Teach American History Blog

May is a busy month . . .

For educators at any level, May has to be one of the busiest months. The post-TCAPS class sessions, the arrival of warmer weather, and student programs add stress I know. For those of us teaching in colleges there are all those end-of-the-semester papers to grade, final exams, final grades, and the usual assortment of wailing students needing a passing grade to graduate.

But this is a busy month for TAH activities as well, with the final Era One mini-institute scheduled for the 12th, and Era Five mini-institutes scheduled for May 11th (the Civil War) and May 17th and 23rd (Reconstruction). So, while looking for materials for those sessions, I stumbled across two more websites that may be of interest.

The first comes from the federal goverment; specifically, from the National Endowment for the Humanities website, Edsitement's We the People section. (I have long been a fan of using materials and programs that my tax dollars have already paid for!) The files available span the whole of US history, and many include downloadable student worksheets and game actvities, while some also include audio and visual files. All of these are available for educators to print, copy, and use for free. I glanced through the lesson plans for Life in the North and South 1847-1861: Before Brother Fought Brother, which included five different lessons; and the Civil War: A "Terrible Swift Sword", which had three lessons. While there were not materials appropriate for Era One, there were some for Era Two, including William Penn's Peaceable Kingdom and Understanding the Salem Witch Trials.

The second website is a joint project of the University of Virginia Library and the Virginia Center for Digital History entitled "The Valley of the Shadow". This project has gathered resources from two similar (yet different) counties: Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and Augusta County, Virginia. Both counties are located in the Shenandoah Valley, had similar geographrical features, but were divided (of course) by the institution of slavery and later by the Civil War. The website provides material to compare these two counties before, during, and after the Civil War, including church records, newspaper accounts, journals, maps, letters, soldier records, and more, as well as ways to search the materials for specifics. This is an amazing resource for anyone wanting to help students analyze similarities and differences between the sections during the nineteenth century.

Posted by Jason Mead - Monday, 05/02/2011, 01:27 PM - Comments -