The Smithsonian is not the only collection of museums in the country. There are others. But I am gonna argue that the collection of 19 Smithsonian museums and galleries is the largest and most awesome and coolest and most educational and easiest to use of them all. I mean, between the 19, they’ve got over 155 million artifacts, documents, resources, and specimens. If you can find what you need in all of that, you’re just not trying.
One of the newest and awesomest Smithsonian museums is the National Museum of the American Indian. And they just updated their education section to make your trying just a little easier.
Why is that a big deal? Read more
Yesterday, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.
I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.
I should have stopped while I was ahead. Read more
No real topic at all here today. But after finishing a great day of learning with 25 super bright social studies teachers, I feel smarter. So just a few of the random things I picked up today and a few others that I’ve been reading, thinking, and talking about.
Cause if I can get smarter, anybody can get smarter.
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed –
I, too, am America.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture officially opened on Saturday, adding one more amazing piece to the Smithsonian collection. Through its collection of artifacts and narrative, the NMAAHC makes clear that the African American story is an American one and that understanding black history and culture is critical to understanding American history and culture.
In his dedication speech, President Obama said that the NMAAHC Read more
There’s nothing like a good history museum. Interactive displays. Interesting artifacts. Knowledgeable docents. Done well, a museum visit is not just a good time but can be an incredible learning experience.
That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Especially if I’m a classroom teacher. Having students connect with evidence and explore possible theories in an environment specifically designed to support learning is something we all want for our kids.
And most history museums work very hard to find ways to get teachers and students into their buildings. The artifacts are there. The docents are there. The resources are there.
But more and more school districts are struggling to fund off-site field trips to history museums. Subs, entrance fees, fuel costs all add to make it difficult to get kids from schools into places like the Kansas History Museum. And so many museums, have been forced to develop a variety of tools that attempt to replicate actual visits.
They create and ship out traveling trunks. Create and post lesson plans online. use photos and videos to give a sense of artifacts and displays. Many museums are experimenting with online chats using Skype or Google Hangout.
Museum and Education Director Mary Madden and her staff at the Kansas Museum of History have done all of that. Their Traveling Trunks are very cool. The Read Kansas cards are a great example of practical and aligned lesson plans that focus on literacy and social studies.
But two days ago, Mary stepped into a whole new world. Together with Curriculum Specialist Marcia Fox, Mary led Read more