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April 2009

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Join NHEC on Facebook and Twitter!

Stay on top of the newest advancements and resources in history education by joining the National History Education Clearinghouse on Facebook and Twitter. We will post updates on new additions to the NHEC. We will also let you know about upcoming conferences where you can meet NHEC staff, learn more about the website, and let us know how we are doing.

History Content

Digital Tools: Digital Storyteller

Digital Storyteller is a web-based tool for constructing short, digital movies using text, images, and narration. Teachers can draw from their own selection of materials or search an extensive database of materials and projects collected from teachers using Digital Storyteller over the years. Producing the narrative provides a strong, active learning experience for students. Teachers can guide students to construct these narratives following a typical story structure, with a beginning, middle, and end. Learn more here.

Best Practices

Teaching with Textbooks: Questioning Textbook Authority

Do you teach your students to read documents carefully, but then watch as they fail to apply these skills while reading their textbooks? Former high school teacher, Robert Bain, now at the University of Michigan, discusses his experiences, "The problem was greater than sharpening their tools for critical reading, but rather involved transformation in my students’ relationships to the books, to the historical content in the books, and to the authors who wrote them." More...

Teaching Materials

Teaching Guide: Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) in the History Classroom

What is SAC? It is a discussion that moves students beyond "either / or" debates to a more nuanced historical synthesis. SAC was developed by cooperative learning researchers David Johnson and Roger Johnson of the University of Minnesota as a way to provide structure and focus to classroom discussions. Working in pairs and then coming together in four-person teams, students explore a question by reading about, and then presenting, contrasting positions. More...


Issues and Research

Research Highlights: Apprenticing Adolescent Readers to Academic Literacy Reading in the History Classroom

National test scores show that middle and high school students struggle with analytic reading. After elementary school, however, reading instruction is not seen as the province of any particular teacher. The authors of this study see a place for reading instruction in all classrooms, arguing that students need to continue to develop their reading abilities while also learning subject-specific reading skills. Continue reading here.


TAH Grants

Project Spotlight: Civil War and Digital Storytelling

In Clark County, Nevada, an elementary school Teaching American History (TAH) project called Inside American History utilized digital storytelling techniques to study the Civil War era and Abraham Lincoln. Christy Keeler, Ph.D., Clark County's pedagogy scholar, explains the roles of the teachers, "Their assignment was to script a digital story using a Role-Audience-Format-Topic strategy, record it with an iTalk attachment to their video iPods, and edit/embellish their stories using Audacity.” Read more here.

Professional Development

Save Our History Grants

Museums, historic sites, historical societies, preservation organizations, libraries, and archives are invited to partner with a local school or youth group and apply for funding to help preserve the history of their communities. Each year, The History Channel awards grants of up to $10,000 to organizations across the country that partner with schools or youth groups on community preservation projects. These projects engage students in learning about, documenting, and preserving the history of their communities. Deadline is June 15, 2009. Get details here.