Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Powerpoints for the American Pageant
Here is a powerpoint for every chapter of the book and could easily be adapted for other textbooks.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Online Textbook Videos
Glencoe has a new Causes of the Civil War - Present textbook coming out. The book has an amazing array of supplement online ancillaries, but for my money the videos (several each chapter) are great (and short).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Webpage Making for Teachers and Students
I have received a number of inquiries into how to make teacher and student blogs. You can see that I use, but there is a newer site, which has one additional advantage in that is allows you to upload documents for your students. Blogspot, though, has a bunch more add-ons. Both have tutorials in how to set them up. However here is one that I wrote which tells you how to set up a webpage and how to set up an aggregator. An aggregator lets a person list a bunch of websites and tells you when they have been updated. This way there is no need to type in a url. This is handy if you want your kids to turn in assignments. The blog feature allows you to make comments and you can set it so that only e-mail addresses you want can see the site so that students can have their work protected. I had my regulary world history students do this writing assignment and it worked rather nicely. Now another idea is to have one page and have your students add entries as is done here. If you want to see an example of wordpress and how it is used for class assignments, go here. If you want to go further with all this, read this book.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mini Historical Movies by NBC
NBC News has created a free, educational website called iCue which is AMAZING. I will be showing a lot of these to my students as they are 2-3 minutes on almost every major point you will touch on this year. It is set up following the standard US history outline and then subdivided into 10-15 videos a page. You can use a link directly to a specific page (from your PowerPoint or blog) or e-mail yourself a specific video and get the link for that one (there is no other way to get it). I really think is great, but this is a step up as it is both better quality and nice and short.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Tremendous Unit on Slavery from PBS
This site has podcasts (short ones), diary entries, great (sad!) stories, historical overview, a year in the life and more. The topics covered include religion, the family, slave life, education, freedom and more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Great Site for Teaching Ideas
In my perfect world, all my students have laptops (and thanks to cloud computing, they would be inexpensive ones) and I could serve more as a facilatator. In that world, I would produce assignments such as these found here. This is a great site for many reasons. 1) it connects to many terrific pages which have videos, pictures, ect. 2) it allows a teacher to let the kids go and work in small groups where help is needed. 3) it is a good example of what you can do with Edublog which allows (notice the student names on the left side of the linked page) students to put their work in one place (whether you want them to blog is irrelevant). Edublog allows you to upload documents (an advantage over Blogspot where this blog is housed) and have easy to get tabs to follow student work. In short, it is an example of teaching in the Internet age.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Interactive Maps
Writing this blog page has allowed me to completely redo my US course. This is one of the reasons. This link (when you get there it is at the bottom of the page) allows you to see 100 different historical maps as well as zoom in and out and then have to answer questions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yet Another Course Online, with a Twist
This course offers a narrated powerpoint of every part of US history. It might serve as a good supplement if a student misses a class or for homebound students. As an added bonus, if you click here, you can find links for every part of US history which might help you populate a Power Point or create a webquest of find pcitures for your students.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ken Burns - The Civil War
I remember when I used two televisions to record just the parts I wanted from this magnificient series. Now you can pick and choose what you want from the many clips that are out there. To sort through it all, here is an index of the sections.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lots of Useful Maps/Pictures on US Wars
If you go here, you can get powerpoints of mostly pictures and maps of troop actions for the American Revolution, Mexican-American War, The Frontier Years, the Civil War, Spanish-American War and WWI.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Origin of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday
Did you know that the author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was behind the US making Thanksgiving a national holiday, that Lincoln was the president who initiated this, that there is no proof that turkey was actually eaten on the first Thanksgiving. So many nice tidbits in this video and more of the story here.
Test Questions for US History
These are four stemmed questions. I sometimes have my students print out the responses to online questions so I know they did it or even just the answers. If you use the online textbook (earlier in this blog), the kids really can never say they left their book at school!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin
So I wanted to be able to show my students how slavery spread, especially after the invention of the cotton gin. The map above is what I found. You can change the dates and watch the increase of the slave population even after legal importation of them had stopped. Speaking of Whitney, here is a nice flash image of how the cotton gin works.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wiki Notes for "American Pageant"
These outline notes go along with the AP book mentioned above, but could be used for other courses. Please leave messages telling me if you like these as we use a different book here at my school.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Electoral College History
Yes everyone is fixated with the 2008 election and if you want a great site on the current count go here. However if you want something historical such as the 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 counts click here for the page above or on the individual links for the controversial past elections.

