November 22, 2017

Timely Connections: Fake News & Civic Reasoning

Practicing primary source analysis helps students develop historical thinking skills that also happen to be very important civic literacy skills. In an article from the Fall 2017 issue of American Educator, Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) provides assessments of online civic reasoning and tips for going beyond identifying news as "fake" or "real" to understanding where information comes from and who is behind it. Social studies consultant and History Tech blogger Glenn Wiebe provides … [Read more...]

NHD 2018: Selecting a Topic for a History Project

The graphic above from the Chicago Metro History Fair (CMHF) is a great encapsulation of how to choose a topic for a history fair project. In addition, ask yourself the questions listed below. Does the topic relate to the 2018 National History Day (NHD) theme: Conflict & Compromise in History? For Illinois students, does the topic relate to local or Illinois state history? Does the topic really interest you? Do you have a personal connection to the topic? (It’s not necessary … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Immigrant Soldiers

The United States is a nation of immigrants, many of whom have served the country in times of need. Below you will find links to news articles about immigrant soldiers, historical background resources, and related primary sources and teaching resources. How does studying sources from the past inform your understanding of the contemporary debate surrounding immigrants in the U.S. armed forces? Articles Immigrant Soldiers Win Pause Of Rules Blocking Citizenship Law360 October 30, 2017 … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Slavery & Compromise

In a Fox News interview with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Oct. 30, 2017, the former marine general said that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War”. Kelly's statement set off a firestorm of impassioned responses across traditional and social media about the cause of the Civil War and the history of slavery and compromise prior to this seminal event. Read some of the contemporary articles, review background information about compromises over slavery prior to the … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Individual Influence

The article, In a Lost Essay, a Glimpse of an Elusive Poet and Slave (The New York Times Sept. 25, 2017), tells the intriguing story of the discovery of a primary source text by Jonathan Senchyne, an assistant professor of book history at the University of Wisconsin. The essay, "Individual Influence" by North Carolina slave and poet George Moses Horton, was found in a scrapbook documenting an 1856 University of North Carolina (UNC) controversy compiled by Henry Harrisse, a 19th-century historian … [Read more...]

Literature Links: Her Right Foot

Tom Bober (@CaptainLibrary), teacher librarian extraordinaire and former teacher in residence at the Library of Congress, put together a fantastic primary source set to accompany the picture book, Her Right Foot, by Dave Eggers. In a post on Knowledge Quest from the American Association of School Librarians, Tom details a plan for pairing primary source analysis with the book to help students explore how and why the the Statue of Liberty was built and to deepen their understanding of this … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: U.S. National Anthem & American Flag

Help students learn about the history and contemporary contexts of the U.S. national anthem and the American flag. Teaching resources Learning from the Source: The Star Spangled Banner (K-2) Learning from the Source: The Star Spangled Banner (grades 3-5) Stars, Stripes and Symbols of America: Comparing Our Flag, Past and Present (grades 1-2) Direct students do some background research on the U.S. flag and the U.S. National anthem. Then instruct them to read at least one of … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Preamble to the Constitution Image Sequencing

Students deepen their understanding of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution with this primary source image sequencing activity. Lesson implementation Direct students to work individually, in pairs or in small groups to write a definition of the word “democracy”. When students have finished, tell them that the word “democracy” comes from two Greek words: “demos” meaning “people” and “kratos” meaning “power” or “authority.” Ask them if they now want to revise the definitions they … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: U.S. Constitution

Primary source lesson plans & activities American Memory Timeline: Primary Source Excerpts and Discussion Questions Related to the Constitution The Constitution: Counter Revolution or National Salvation? The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States Preamble to the Constitution Image Sequencing Collection Connections Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Using Primary Sources with 21st-Century Learners

This is a guest post from veteran teacher Heather Klos, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher and the Social Studies department chair at Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas. As an early American history teacher, I know it is important to use primary sources effectively with my 8th grade students.  Analyzing primary sources can be very difficult for students, but it is usually my end-game when working with these documents.  I have found that breaking down the documents into manageable chunks … [Read more...]