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December 2011

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New & Noteworthy

Engaging with the Common Core Standards

Is everyone in your district talking about Common Core Standards? Educators in 45 states plus the District of Columbia are. What are these standards and how do they relate to your classroom?

Dr. Daisy Martin explores Common Core Standards in our recent blog post.

Learn more!




Think your students are too young for blogging? KidBlog offers a safe, commercial-free learning environment for setting up classroom blogs! Its simplicity allows students to concentrate more on writing and less on the technology platform. Read more.



Narratives of Slavery

How do we learn about slavery? How do we recover the voices of those who were enslaved? How did planters experience slavery? Watch as historian Richard Follett asks these questions about two conflicting accounts in order to understand the system of slavery. View here.



Pearl Harbor Spotlight

December 7 marks the 70th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy,” the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Visit our new spotlight page for lesson plan reviews, multimedia, and teaching ideas that explore America’s entry into World War II. Learn more.

Primary Sources


Tech for Teachers

Diary of a Civil War Nurse

In April 1863, two years after the start of the Civil War, Amanda Akin left her New York home at the age of 35 to become a nurse at the Armory Square Hospital in Washington, DC. What was her life like as a nurse? To help explore this question, the Smithsonian created an interactive map of places Akin mentions in her diary. This map, along with photographs, advertisements, artwork, and quotes from Akin’s journal, allows you to see Washington, DC, through her eyes. Learn more.


Mission U.S.: For Crown and Colony

In this digital game, students become 14-year-old Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in 1770s Boston. While on errands for his master, Nat witnesses acts of violence between colonists and British soldiers and learns more from discussions with various Boston residents. Ultimately, Nat must decide whether to join the revolution, remain loyal to the crown, or be neutral. The game reminds students that the past was not inevitable and that the choices people made had consequences. Learn more.