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Free Maps
If you want decade and other US maps to download and use in the classroom, go here. The rest of the site charges for Power Points and other items, but not for the maps. By the way, this site came from one of the readers of the blog who posted a comment. If you see something that you want on this site, post a comment or e-mail me at

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Excellent US History Notes
Chapter by chapter, here are extensive notes for US History

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Need a US Map?
Here is every map you ever wanted for classroom use all ready to be printed out and copied for your students or uploaded onto your website. It includes ones showing region, physical, capitals and more.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top 100 US Documents
Apparently there was a people's poll (guess I missed it!), but the list is pretty good and it is put together by the National Archives. It includes pretty much everything you'd want such as the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Louisiana Purchase Treaty, as well as the Marshall Plan, Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Jefferson's secret message to Congress asking for funds for the Lewis and Clark Exhibition. Not only are all 100 documents in easy to read form, but the original is also shown (kind of nice to show the actual Gettysburg Address to your students). Most of the documents also have links that you can link to to get background, pictures, etc.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pat Oliphant's Cartoons
This is a great collection of Oliphant's Cartoons which are the Library of Congress website. With the election upon us, this page is particularly relevant. But you can see all his cartoons here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

National History Education Clearinghouse
This website has lesson plans, online history lectures, ask a historian, website reviews, summer institute suggestions, research written by experts and much more. By more, you can do a search and get some other excellent websites. So since we are working on Jefferson, I did a search and found this page which includes the above pictured document which are Jefferson's handwritten thoughts on the national bank. There is also one entry describing h0w Washington rejected TJ's drawing for the Capitol and that only one professional architect entered the contest to desgin the building (and naturally he won!).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Outline of US History
Interesting enough this is put together by the US Department of State. If you want a detailed look at US history go to here, but this is a very concise, 15 chapter history. Perhaps it could be used for review or for 7th grade US history students. It also has a detailed collection of pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How Stuff Works Video
While the Annenberg videos (see below) are up to 30 minutes long, these 609 (yes, 609 with a search engine to help you find everything) are generally very short. To cite one example, next week my students will be looking at Thomas Jefferson, so I typed that in the search engine and found American Presidents: Thomas Jefferson Time: 03:58, The Real Thomas Jefferson: Monticello Time: 01:23, The Real Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson Returns To The US Time: 02:50, America Under Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson Takes Charge Time: 01:35, The Real Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson Goes To France Time: 00:55, The Real Thomas Jefferson: Program Introduction Time: 02:06, The Real Thomas Jefferson: Complex And Contradictory Time: 26:00, America Under Thomas Jefferson: 1800 To 1808 Time: 15:02, America Under Thomas Jefferson: Video Quiz Time: 01:00 and America Under Thomas Jefferson: The US In 1800 Time: 01:52. The only negative is that you have to watch a 30 second promo clip, but the actual videos are made from pictures, current video, period music, maps and more. (photo from
Annenberg Video for US History
Wow! There are a number of great videos here to help you highligh your teaching of the pre-Columbian era through Reconstruction. Some of the titles include "Pre-Columbian America," "Revolutionary Perspectives," "The New Nation," "A Nation Divided," "Taming the West" and so much more. Once you get to the page, you will have to sign up (it's free) and then you can click on the videos. Also go here if you want to see other US history related video and more. (Picture from
History Is Never As Neat As It Appears
I am always telling my students that their history books are nice neat stories. Case in point is the Depression. As this great article in the Washington Post today points out, only 2% of Americans had their stocks in the market when it "crashed." It took until Feb ruary 1929 for bread lines to appear and the famous picture above took place in Manhattan long before such lines appeared anywhere else. In fact it took until 1932 for the stock market to actually hit bottom. The Post even went as far to say "98 leading businessmen ... insisted that the engine of American capitalism was still revving. " So this would be a great article to share with students. To go along with the article, go here for a short video on the Great Depression. (photo from Associated Press)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A New History Book Online
If you have been following this site, you know about Hippo Campus which has text and video for AP US and US history (among other subjects). McDougell Littell site which has primary documents, quizzes and more. Now, though, there is a potentially better site in the making. The site titled, US History, Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium," already has a great text online, and links to first person accounts, other related webpages and some video with the promise to continuously evolve to include interactive displays, video streaming, simulations or dynamic versions of the text, and opportunities for collaboration by students and teachers (all of which makes you wonder what textbook companies are going to start offering to compete with free sites like this). Really this is what a textbook should be in today's world, a growing "organism" which changes as new items are added to the internet.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gilder Lehrman Summer Institutes for Teachers
The Gilder Lehrman Summer Seminars are designed to strengthen participants' commitment to high quality history teaching. Public, parochial, independent school teachers, and National Park Service rangers are eligible. These weeklong seminars provide intellectual stimulation and a collaborative context for developing practical resources and strategies to take back to the classroom. Seminars offer: Room and board, Books and teaching resources, Stipends of $400 (international seminar stipend of $500). Click here to apply

