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Posts tagged ‘newspapers’

Chronicling America, historical newspapers, and maps

If the Library of Congress Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website is not already part of your go-to primary sources toolkit, put your coffee down and bookmark it already. Chronicling America is a huge collection of digitized newspapers from around the United States published between 1836 and 1925. There are a variety of ways to search the database but no matter how you search, you get visual reproductions of complete newspaper pages that contain your search terms.

Say you want your students to compare and contrast contemporary accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg. Head over  to the Chronicling America site, adjust the dates to limit the search to 1863, and type in your keywords of “battle gettysburg.” Over 800 results appear.

I will often filter the results by clicking the “Show only front pages” box and now I’m down to around 200. I also usually select the List view rather than the gallery view to start – I can scan more quickly through the list. (Though the gallery view does Read more

Newseum is a no-brainer for all social studies classrooms

I’ve been on a current events kick lately. A recent newsletter from social studies guru Mike Hasley reminded me of another awesome news resource called Newseum. And apparently I’ve never really posted anything about Newseum here at History Tech.

Not sure how I’ve never gotten around to that. The Newseum is a very cool, actual museum located in Washington DC with a powerful online presence. Their mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” And I know that you’ve got one or two other museum choices in DC but if you’re in the area, the Newseum is a very fun place to spend some time. Last time I visited, they had an awesome exhibit highlighting Pulitzer Prize winner photographs and the stories behind them. Amazing.

But the cool thing is that even if you can’t make it across the country for an actual visit, the Newseum has a Read more

Historical newspapers and analog Google Docs mashup

The big push nowadays in the social studies world is using evidence and authentic problems to train kids to think historically. We want students to go beyond just simple rote memorization. To be successful citizens, they need the skills to look at a problem from all sides, collect evidence, analyze the evidence, and develop a solution to the problem.

Of course, if you’ve tried this, you already know that the process of training kids to do this is not easy. There’s a lot of stuff that has to happen but it really can be narrowed down to a few things:

  • creating authentic problems
  • finding evidence for kids to analyze
  • instructional strategies that teach them how to use that evidence

And I’m discovering that a lot of teachers especially struggle with the last two. Though there are tons of print and online primary / secondary sources around, it can be difficult and time-consuming trying to track them all down. It can also be hard finding different teaching strategies that are effective.

So today a little of both. Read more

Chronicling America – 1000s of historical newspapers

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

Thousands of historical newspapers from all over the country? Yup. And over 7,892,470 actual newspaper pages? Let that sink in for just a moment. Yup. But where, you ask, can I find such an incredible research tool? The very useful Chronicling America site from the Library of Congress, of course.

You’d think I’d be happy with almost eight million pages to play with. I mean, it’s 7,892,470 pages. Which is . . . you know, a lot. The 7,892,470+ pages cover newspapers from almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 1836 to 1922.

But once you get in the collection, it’s easy to get a little greedy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some coverage from the Civil War? The Great Depression? Prohibition? WWII? Vietnam? Hippies? 9/11?

Still . . .  Read more

Google News for finding primary sources. Sweet!

While it is possible, I suppose, to teach social studies and history without primary sources, it’s probably not a good idea. And while there are more and more places to find primary sources, it can still be difficult to track down stuff that you can use.

It’s can be especially difficult finding newspapers.

Enter Google News.

Google News is already an awesome tool for finding resources for current events around the world. But if you know where to look, Google News is also great for finding old newspapers for use in your instruction.

Steps? Read more

eBooks, online media and “flimsy paper”

I miss my newspaper.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a newspaper reader. I started small. The Garden City Telegram was an afternoon delivery and just couple of sections but it got me into a routine . . . comics, sports, opinion page.

Went off to college and had the best of both worlds – the Hillsboro Free Press, a weekly local paper with a focus on crop reports, small town events and high school basketball scores and the New York Times, delivered a day late to the college library.

Moves to Wichita and eventually back to Hillsboro hooked me into the Wichita Eagle-Beacon, later just the Eagle. Delivered everyday. To my driveway. In the morning. Comics, sports, opinion page.



The Wichita Eagle has decided that there are not enough subscribers in the county to justify home delivery. They cut me off a couple of weeks ago.

I’m past the denial stage and have moved into bargaining. I’ll probably end up getting the Hutchinson News. (It’s not bad but, seriously, the Hutch News? How creative, a newspaper called the News.) And I do have the online version of the Eagle, so . . .

My “friends” haven’t been a lot of help.

  • You could print out the website on flimsy paper with smudgy ink.
  • I dropped my morning statewide paper, because the entire thing is available in their iPad app. The cost is less too.
  • I stopped getting the paper years ago. I get all the news on my laptop/iPad.
  • You could join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Yeah. I get it. I have an iPad. Two, actually. There are 13 internet devices in my house, not including the Wii, Apple TV and Netflix-enabled Blueray player. I have a website called History Tech. Another called Social Studies Central. I’ve got a Twitter and a Plurk account. I’m on Facebook and use a password app to help me log in to all the different sites I visit. So I am well aware of this whole new world of the Interwebs. But I still need a newspaper.

If you can’t tell, I’m a little bitter.

I’ll probably get over it.

But the whole thing has gotten me thinking about why I like paper so much. And not just newspaper but magazines and books. Especially books. I love books more than I love newspapers.

What I like:

  • The smell of books. Especially old books. I walked into the Queen Anne Bookstore in Seattle several weeks ago and immediately fell in love. It smelled like books. And coffee.
  • I like the different feel and heft of books. A quality, hard copy is great by the fire. The paperbook version is perfect for the hammock.
  • It’s hard to lend someone an eBook. More importantly, it’s hard for someone else to loan me an ebook.
  • While it’s possible to know how far along you are in an eBook, a percentage usually of the remaining total, I like dog-earring a page and seeing what I got left.
  • No one ever comments on or starts a conversation about the eBook I’m reading at the coffee shop.

But I also started thinking about why I’m falling in love with digital media.

  • Small size. I can load up 100s of books, magazines and newspapers on my iPad / iPhone.
  • I like being able to create my own books and articles using the ePub format, PDFs and apps like Book Creator. The opportunity for educators to customize content and resources for their own classes is huge.
  • I love the fact that digital newspapers, magazines and books can be incredibly deep and multimedia rich. Video, audio, photos, additional information, supplementary materials and collaboration can all be built into digital stuff.
  • The problem with Queen Anne Books? Limited selection. I could easily spend a whole day in there but it’s still gonna be just a few thousand books. iBooks, Kindle, digital libraries have hundreds of thousands.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s both/and not either/or. I’m still ticked that the bean counters at the Wichita Eagle cut me off. But I do understand that eBooks and digital media have their own advantages. And as educators, we need to be willing to use both.



I have been reading the online / iPad version of the Wichita Eagle and getting used to it. But this morning, got this error message instead:

Yes, still a little bitter.

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