August 10, 2022

Teaching Now: Separating Myths from History

This unit plan and teaching guide was developed by Dr. John Bickford, Professor of Social Studies/History Education at Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies, in collaboration with Citizen U. It presents a lesson plan with teaching notes targeted to early and upper elementary students. TEACHER BACKGROUND Children—and adults!—will be shocked to learn most of their Thanksgiving facts are fables, not history. This short section … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: The Wampanoag, the Plimoth Colonists & the First Thanksgiving

This primary source set is targeted to elementary students and includes background information and thinking prompts. It was curated mainly by Dr. John Bickford, Professor of Social Studies/History Education at Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies, with the goal of helping students separate Thanksgiving myths from history. This set is also available as a Google document; get it here. Access the teaching guide for this source … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Narragansett

Narragansett Indian Fall Festival image set Indian Rock, Narragansett image set Image set: masonry work and belt buckle creation by Narragansett Narragansett oral history audio recordings Letter related to Narragansett history project Narragansett mentions in A report to the Secretary of War of the United States, on Indian affairs, comprising a narrative of a tour performed in the summer of 1820 The early history of Narragansett; with an appendix of original documents … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Wampanoag

The Wampanoag the tribe in Massachusetts is famous for having helped the people we call Pilgrims when they first came to America. Learn more by clicking through to the links below. Images Wampanoag image set Massasoit and his warriors Massasoit--On his way to meet the Pilgrims and sign the Peace Treaty Goffe rallying the men of Hadley [in defense of Indian attack during King Philip's War, Hadley, Mass., 1675-76] Historical newspaper coverage Massasoit … [Read more...]

Today in History: Manhattan Island

Today in History–May 4–the Library of Congress features Manhattan Island. On this date in 1626, Dutch colonist Peter Minuit arrived on the wooded island at the behest of the Dutch West India Company. Minuit later "purchased" the island from resident Algonquin Indians for the equivalent of $24.  The town of New Amsterdam, located at the southern end of the island, was renamed New York City after it was seized by the British in 1664. Find out more about Manhattan Island by visiting the Today in … [Read more...]

Today in History: Captain John Smith

Today in History–September 10–the Library of Congress features Captain John Smith, who assumed the presidency of the Jamestown governing council on this date in 1608. Smith helped the colony to survive and thrive during its early years by fortifying the settlement, exploring and documenting the Chesapeake region, and establishing relations with area Native Americans. Learn more about this explorer, writer, and cartographer by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to … [Read more...]

Today in History: Los Angeles, California

Today in History–September 04–the Library of Congress features El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles (The Town of the Queen of the Angels) founded on this day in 1781. Located between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles remained independent until it was taken in a bloodless effort by U.S. forces during the Mexican American War. Originally focused on agriculture, Los Angeles is now known as a center for tourism and the entertainment industry as well as trade, … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: The Places You’ll Go with Maps

The Library of Congress has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world and there are so many places you can visit with the Library of Congress' fabulous digitized map collections. Take a look at the wide variety of maps you can explore in incredible detail and discover engaging primary source lessons and activities. Zoom in now! Map Collections American Revolution Maps & Charts of North America & the West Indies 1750-1789 an important … [Read more...]

Today in History: Juan Ponce de León

Today in History–September 27–the Library of Congress features Juan Ponce de León, who was granted permission to settle Bimini Island and Florida on this day in 1514.  Seven years later, in 1521, Ponce de León sailed from Puerto Rico to Florida with two ships, two hundred men, fifty horses, as well as other domestic animals and agricultural tools. Unfortunately, the party was attacked by Seminole Indians and Ponce de León was wounded; an infection resulted and he died later that year … [Read more...]

Today in History: Jacques Cartier

Today in History–June 9–the Library of Congress features French navigator Jacques Cartier, who sailed into the St. Lawrence River on this date in 1534. The explorer was commissioned by King Francis I of France to explore the area in hopes of finding gold, spices, and a northern passage to Asia. Find out more about Cartier's three visits to Canada by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access related resources. Images Cartier ascending the St. Lawrence … [Read more...]