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February 2012

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New & Noteworthy

African American History Month and Presidents Day Spotlights

This month, teachinghistory.org celebrates African American History Month and Presidents Day with two new spotlight pages! Find a range of materials — such as primary source collections, videos, teaching strategies, and quizzes — for incorporating these topics into your classroom.

Explore all teachinghistory.org spotlights here!



John Brown Song

Interested in including music in your curriculum? Songs from the past can be valuable and interesting primary sources for your students to explore. Watch as fourth grade students learn about the raid on Harpers Ferry and the public reaction by analyzing the Civil War era song, John Brown’s Body. Watch here.



Talking History

Are your students shy or hesitant to speak up in class? Try out a few techniques that encourage cooperative learning, interaction, and historical thinking. These strategies can help students formulate ideas for writing assignments and are particularly useful for English Language Learners. Learn more.



Stating Your Case: Writing Thesis Statements Effectively

Looking for ways to help your students write more compelling thesis statements? Use this guide to teach students what thesis statements are and how to use them effectively in writing Document Based Questions (DBQs) and other essays. Learn more.

Primary Sources


Tech for Teachers

Gold Rush!

On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill. In this Oakland Museum of California virtual exhibit, art, photographs, and objects help tell the story of the Gold Rush and the history of westward expansion. Explore the experiences of many participants, including Chinese, Californio/Latinos, Native Americans, and African Americans. Learn more.


Museum Box

This tool invites students to become museum curators charged with creating their own online exhibitions. When students plan museum exhibits, they learn valuable historical thinking skills as they analyze primary sources, create an argument, and present a story. And unlike a traditional project, an online museum exhibit can become a permanent part of a student’s portfolio. Read more.