep in their archives and they pushed the completion of the best Kansas history textbook ever.

And lately, they’ve been doing some great stuff with digital and social media stuff. They started with Territorial Kansas, added Kansas Memory after that and recently added their latest contribution to the digital world – Kansapedia.

Modeled after the idea of online encyclopedias, Kansapedia is a treasure trove of well-written articles on a wide variety of subjects. For social studies teacher in Kansas, this is a no-brainer. You’ve got experts in Kansas history, geography, people and events sharing their expertise with your kids for free. Every kid’s computer in the state ought to have a Kansapedia shortcut on the desktop.

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