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June 2012

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New and Noteworthy

Summer Reading Ideas

Looking for summer reading ideas for your students (or yourself)? Check out our recommendations of reputable booklists that cover a range of topics, time periods, and grade levels, as well as some specific titles related to the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Learn more!



Improving History Education in Elementary Schools

Where does the future of elementary history education lie in light of growing demands on classroom instructional time for math and literacy? Read the varied perspectives of teachers, professors, and administrators who are grappling with this issue and contribute your own thoughts. Learn more.



Document-Based Whole Class Discussion

Document-based whole-class discussion is a classroom activity where students engage in the interpretation and reconciliation of multiple historical documents. Learn how to structure a discussion effectively and find strategies for encouraging student participation. Read more.



The Iranian Hostage Crisis: The Diary of Robert Ode

In 1979, fifty-two American citizens were taken hostage in Iran and held captive for 444 days. Watch as historian Peter Hahn examines the diary of Robert Ode, a retired foreign service officer who was taken hostage with other embassy staff. How can this personal account be placed in a larger context? Watch here.

Primary Sources


Tech for Teachers

The Quilt Index

With their strong narratives, artistic qualities, and utilitarian purposes, quilts can be a great resource for studying the past. Use the Quilt Index to search over 50,000 quilts drawn from more than 30 collections, including the National Quilt Museum and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Search the index by location, time period, type of fabric, or even pattern. The largest database of its kind, the site also includes lesson plans, essays on the history of quilting, and a tool that allows you to zoom-in, examine details, and compare quilts. Learn more!


Choose Your Own Adventure

Did you ever read Choose Your Own Adventure stories? Greg Kulowiec, a high school history teacher and classroom technology integration specialist, describes in an online tutorial how to create your own Choose Your Own Adventure videos. Students plan and shoot videos, and then create clickable hot spots on the videos that allow the viewer to choose what to watch next. See an example of Kulowiec’s students comparing the French Revolution to the recent Egyptian revolution and get ideas for your own class adventure. Learn more!