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March 2010

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Not simply representations of objective spatial relationships, they are subjective texts, created by individuals and groups who decide the topic of a map, the purpose, the point of view, what is included, and what is left out. Integrating maps among the body of evidence from the past—not just as illustrations but also as texts to be read—introduces different methodologies and approaches in the classroom. Read this blog post for map resources.

History Content

Discovering Science and Technology Through American Textile History

Created by historians of technology and secondary school teachers, Whole Cloth presents an interdisciplinary curriculum that examines "the history of textiles, the technology and science of production, and their consumption." There are 11 hands-on activities for middle and high school students with corresponding lesson plans and notes for teachers. Read more here.

Best Practices

Examples of Historical Thinking: Creative Memo on Lay's Products

Historian Roger Horowitz analyzes a 1957 market research report on the public perception of potato chips. In these videos, Horowitz models several historical thinking skills: drawing on prior knowledge of consumer culture in the 1950s; close reading of the report to learn about the study of consumer behavior; highlighting source information, such as report date and author; and placing the report within the larger context of advertising history and postwar culture. Watch the video here.


Teaching Materials

Lesson Plan Reviews: Immigration

Primary source documents and statistical tables about immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries anchor this lesson from Digital History. Analytical questions about the documents and the tables require students to draw conclusions from the data, as well as evaluate opinions regarding immigration as expressed in the primary sources. These materials are supplemented by Digital History’s larger "Immigration Learning Module" which links to additional primary sources including photographs, interactive maps, a timeline, and documents. Read the review here.


Issues and Research

Research Highlights: Connections Between Instruction and Assessment

Most educators use test results to measure student learning, but what are the connections between how students perform on tests and what goes on in their classrooms? Do certain teaching strategies help students score better on state tests? Professors Julie Smith and Richard Niemi explored these questions in their 2003 study of National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) U.S. history results and student survey data. Read more here.


TAH Grants

Project Spotlight: Sounds of American History

In the Valley View area of Ohio, teachers and students are lending an ear to history. When we access historical information, we typically use our eyes to read or look at images, and our ears to listen to our teachers. Why not use our ears to access sounds that originate beyond the classroom—such as a documentary on industrialization and the environment, a lecture on African Americans in the Revolutionary War, a song by the Beatles, or a State of the Union address? Read more here.


Professional Development

Tools for Teachers: Slideshare

Slideshare allows you and your students to upload Powerpoint, OpenOffice, or PDF presentations to the web, and to access and download the presentations of others. All that's required—besides the presentation, of course—is opening a free account. A privacy feature offers the option of limited access. Learn more here.