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Posts tagged ‘primary sources’

Remembering Lincoln

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.

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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

Tip of the Week: Sourcing Overlay Strategy

First things first. If you haven’t hung out at Russell Tarr’s Toolbox, you need to head over there when we’re finished here. Russell has been creating and sharing cool tools for social studies teachers forever and it’s all incredibly handy stuff. (You might have run across Russell’s ideas before on his Active History or ClassTools.net sites.)

About a month ago, I was on his site and ran across something that I thought was very cool. I’d been searching for ideas on how to help elementary kids source evidence. You know – author, date created, audience, intent, the sort of questions that are the foundation of historical thinking.

My goto strategy has been one shared by the Library of Congress that helps kids all the way down to kindergarten start the process of historical thinking – by training them to ask questions about primary sources. The LOC example focuses on the idea of Read more

Tip of the Week: Zoom In! The future of historical thinking

I always enjoy the annual social studies nerd fest that is the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. I learn a ton and I love the sessions. But it’s the chance to meet all kinds of people that I enjoy the most.

It seems like I’m always bumping into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know. Or . . . well, if you’ve had the chance to attend you understand. The people make the conference.

And it was in St. Louis in 2013 that I got the chance to meet some folks from the Center for Children and Technology, a division of the Education Development Center. The CCT people were there talking about a new online tool called Zoom In! and I happened past their booth in the vendor area.

My first impression?

Two words. Game changer.

Seriously. If you’re a middle or high school US history teacher, this is something that you need to try. I’m not kidding. 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

Tip of the Week: Personalized PD with the LOC

Complete the following sentence in your head.

Every workshop I attend should . . .

My first thought?

include snacks and very large Diet Pepsi.

But I suppose there are a few other ways to complete the sentence. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a very interesting post by Pernille Ripp titled Every Workshop I Attend Should . . . What Attendees Wish We Knew. Powerful stuff. As someone who spends a lot of time working with teachers, it was a great reminder of what a good PD session should look like.

  • Teachers want choice
  • They want to connect with others and content
  • They want to be acknowledged as experts
  • They want practical ideas
  • They want to be inspired
  • They want the focus to be on students
  • They want it to be fun

And I’m a big believer in face to face, professional learning in groups. I love the interaction that can happen when teachers passionate about the profession get together. Using Ripp’s list as a guide is a wonderful way to measure whether the learning is of high quality.

But with this new fangled interwebs thing out there, there is also personal professional growth opportunities available that would have been impossible to find even five years ago. So where can you find professional development options that contain all of the things on Ripp’s list? Read more

Holiday Goodie Rerun VI: Using evidence and primary analysis worksheets

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read some of the top posts of 2014. I may decide to jump in with something current but if I don’t, enjoy this Holiday Goodie rerun.

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There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.

Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.

First piece of advice? Read more

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