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September 2009

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Welcome Back!

Ready for the new school year? The resources on early America featured this month will help you get started. In addition, the NHEC weekly history quiz returns to teachinghistory.org with new topics to test your knowledge. Answer questions on subjects from Labor Day, daredevils, and dance to pirates and princesses, and you could win a prize! Take the quiz today.

History Content

Website Review: Archive of Early American Images

The images in this Brown University collection, focusing on the Americas, come from books printed or created in Europe between about 1492 and 1825. Images include woodcuts, copper engravings, and paintings. The database, still being compiled, currently contains 6,685 images and will eventually offer 7,500 images. Free image viewing software is available from the website. Explore…

Best Practices

Video! Historical Context and Roleplaying

This website’s videos document the practice of a 5th-grade teacher in New York teaching a unit titled Colonial New York: Developing Perspectives through Historical Role Play. This 14-week, standards-based unit covers colonial America up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The site provides a rich cache of materials, including classroom handouts, historical sources, and student work. Watch the videos here.

Teaching Materials

Lesson Plan Review: Did the Chinese Discover America in 1421?

Students learn to assess the validity of a historical argument as they evaluate the implausible theory that the Chinese discovered America in 1421. Television presents a great deal of historical information these days, but not all of it is valid or trustworthy. Unfortunately, many students lack the tools needed to assess historical information they see on television. This skill-building lesson presents students with some of the tools needed to assess the validity of an argument made through a persuasive, high-quality visual medium. Read the review here.


Teaching Materials

Ask a Master Teacher: Finding Local History Resources

A Clarksville, IN, teacher asks, “I have been unable to find teaching materials and/or curriculum for the teaching of local history. Our small town has a very rich history, including being the place where Lewis and Clark joined together to form their expedition, and the town that is the oldest American town in what was the entire Northwest Territory. We also have extensive archaeology of Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. We would like to incorporate teaching our town's history into the curriculum of grades K-5, but find no curriculum help or materials to do so." Read the advice our master teacher offered here.


TAH Grants

New Video! Lessons Learned: Flexible Grant Design

In this video, Andy Mink, Director of Outreach and Education at the Virginia Center for Digital History, discusses the importance of making grant projects accessible to teachers with busy lives. He observes, "Finding ways for teachers who are absolutely burdened in terms of what they have to do every day, to have different points of entry into the grant, so that it's not one size fits all. But rather, here are four or five different pieces of the overall grant design and depending on your own interest, your own engagement, your own timeframe, you can find a way to participate." Read and watch the video here.


Professional Development

Tools for Teachers: Wikis at Wetpaint

Wetpaint offers free wiki websites, advertisement-free for educational use, and an invitation-only option for viewers and contributors. As Wetpaint points out, wikis in education encourage collaborative learning and information sharing in the classroom, between teachers and parents, and among teachers. They can be ongoing or project specific. Visit the main website for an overview, then cut straight to the Education section for discussion and examples of how educators are using wikis and negotiating wiki administration. Note Wetpaint.com is for students 13 and older in conformity with COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Learn more here.