Studying contemporary genocide and the Jewish Holocaust should always be part of our social studies scope and sequence. But with the rise of anti-immigrant and far-right groups around the world, remembering the events and consequences of the 1930s and 1940s is becoming even more important.
And there are some no-brainer places to start as you gather and develop Holocaust teaching tools. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. Facing History and Ourselves.
But be sure to add the Echoes and Reflections site to your go-to list.
Echoes and Reflections is the result of a partnership among three other leaders in Holocaust education who bring specific knowledge, capacity, and practice to help you responsibly and effectively teach the Holocaust.
Echoes and Reflections combines: Read more
It’s been a while. Between spring break, family visits, emergency home repairs, college basketball March Madness, work related travel, and late night viewing of latest NetFlix fave Frontier, I’ve fallen behind a bit on the updates here.
It feels good to be back.
One of the things I missed over the last few weeks was the April 6 ceremony in Kansas City at the World War One Museum. The event commemorated the centennial of America’s entry into World War One. In case you missed it too, you can view the archived live stream online. And when you’re finished with browsing through the ceremony video, head back to the main section of the Museum site for other very useful resources. But be sure to budget some time – you quickly get sucked into the
The mission of the museum is pretty simple. National World War I Museum president Dr. Matthew Naylor outlines its purpose:
The National World War I Museum and Memorial is committed to remembering, understanding and interpreting the Great War and its enduring impact and this event underscores how this calamitous conflict continues to significantly affect everyone to this day.
The Museum was designated by Congress as the official WWI museum in 2004. And it is incredible. Soon after World War I ended, the Liberty Memorial Association formed to create a memorial to those who had served in the war and collected more than $2.5 million in less than two weeks. A tower was constructed along with displays. Later, in 2006, additional museum space was added.
What are some of the tools available? Read more
In 1975, the United Nations declared March to be International Women’s History Month and March 8 International Women’s Day. Later, in 1981, several women’s groups convinced Congress to declare a national Women’s History Week in the United States. In 1987, after lobbying by the National Women’s History Project, Congress expanded the week to a month.
The point is pretty obvious. March gives us a chance to take a very intentional look at the impact of women in history. It’s also a great time to examine how we can all work together to improve the rights and living conditions of women and girls around the world. But like other history months, don’t let March fool you. This is not a one time thing. Like I said back in February:
Too many of us still use February to have kids memorize random black history facts and call it good. (We also seem to have a habit of doing the same thing with women’s history and Latino history and Asian American history and Native American history and . . . well, you get the idea.)
Integrating the beliefs, values, actions, and impact of women into our content is an ongoing, year long process. But it’s a habit we need to get into and it can sometimes be difficult finding resources to plan lessons and units around.
Need a few starters? Kick off your research here Read more
You all know photographer Dorothea Lange. If not Dorothea herself, you’ll recognize her famous candid photos taken during the 1930s highlighting the struggles of Americans suffering during the Great Depression. Her iconic Migrant Mother and the series of photos around that image depict the desperation many felt during the period.
Later in 1942, she was hired by the US government to capture images of the relocation of Japanese-Americans affected by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Thousands of American citizens were being stripped of their civil liberties, their businesses, and their homes before being placed in internment camps scattered around the country.
Lange was originally opposed to the idea but accepted the task because she thought “a true record of the evacuation would be valuable in the future.” But after reviewing her photographs and their portrayal of the Japanese American experience, the military became concerned how the images of the internment program would be received by the public. Read more
The beauty of studying history is that you can never learn it all. There’s always something new to discover. A fresh piece of evidence. Another interpretation. A person or event or idea that has always been there . . . just waiting to be uncovered.
Maybe it’s a small discovery that changes how you personally understand the world. This week I learned that Paul Revere was an amateur dentist. (And if you’re like me, there’s now an image in your head of Revere on a horse – “The cavities are coming! The cavities are coming!”)
Not earth-shattering. But still cool.
And then there are those people and events that are just a bit bigger and should change how we all see the world. The movie and book Hidden Figures are like that.
Seriously? How did that slip by?
African American women calculating aeronautical and astronomical math, helping push the United States into space? In the Jim Crow South? Now that’s cool. And powerful. And part of the American story. But up until the last few years, the story of people like Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson was relatively unknown and certainly not mentioned in any of the history classes I ever took.
Which brings us to February.
And Black History Month.
I’m always a bit conflicted about the idea. The concept of a month specifically set aside for the study of Black History started back in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” That particular week was chosen because it marked the birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
In 1976, the federal government followed the lead of the Black United Students at Kent State and established the entire month as Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans, and especially teachers and schools, to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The hope was that Black History Month would provide a very intentional time for all of us to remember together the struggles of African Americans to obtain the basic civil rights afforded to others, the challenges African Americans have faced for centuries, and the contributions of African Americans to who we are. But . . . the real hope was Read more
The National Humanities Center is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to advanced study in all areas of the humanities. And it’s got some handy resources that they’ve housed at a site called America in Class that has primary and secondary resources, webinars, and lessons for history and literature teachers.
According to the site, it’s designed to promote the analytical skills called for in the Common Core ELA / Literacy standards in History/Social Studies:
- identifying and evaluating textual evidence,
- determining central ideas,
- understanding the meanings of words,
- comprehending the structure of a text,
- recognizing an author’s point of view, and
- interpreting content presented in diverse media, including visual images.
You can find a variety of things at American in Class: Read more