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February 2009

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Celebrate the Lincoln Bicentennial!

The History Channel and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission are offering a National Teach-In on the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln on Thursday, February 12, 2009. Click here for more details or to register. The first 500 registrants receive a National History Day sourcebook on Lincoln and a Lincoln coin box. Search teachinghistory.org for more resources to help you teach about Lincoln’s life and legacy.

History Content

Explore the Resources on Edsitement!

Created by the National Endowment of the Humanities, Edsitement serves as a gateway to humanities on the web. Under History and Social Studies, Edsitement links to K-12 lesson plans that are searchable by subject and grade level and are linked to primary source documents and supporting websites. Numerous resources are available to help you explore and celebrate African American history month.

Best Practices

Featured Video! Learning in a Social Context

This Annenberg Media video provides examples of two promising practices, such as helping students use textual evidence to support their claims and leading a productive discussion by asking open-ended questions and restating student answers (in this example, the subject for the discussion is a set of discriminatory Southern laws known as Black Codes).

Teaching Materials

Opening up the Textbook: Rosa Parks

Using a textbook passage and two primary sources, this lesson engages students in using historical evidence in order to critique a textbook passage. In this way, it also allows teachers to introduce the textbook as one source among many, rather than the final word on historical events. The simplicity and clarity of the lesson make it ideal for introducing both historical thinking in general and the Civil Rights movement specifically. Read a review of the lesson here.

Issues and Research

Research Highlights! Fifth Graders as Historical Detectives

Who says that elementary students can't think historically? A researcher from University of Maryland College Park challenged that assumption in a recent study. Through direct instruction in historical analysis skills, Bruce VanSledright's students not only showed marked improvements in their work but also became excited about a subject in which they had previously expressed little interest. Continue reading here.

TAH Grants

TAH as a Model for Training the Next Generation of Teachers

Since the initiation of the Teaching American History (TAH) grant program in 2001, I have been fortunate enough to work as a lead/master teacher in 14 different states. The occasions to share lessons on Nat Turner's rebellion, Lowell Mills, and numerous other topics have placed me in contact with a diverse group of K–12 educators and forced me to consider many of the underlying assumptions and realities related to generating change in history instruction. Read more from Bruce Lesh here.

Professional Development

All-day Lincoln Symposium!

This symposium at the Library of Congress celebrates the 148th anniversary of Lincoln’s first inauguration and features six award-winning scholars: William Lee Miller, Presidential Morality During the Lincoln Administration; James M. McPherson, Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief; Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln and the Power of Words; Lucas Morel, Lincoln and Race; Harold Holzer, Lincoln as President-Elect; and Elizabeth D. Leonard, Lincoln and Justice. Reservations are required. Click here for details.