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Posts tagged ‘primary sources’

#nche2016: Nathan McAlister and Teaching Literacy through History

I can say that I knew Nathan before he became famous. He and I worked together in our first Teaching American History project. A few years later in 2010, he was selected as the National Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the Year. He was and still is a middle school teacher at Royal Valley Middle School. And just so you know, he’s awesome.

So when I decided to attend this session and found out that Nathan was the presenter, well . . . double bonus.

At its core, the Teaching Literacy through History is an interdisciplinary professional development program that uses primary documents and historical texts to improve K–12 education. GLI wants to come to your school or district to help create lessons and curriculum. Read more

#nche2016: Using the story of Angel Island to build elementary historical thinking skills

One of the cool things that is happening around the country is that more and more elementary classrooms are focusing on integrating history into their instruction. But there are always questions about what this can look like. During this session, Lisa Hutton from California State University, Dominguez Hills shared some ideas of things teachers can do to support historical thinking skills with grade school kids.

The idea? Use foundational knowledge / specific historical events to build the historical thinking and literacy skills. She used the engaging and powerful story of Pacific and Asian immigrants during the early 1900s who transitioned through Angel Island off the coast of California.

Lisa started with her historical inquiry process model: Read more

Library of Congress online conference archives

Last fall, the Library of Congress hosted its first online conference. Education experts and subject matter specialists presented 15 different sessions discussing resources and teaching strategies for using primary sources in the classroom.

And it was awesome. But I have to admit . . .  I didn’t actually attend the thing. I didn’t have time during the actual day to sit through the different webinars. So I missed it.

But it was still awesome.

Because the LOC posted all of the webinars online. Meaning I could pick and choose, listening to the presentations when I had time. And I’ve slowly worked my way through them. The cool thing is that you as well. If you missed the conference or perhaps hadn’t even heard about the goodness that was the first ever LOC online conference, it’s not too late. Read more

Tip of the Week: Assessing historical thinking made easy

Several years ago, I had the chance to be part of a learning community facilitated by Bruce Lesh. At the time, Bruce was teaching high school in Maryland and traveled to Kansas for a week as part of our Century of Progress TAH grant.

He shared a ton of great stuff including his idea of History Labs and the process of historical thinking. Like many of us, part of his social studies world view included ideas from Sam Wineburg. Wineburg uses the semantics of sourcing, contextualizing, and corroborating. He also talks quite a bit about kids working to “read between the lines” as part of that analysis process.

Bruce altered that language a bit and used the words text, context, and subtext to describe student thinking skills. The basic idea is the same but I like the alliteration / re-use of the word “text” and how that can help kids remember what their task is when making sense of evidence. Since then, teachers in the group have continued to use his vocabulary.

Many of the TAH project participants continue to meet four times a year to share ideas and hone their skills. Yesterday was day four of the year and among other things, we celebrated the birthday of Thomas Jefferson and hosted a historical political campaign t-shirt design contest. Read more

Historical social media creation tool

Imagine a social media campaign during the 1860 election.

What would Twitter posts from the Lincoln campaign look like? How might Stephen Douglas have used Facebook? Breckinridge and Instagram? Would Bell have posted video?

One of the conversations we had today in our spring social studies PLC was the use of social media tools both with current and historical events. Is it productive to encourage the use of social media and smart devices in the classroom? We didn’t really solve anything.

But we had fun discussing it.

We did chat about some instructional possibilities. One of those involved having kids develop a social media campaign for past elections. If current social media tools were available to historical figures, what would the branding look like? What platform would people of the past have used? What would they say? Could kids take speeches, letters, photos, from past elections and create messages for social media?

I think the answer is Read more

Tip of the Week: New York Public Library Digital Collection

Finding primary sources and evidence to use as part of the teaching and learning process can be a massive timesuck.

Back in the day, all we had was whatever showed up with the textbook supplementals. If we were lucky, we might have access to some semi-realistic jackdaw collections. And because the pool was so shallow, there were usually two outcomes. You found something you could use almost immediately or you didn’t find anything at all.

But now with so many digital options available, having too many resources can sometimes be just as bad as not having enough. It can be difficult knowing where to start and how to search for what you need. Which resources can help me find what I need?

Of course, there are the no-brainers. Read more

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