Update: March 24
I want to highlight the live, interactive virtual field trip, hosted by Discovery Education and Ford’s Theatre this coming Thursday, March 26 at 1 pm ET. Be sure to scroll down to get all the details.
President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865, shocked the nation.
One week before, the Confederacy’s largest army had surrendered. Americans looked to the postwar future with a wide array of hopes and fears. Then came the assassination. Public reaction to Lincoln’s assassination varied widely. Some grieved. Some fretted over the future. A few celebrated. One hundred fifty years later, what can we learn from the reactions and reflections of citizens from across the nation, and even around the world?
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the assassination, Ford’s Theater has partnered with 15 different historical groups and created Remembering Lincoln. The goal of this digital collection is to localize and personalize the story of the Lincoln assassination for people around the United States and world.
Dave McIntire, middle school teacher at Wichita’s Independent School, acted as one of ten teacher representatives for the project and passed on some of the site’s details.
Remembering Lincoln seems like a great resource – not only for the interesting historical details but for the opportunity for using the site to encourage historical thinking skills. The focus of Remembering Lincoln is on sharing a variety of primary sources that document contemporary reaction to Lincoln’s death. There are four major pieces to the site: Read more
It’s February 12. And we all know what that means.
“Time to go buy Valentine candy?”
Uh . . . no.
It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthdate. Everyone knows this. Well, maybe not everyone. But for me, Lincoln’s birthday has always been one of the highlights of the year. Seriously. For as long as I can remember, February 12 has been a big day for me.
Lincoln has always been my favorite president. I can remember doing research, if you can call looking at his picture in the L volume of World Book Encyclopedia research, in first grade. And my appreciation for him has only grown since elementary school.
I grew up with the traditional rags to riches story of a self-made man, growing up in the wilds of the American west and becoming president. But he’s become much more complex as I’ve had the chance to spend time with him. Perhaps one of the most powerful professional learning experiences I have ever had was spending a week at Gettysburg College with historian Gabor Boritt.
Lincoln is more than just a tall guy with a really good media team. More than a guy who walked three miles in the rain to return six cents in chance and who split wood to make fences.
So today . . . ten things you probably didn’t know about Abraham Lincoln. Read more
Abraham Lincoln wasn’t often wrong. On November 19, 1863, he was. Following the two hour Gettysburg cemetery dedication speech by Edward Everett, Lincoln got up and spoke for two minutes.
And he can be excused for perhaps thinking that a 120 second speech would be quickly forgotten. At the time, many thought it should be.
But 150 years of hindsight does make a difference.
During his short address, Lincoln connected his present with the past of Jefferson and other Founding Fathers – making it clear that the idea “all are created equal” was as relevant in 1863 as 1776.
It still is.
I think we sometimes forget that “a new birth of freedom” was not a one-time thing. It must be ongoing and never-ending. But progress has been slow. Too often, we struggle to turn Lincoln’s vision into reality. Read more
I’ve always loved the Gettysburg Address.
And not just because of the content and Lincoln’s message but how it sounds. If you’ve ever had the chance to hear the speech delivered by a skilled orator, you know what I’m talking about. It flows. There are rhythms.
Delivered well, the Gettysburg Address provides not just an amazing picture of what America can and should look like but an incredible example of an expository speech. It’s the kind of content that you can design an entire unit around.
And you have another tool in your tool belt. Ken Burns and PBS are currently working on a film focused on the Address scheduled for airing next spring. There will be lessons, resources, and other teaching materials. But there are some cool things going on right now that you and your kids can be a part of. Read more
I’ve talked about Kevin Roughton a couple of times. Kevin’s a middle school teacher in California and is doing some cool stuff with his instruction. We’ve been talking the last few days about my earlier Historyball posts and during the conversation, he shared an interesting lesson he uses to teach historical bias and to encourage document analysis.
I asked if I could share and Kevin said sure. And I started thinking . . . what would this look like for me? Can I adapt this to fit what I do?
Because we often struggle trying to envision this sort of activity in actual practice, I think teachers sometimes revert back to what they know and feel comfortable with. And that’s not always a good thing. What we feel comfortable with isn’t always quality instruction.
So today’s tip? A quick example of how you can help kids understand bias while looking at evidence and to encourage high levels of document analysis.
1. Start by Read more
I got the chance to watch the Lincoln movie a week or so ago. Loved it. Who would have thought? A movie about constitutional law? Interesting?
But great casting, great costuming, and great performances, especially by Daniel Day Lewis, create a great movie. My wife was concerned about the length and walked out afterwards praising the movie. Even my daughter, who is not the history geek that her dad is, said:
The movie helped me see that Lincoln is an actual person, not just some historical figure in some textbook. He played with his kids while trying to run the country. I thought that was cool.
And I learned more about the process of how laws are passed and so I plan to go to a great college and become a lawyer, supporting my father in his quest to play every golf course in the state of Hawaii.
Okay. I added that last bit. But she really did enjoy how a very important piece of American history was told in an engaging and interesting way.
But how to use the movie in the classroom?