I still remember the week of The Civil War by Ken Burns. It was early in my first teaching position as an 8th grade US history teacher in Derby, America. And it was amazing. So Ken and I have continued to hang out over the last few decades.
Jazz. Baseball. World War II. The Roosevelts.
And now . . . Vietnam.
But this one feels different somehow. Still mesmerizing. Still great production values. Still engaging. Still solid history. But maybe it just feels too recent to be comfortable history.
Vox writer Read more
It’s always fun having my kids around during the summer. We chat about books, take short trips, discuss politics, argue about gardening techniques, and they make fun of my love for the Kansas City Royals.
The youngest one heads back to school in Minnesota in a few weeks. She’s been busy this summer selling snow cones and working in the local library. And . . . wait for it . . .
. . . she’s also spent two days a week as an National Archives unpaid intern at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. How cool is that? The other day, she got the one on one backstage pass tour of stored artifacts. She knows I love the golf so she made sure to share how, among other things, she held Dwight’s Augusta National member’s green jacket. And his favorite golf hat.
You know. Just rubbing my nose in it.
But she’s also come home excited about Read more
The Kansas state social studies standards are designed to “prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves.” Different benchmarks under each of the standards require that students make connections between the past and contemporary issues.
The recent Kansans Can Vision developed by the Department of Ed is pushing schools throughout the state to focus on authentic civic engagement and integrate it across grades and content areas.
I’m sure that you have similar sorts of standards and expectations where you teach.
It’s pretty simple really. When kids are informed and thoughtful, when they understand the necessity for being civically engaged, and when they actually put into practice the ideas outlined in the founding documents, our communities and our country are a better place.
And now . . . we have the recent events in Charlottesville.
Your task as a social studies teacher has never been easy. Connecting past to present can make it harder. Conversations about race and violence harder still. It can be easy to just wait for things to blow over. But if we truly believe that what we do makes a difference, those conversations need to happen.
What can that sort of conversation look like?
The words of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are a good place to start: Read more
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