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May 2009

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May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Heritage Month, a celebration of Asian and Pacific islanders living in the United States, began as a ten-day observance in 1977. Congress passed Pub. L. 95-419 which requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the seven-day period beginning on May 4, 1979, as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. Continue Reading about the history of this specially designated month and explore related resources you can use today.

History Content

Ask a Historian: Great Books on Historical Methodology

If you could recommend no more than three college-level texts on historical methodology, what would they be? Let me suggest three very different kinds of texts: Historical Knowledge, Historical Review: A Contemporary Guide to Practice, by Allan Megill; After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, by James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle; and A Global History of Modern Historiography, by Georg G. Iggers and Q. Edward Wang. Continuing reading here or submit your own question here.

Best Practices

Featured Video: Teaching with Letters as Primary Sources

Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation shows an eighth-grade teacher in Maryland teaching with two Civil War letters. Source Analysis has three sections focused on these letters: Scholar Analysis, Teacher Analysis, and Classroom Practice. This series of videos models how to use primary sources to represent perspectives missing from the textbook and contextualize a historical event as well as the practice of using focus questions to help students read primary sources purposefully. Read more here.

Teaching Materials

Lesson Plan Review: Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems

Many U.S. history classrooms devote significant time to understanding the immigrant experience. In teaching this topic, however, many classrooms focus exclusively on European immigration through Ellis Island. This lesson, The Story Behind the Poems, provides students with an excellent opportunity to learn about Asian immigration through Angel Island, and the ways in which the Asian immigrant experience differed from the European immigrant experience. Continue reading this lesson plan review here.


Issues and Research

Featured Research: Learning to Think Historically Reading in the History Classroom

What does a curriculum designed to foster historical understanding and thinking look like? This research brief discusses a curricular innovation in the United Kingdom that left an indelible mark on history instruction in that country and throughout the world. The curriculum favored depth over breadth, engaging students in research projects and thrusting them into focused inquiries. As a lasting contribution, the program modeled how adolescents "get better at history." Continue reading about the School's Council History Project here.


TAH Grants

Lessons Learned: Building a Statewide Teaching American History Community

There is an old saying in teaching that borrowing an idea is the sincerest form of flattery. As evidenced by the H-TAH listserv on a national level, sharing ideas and expertise enriches everyone's program. But what about state or regional level communication and collaboration? Opening lines of communication at the state or regional level encourages the sharing of best practices, offers support to TAH directors new and old, and strengthens the overall TAH community—all at the "cost" of a few phone calls and emails. Continue reading this essay by TAH Project Director Jack Bareilles here.

Professional Development

National Humanities Center: Live, Online, Professional Development

This July, the National Humanities Center will offer three online workshops, including The Great Migration; or Leaving My Troubles in Dixie, Battle and Memory: The Civil War in Art, and American Insurgents: The American Revolution from the People's Perspective. Workshops include discussion about integrating primary source materials into lesson plans. These online programs use the primary source materials in the National Humanities Center’s Toolbox Library as well as the essays in TeacherServe®. Cost is $75. Learn more and register today!