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November 2010

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    ISSUE 25  \ 
November 2010

New & Noteworthy

Memorializing Veterans

Looking for ways to learn more about our nation’s veterans in your classroom? Check out a host of resources, including the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and “Take a Veteran to School Day” on History.com. Or explore the meaning of national war memorials and those found in your own backyard through teaching guides and videos. Learn more.



Mystery Strategy for Elementary Students

One way to get young children excited about history is to challenge them to be history detectives. Using the mystery, “Why did the American beaver almost become extinct in the 1840s?”, this teaching guide from Lisa Cooper outlines strategies and includes downloadable materials to teach what historians do when investigating the past. Read more.



Teaching the Transcontinental Railroad

The transcontinental railroad had a major impact on the American West. In “Ask a Master Teacher,” find primary source materials such as documents, photographs, and letters related to the railroad’s construction and the laborers who built it, as well as links to PBS lesson plans on the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act. Read more.



The Multiple Dilemmas of Abraham Lincoln

In this interactive historical simulation, students put themselves in the shoes of Abraham Lincoln as he faced five critical decisions between his election in November 1860 and the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861. While designed to be completed online, this lesson can be modified for classrooms without computer access as well. Learn more.

Historical Thinking


Teaching American History

Slave Receipts

When analyzing primary sources, sometimes the smallest details can bring out undiscovered connections. Watch as historian Tom Thurston closely examines an 1853 slave receipt for a woman named Mary and her child, Louisianna, and places their story into the larger context of law, the economy, and the world of slavery just prior to the Civil War. View here.


Working with K-3 Teachers

The TAH grant project, Blessings of Liberty, focused on the often-underserved K-3 teachers who need specialized strategies to teach historical thinking skills in age-appropriate ways. In this video, Alice Reilly and Cynthia Szwajkowski from Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) discuss the need for offering historical thinking resources to K-3 teachers and share some of the positive outcomes. View here.