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February 2010

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Teaching About Haiti

The devastation in Haiti hits us intellectually, emotionally, and ethically, and we ask "how can I help?" A contagious call to action multiplies. Headlines spur teachable moments in the history classroom. Broadly speaking, teaching materials focus on two approaches: the history of Haiti and the history of natural disasters. Fewer resources are available for the former. This blog post gives you some basic resources on Haitian history.

History Content

Annie Oakley

Born Phoebe Ann Moses in 1860 in rural Ohio, Annie Oakley became one of the most famous female entertainers of her day. Her life spanned a time of dramatic cultural change in the United States, and some of the most important years of the women's movement. This website accompanies a film on Oakley's life and work. While offering only a few primary sources, the website is rich with background information. The website also includes a transcript of the film, with extensive commentary by scholars of Oakley's life. Read more here.

Best Practices

Examples of Teaching: Third Graders Analyzing Historical Sources

In these video clips, Kimberly Heckart, lead mentor for the Teaching American History grant Bringing History Home and the site coordinator for Prairie ISD in Iowa, interacts with her students as they learn about child labor during the Industrial Revolution. In carefully sequenced activities, students analyze photos taken by Lewis Hine, consult secondary sources to build background knowledge and answer questions, and generate connections. Watch their excitement here!


Teaching Materials

Lesson Plan Reviews: Roads to Antietam

With so many topics to teach and so little time, many teachers find it difficult to cover military history. This lesson on the Battle of Antietam provides an excellent opportunity to both teach military history and promote historical thinking skills. Students will hone these skills as they analyze two documents written by General Lee on the eve of the battle. The first document, Lee’s 1862 Proclamation to the people of Maryland, sheds light on Lee’s motivations for invading Maryland. The second document, Special Orders #191, is Lee’s marching orders that were famously intercepted by the Union Army before the battle. Read the review here.


Issues and Research

Research Highlights: "Uncoverage" in History Survey Courses

The emphasis in survey courses is on "coverage"—trying to get through vast quantities of material. These courses focus only on "what happened," without stopping to consider the work that historians do or to inquire into the writing and reading of history. Lendol Calder, a professor at Augustana College, argues for a new way of teaching about the past—"uncoverage." Uncoverage, writes Calder, is naturally suited to history, which is about inquiry, argument, and point of view. Historians often use incomplete evidence to construct reasonable stories about the past. Read more about uncoverage in history classes here.


TAH Grants

Lessons Learned—Accessibility: Inviting Participation

Tom Thurston, Education Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, contrasts the drop-in and cohort models of TAH projects, concluding that it's possible to invite outside teacher participation even with the cohort model. He then goes on to suggest that project directors choose novel, inviting venues for events to encourage teacher attendance. Watch the video here.


Professional Development

NEH Teacher Workshops at The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford will offer teacher workshops on America’s Industrial Revolution. Join teachers from all over the country to experience 150 years of technology evolution in a week. Explore new themes and historic sites each day; interact with scholars, museum curators, public historians/dramatic presenters, and master teachers; and experience 150 years of technology evolution in a week. Workshops take place in June. Stipend provided. Registration deadline is March 2. Read more here.