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June 2011

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The War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner

Flag Day is June 14! Have your students uncover the origins of the Star-Spangled Banner in this Smithsonian History Explorer lesson. The plan includes links to an interactive site that invites students to explore both the flag and the anthem it inspired. Learn more.



Teaching the Bill of Rights

How do you put the Bill of Rights into language students can understand? Watch as 8th-grade teacher Christine Valenti gives students strategies for understanding difficult vocabulary, and get ideas for how to incorporate current events into your study of the Bill of Rights. View here.



Cold War Wrestling Match

In this installment of Ask a Historian, we look at the origin of a well-known political cartoon featuring President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Who drew this cartoon? Where did it first appear? The answers lead to an intriguing story. Read more.

Primary Sources


Tech for Teachers

Battle Lines: Letters from America’s Wars

Produced by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Legacy Project, this collection of 30 soldiers’ letters spans American history, from the Revolution to the war in Iraq, making it ideal for end-of-year review. Ask students to compare wars, revisit curriculum themes or explore thematic changes over time. Each letter is read aloud so students can listen as well as read and a "magic lens" feature helps students decode the handwriting. Explore here.



Try Dipity to create free, multimedia digital timelines with your students. Have fun incorporating video, photos, and other media from anywhere on the Web into your timeline and add notes related to the images. Students confront important choices as they construct their timeline: What to include? What to omit? What text and images best represent their point? Use this tool to gain insight into how your students are thinking historically. Read more.