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July 2012

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New & Noteworthy

Ice Cream Wars

Can New York City truly claim America’s first ice cream parlor? Did a Philadelphia housewife invent the first hand-crank ice cream freezer? And who was really behind the invention of the ice cream cone? Get the real “scoop” on the history of ice cream in our history quiz!

Learn more!



Recording Experiences with First Graders

Can young students take ownership of their learning? Watch as students in Jennifer Orr’s class go on a field trip and document their experience with the use of digital cameras. Back in the classroom, they work collaboratively to organize the images and then record personal narratives about the experience. View here.




Voki is a free digital tool that invites students to design their own historical, modern day, or fictional avatars that can speak. Students can have their avatars role play, reenact a historical speech, hold debates, or conduct a virtual town hall with characters across time periods. Learn more.



Bridging the Gap Between Ancient and Modern Democracies

What are students supposed to think when their teacher starts talking about Athenian democracy and the Declaration of Independence in the same sentence? Explore ideas for bringing the concept of democracy across time and space so that students can better understand the connection. Read more.

Historical Thinking


Teaching American History

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

You may have heard of the Boston Tea Party, but what about a tea burning that took place in Providence, RI, in 1775? Watch as Smithsonian curator Barbara Clark Smith examines a newspaper article that provides a “close on the ground” look at the American Revolution. How common were tea burnings prior to the Revolution? View here.


Teaching with 19th-century Portraits

Wonder how to use art collections when studying history? Watch as the National Portrait Gallery's Briana Zavadil White introduces TAH teachers to 19th-century portraits and invites the group to ask questions and form hypotheses. Zavadil White models techniques that teachers can take back into their own classrooms. View here.