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July 2010

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    ISSUE 21  \ 
July 2010

New & Noteworthy

21st Century Skills and the Learning of History

In what ways can teaching 21st century skills improve history education? What are the complexities of teaching with technology? Read what several scholars, including Steven A. Goldberg, President-Elect, National Council for the Social Studies, and Harvard University historian Jill Lepore, have to say and voice your own opinion in this Issues and Research Roundtable. Explore here.



Lesson Plan Reviews: My History at School

This collection of activities found on the Bringing History Home website introduces first graders to important historical concepts. Through exploring the history of their time at school, students learn about topics such as chronology as well as how to identify and question different types of primary sources. While these concepts may seem fairly sophisticated for first or second-graders, the activities introduce them in accessible and engaging ways. Read more here. Read more here.



Independence Daze: A History of the 4th of July

Listen in as historians Pauline Maier, James Heintze, and David Blight look at changing interpretations of the Declaration of Independence and the origins of Independence Day celebrations. Learn how the day became a national holiday and how different groups interpret the holiday. Listen here or explore other audio and visual history resources in the History in Multimedia database. Read more here.



Beyond the Textbook: Coal and the Industrial Revolution

As of 1860, the United States was an industrial laggard. Great Britain, France, and Germany each produced more goods than their transatlantic counterpart. By 1900, however, U.S. industrial production exceeded the other three combined. Why? Most textbooks offer little insight into the profound historical significance of energy, nor do they provide a coherent interpretation of what the adoption of fossil fuels meant for the nation's economy and environment. Read more here.

Historical Thinking


Teaching American History

Historical Thinking: Cross-checking Sources and Testing Hypotheses

In this video clip, we see a high school student checking his ideas against available evidence. In reading a leaflet from the Civil Rights Movement, he encounters a name from a previous document and assumes the person is a white civic leader. The second document, however, raises questions for him about the woman's position. Flipping back and forth between sources, he comes to a reasoned conclusion about who Jo Ann Robinson is and develops a more nuanced understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. The written commentary points out clues that the student uses to inform his reading. Watch the video here. Watch the video here.


Lessons Learned: Modelling Place-based Teaching

Sarah Jencks of Ford's Theatre and Talia Mosconi of Tudor Place Historic House discuss the process of designing multilayered programs for teaching educators on how to use places as primary sources. A number of Washington, DC, historical sites have formed partnerships to provide educators with a wide-ranging orientation to the history of the city and the nation. Jencks and Mosconi warn against the dangers of running teachers through many historical sites too quickly, without providing context or allowing teachers time to process. Watch the video here. Explore here.