Adams' Administration
On Monday my classes will be discussing the Adams' administration. To help the kids learn I sometime like to show short video clips. While I normally look to the great site, it does not have any age appropriate (high school) clips on the XYZ Affair and the Alien and Seditions Acts. Enter Hippo Campus. Here is a short clip on the XYZ Affair and here is one on the Alien Acts. They also have the VA Resolution as well as the KY one. The site also differentiates between advanced placement and regular US history. You could also couple this with Adams' inaguration speech which is on the site, mentioned in an earlier blog, which talks about the importance of following the Constitution. It would be an interesting class discussion to look at the speech in contrast with the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Short Video on the Electoral College

Click above to see a short video on how the electoral college works which you could show as a review for your students. It also might prove as an example if you wanted your students to create their own simple movies (for example you can use movie maker).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can A President Tame an Economy?
This is a great graphic where you can roll over each item and see the changes from Truman through W. Bush. As the article says Today, Americans save less and earn a lower minimum wage — in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms — than at nearly any other time since 1950. Can voters reasonably expect these and other indicators to change significantly after a new president takes office in January? Click here for the article.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Library of Congress
Visit here to see the new lesson plans on the Huexotzinco Codex, the creation of the Constitution, the voyage of Sir Francis Drake and The Minerva Mosaic at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. You might also want to look at the two newest activities The Declaration of Independence: Rewriting the Rough Draft and Thomas Jefferson's Library: Connecting the Books to the Life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Deliberating in the Classroom
First off what is deliberation? This site explains the technique and gives you plenty of lessons that work in the classroom. Go here to see the site.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

About Mapping the Americas
Teachers—take your students on a journey across the Americas, from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, with Geography Action! Mapping the Americas. Get the whole school involved in creating a jumbo-sized map of the Americas that's so big it can cover the side of a school building or the floor of the cafeteria. Map builders will learn about the cultures, climates, landmarks, and critical issues found in the diverse countries of the Americas. More

Monday, October 6, 2008

Time Lines Made Easy by Google
Certainly there are several other time lines devices out there, but has just started this one where you can type something like "American Revolution" and it instantly comes up with one and then there are links to the apprpriate subjects. It can also divide it even further so you could just see the year 1775 for example. When you get to this site, click on any of the predone example. When you get there, erase the choice and put in yours and press return. After this click on "timeline."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Immigration Ideas
The theme for this set is challenges facing new immigrants. Included are maps, images, a sound recording and several documents that will help when discussing immigration in American History. Go here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Road to Revolution Game by PBS

This game to the right allows the students to answer questions about the Road to Revolution and links additional information. This could be used as a source to create a guided reading or have students learn new things to add to class. The link to the left is a timeline that has some PBS made Newspaper articles.
Bring Actual NEH Pictures Into the Classroom
Picturing America, an exciting new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide. Through this innovative program, students and citizens will gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character through the study and understanding of its art. More

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Library of Congress
These resources will help learners of all ages begin an engaging, in-depth exploration of many of the Library’s most unique artifacts. They also provide educators with easy tools to integrate these artifacts, and the Library’s expertise, into their teaching.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extra Resources for "The Americans"
First off anyone can get these resources, whether or not you use the book above for US history or not. Right now, we are discussing colonial America and the online ancillaries have a number of primary resources such as Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and "The Life of Olaudah Equian0" and more. There are also quiz questions, puzzles and lots of links to things like the Proclamation of 1763. Not that these things are available on the net anyway, but here, at least, they are all collected in one easy to find place. Go here to find them.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Slavery/Indentured Servant Lesson Idea
Need an idea about how to present your early US lesson on indentured servants and introduction of slavery to the US, go here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Civil War in Four Minutes
This video shows the battles, ongoing casualties, which side controlled which side and more.
Digital Primary Source Documents
Has an amazing number of digital products such as slide shows, powerpoints, pictures, etc. You can also create your own portfolio that includes things such as links, teaching plans and more. Click here.
Hippo Campus
This is essentially a free online course. It has flash movies for the content as well as books and would be a great way to catch up students who join a course late. It has AP US, US and government. Click here or on the picture.
The Authentic History Center
This is comprised of artifacts and sounds from American popular culture. A large audio archive of speeches and news broadcasts are presented for students to experience a level of historical authenticity distinct from written sources. Click here or on the picture
All of Dr. Suess' Political Cartoons
This is broken up by year and has all of Suess' political cartoons. Click here.

Power Point Palooza
Over 200 US History Powerpoints with pictures, songs, etc. all embedded in each. It is broken up into different era. Click here.

Primary Sources
Click here or on the picture above to find a treasure trove of primary documents.
The US (and the World) Over Time
Pick a place in the US and you can see what was going on at any time in history. Click here or on the picture above to get to the site.
Create and Use Other People's Timelines
Click here or on the picture to go to a timeline sharing site. You can steal other people's timelines or make up your own. It will also give you links to sites.
Lesson Plans, webquests, pictures and more.
Click here or on the picture to get to this amazing site.

US History Site
This site has a lot of useful updates about US history for the classroom and can be reached by clicking on the adjacent picture.