We the Teachers

The Miller Center: Presidential Campaign Debates

Carter v. Reagan Debates

The 2012 presidential debates are approaching.  Many social studies teachers may incorporate the Obama-Romney debates into their classroom.  The Miller Center is an excellent resource for teachers who would like to provide opportunities for students to compare/contrast this election with past ones.

The surface similarities the 1980 Carter-Reagan campaign with this current one are myriad.  The incumbent Democrat, facing a difficult economy, was seen in Carter as well as presently seen in Obama.  The Republican challenger in both cases either asked or is asking Americans, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

But getting past the surface takes a little more research.  If a teacher was interested in pursuing the similarities and differences, on a deeper level, between the 1980 and the 2012 elections, the Miller Center’s site on the Campaigns and Elections of Jimmy Carter would be very helpful.

Teachers will find both the 1976 and 1980 elections summarized here.  Additionally, videos are posted that include clips of the presidential debates from each election.  Hopefully, these resources can help teachers find ways to make past elections and debates relevant to the current election and debates.

 

Riding the Tiger: Election Season Blog

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” --Harry S. Truman

With election season in high gear, many social studies teachers may be looking for ways to incorporate the campaigns into their classrooms.  The University of Virginia’s Miller Center is an highly informative, nonpartisan resource that is very useful for analyzing presidential history.

The Miller Center contains its own blog on elections.  Dubbed “Riding the Tiger,” this blog contains informative articles concerning past elections and this current one.  It helps provide historical context for issues surfacing in 2012.  From the Miller Center blog itself:

Riding the Tiger looks at contemporary events through the lens of history. It frames the 2012 race by providing scholarly insight into policy and politics and featuring historical resources from the Miller Center’s digital archive.”

There are a couple links within this blog that are especially relevant and interesting.  One site is called: “Greatest Hits from Democratic Conventions Since the Progressive Era.”  A useful companion for teachers wishing to engage in compare/contrast activities would be: Greatest Hits in the Modern History of Republican Conventions.

Religion in 18th Century America Lesson Plan

Many APUSH classes are beginning their study of the reasons that Colonial America sought  separation from Great Britain. One of the many significant undercurrents of this era was the First Great Awakening. TAH has a fabulous curriculum unit that, through the use of primary documents, introduce students to the First Great Awakening, as well as to the ways in which religious-based arguments were used both in support of and against the American Revolution. These lessons can be found here.

Inspired to Make a Difference after 9/11

Tomorrow marks the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.  The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation serves to honor the victims, survivors, and rescuers involved in the 2001 and 1993 attacks upon the World Trade Center.

At their website, 911memorial.org, the Foundation offers a wealth of resources useful for teachers and others who wish to discuss the events and their aftermath.  In particular, check out the Teaching Guide entitled Inspired to Make a Difference after 9/11, which chronicles the acts of volunteerism by people around the world in the wake of the attacks.

Lesson Plan of the Week: Abraham Lincoln on the American Union: “A Word Fitly Spoken”

This lesson that was created by Professor Lucas Morel and Teacher Constance Murray, explores the political thought of Abraham Lincoln on the subject of American union. Students will examine Lincoln’s three most famous speeches—the Gettysburg Address and the First and Second Inaugural Addresses—in addition to a little known fragment on the Constitution, union, and liberty to see what they say regarding the significance of union to the prospects for American self-government. These speeches and other lesson resources can be accessed through this interactive. Upon completion, students should have a better understanding of why Lincoln revered the union of the American states as “the last best, hope of earth.”

Learn Liberty

Learn Liberty is website run by the Institute for Humane Studies and designed to assist educators in addressing key issues in economics, philosophy, and other disciplines. In the Classroom Resources section of the Learn Liberty website, teachers can find curriculum guides, and videos. Learn Liberty is great for supplemental material, to start a discussion and to structure outside-of class assignments.

TAH Lesson Plan of the Week

This week’s suggested plan was created by Professor Chris Burkett and teacher Patricia Dillon and is entitled, “The Federalist and Anti-federalist Debates on Diversity and the Extended Republic.” Lesson one focuses on the Anti-Federalist argument while lesson two deals with Federalist arguments of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and the extension of the republic (Federalist #s 9, 10 and 51). The printable PDF files that accompany each lesson challenge students to study primary that frame each debate. An incredible unit that will bring this period to life for your students.

The Churchill Centre and Museum

Any study of or research project into WWII should include a stop at the Winston Churchill Centre and Museum. This incredible online resource for all things Churchill offers access to audio files of Churchill’s speeches, reviews of books on WWII and Churchill, updates on traveling exhibits, and materials for teachers.  Remember to sign up for the Chartwell Bulletin and recieve monthly e-mail updates on Centre news.

TAH Lesson Plans

Many teachers are starting much deserved summer vacations. Even though the 2012-2013 school year is a couple months away, the time off can provide opportunities to look at new ideas. Did you know that there are many incredible lessons available on this site? Over the course of the summer the “We the Teachers” blog will try to highlight some of them on a weekly basis.

The first is an awesome plan entitled “The War for American Independence” created by Professor John Moser and West Branch HS (Pa.) teacher Lori Hahn. It can be found here.

 

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution

No document is more central to securing “the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” than the United States Constitution, and no website is more thorough than ConstitutionOnline.com.

The Heritage Foundation has launched a new site, “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution,” a searchable reference tool revolving around the Constitution. “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is intended to provide a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution as envisioned by the Framers and as applied in contemporary law.” This new resource can compliment a lesson on the Constitution and is a great way to incorporate technology into your lesson. Check-out the Teacher Companion section of the site to see how this resource can be used in your classroom.

Home for History- Gilder Lehrman

Gilder Lehrman launched their new “Home for History” website this month. The site features History by Era, Programs and Exhibitions, Primary Sources, History Now, Community, and Multimedia. This site is a great go-to resources for teachers, students and scholars.

The History by Era section of the site can act as a great visual aid for students as they study the American Revolution, the Civil War and many more. Each era is equipped with a  chronological timeline of important dates to the era. Sub eras provide teachers with essays,   related primary sources, teacher resources and multimedia. Check-out Home for History and introduce this great new resource into your classroom.

Teaching with Primary Sources

The Library of Congress publishes a quarterly Journal entitled, The Teaching with Primary Source (TPS) Journal. This journal “focuses on pedagogical approaches to teaching with Library of Congress digitized primary sources in K-12 classrooms.” Their recent November issue, The Civil War Across Disciplines“explores how teachers can use primary sources to teach about the Civil War.” Click the link below to explore previous issues of The TPS Journal.

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