Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Links for You

I get emails all the time regarding new projects and great sites to enhance my classroom. I thought I’d share a few with you:

Cotton Campus – is designed for elementary and middle school students, their educators and parents. The site has resources to help introduce the history of cotton. The site features slideshows, games, classroom activities and a video on cotton’s sustainability, as well as downloadable and printable lesson plans for teachers. Some of the activities involve writing and research, way to develop math skills through constructing and solving equations from cotton word problems, and science experiences involving comparisons between cotton, other natural and man-made fibers. There’s also a quiz or two.

21st Century Abe – has as its main purpose to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday and to take a look at his life, work and words through modern eyes. This site was created by the Rosenbach Museum & Library and highlights the museum’s collection of rare Lincoln manuscripts with a digital documement viewer, artists’ interpretations, commentary from a renowned Lincoln scholar & contests for the best user submissions.

Have you checked out the PBS show called History Detectives? I was recently informed that PBS Engage is featuring History Detectives, Tukufu Zuberi, as part of the ongoing PBS Engage series called “Five Good Questions”. The series features a PBS celebrity or insider and asks vistors to to send in questions to be answered the following week. The blog series has been very successful. Tufuku Zuberi will be the feature this week coinciding with a special episode of History Detectives next Monday….February 23, 2009…dedicated to African-Americans’ impact on history and society. You can post comments and questions here.

Democracy Web – This is a new website from Freedom House and the Albert Shanker Institute. The site not only describes the U.S. experience with democracy, but also compares it to that of every country in the world, including those where citizens lack a vote and a voice. There are two sections to the site….an interactive, global Map of Freedom and an online study guide designed to assist secondary schools and college-level educators as they prepare lesson plans.

Fresh Brain – is a great place for teens to explore technology. The site states….We give teens who are great at programming, graphics, or video a place to show off their work and develop new skills in the process…..Students can learn to make a YouTube video, program a video game, or develop a Facebook application.

And finally…..last but certainly not least

Academic Earth – this site brings together video lectures and full courses from leading educational institutions and adds in a user-friendly learning environment. There are more than 1,500 lectures (including history) and there are plans to add more in the future as well as some collaborative features and content in the next few months.

Happy clicking!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Framing History Correctly

In a post of mine over at American Presidents Blog titled Monroe Crossing the Delaware I go into great detail regarding how I use Emanuel Leutze’s painting Washington Crossing the Delaware in my classroom.

I’ve posted about the painting again over at APB. It seems the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovered a photo that depicted the painting in a special frame Leutze ordered specifically for the painting.

Per a web article I read over the weekend Leutze’s frame bore sheields at each corner and was topped with an eagle crest and a ribbon that marked lines from George Washington’s eulogy: “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of his Countrymen.”

You can read the rest of my post here, and see the Matthew Brady image that got the reframing started.

A Carnival For You...Even If You Aren't From Georgia

This month's Georgia Blog Carnival has posted over at Georgia on My Mind.

Head on over and check out several great reads. Posts include something about saving The New York Times, a review of Andy Crouch’s book Culture Making, sources to watch television online for free, and an opinion piece regarding a formal apology regarding slavery from an author you might be familiar with.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

13 Battles Involving Thunderstorms

Some of our greatest battles occurred during severe thunderstorms. Here are a few….check out the links for more information.

1.Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly)- took place in Chantilly, Virginia on September 1, 1862 during the Civil War. Out numbered 3 to 1, in the dark of night, with a terrible storm all around them…first [Union] General Stevens, then [Union] General Kearny were both killed in action. Stevens [was killed] while actually leading a charge up Ox Hill towards Jackson’s main column on Little River Turnpike, and Kearny [was killed] while riding his horse, alone, into a cornfield trying to determine where the Confederates were and where to send his men….after Stevens charge had been repelled. Stevens charge and Kearny’s rallying ride held the Confederates in check for the night, and gave the rest of the Union army enough time to escape. Congress later named a special medal for honor and valor after Kearny…the Congressional Medal of Honor.

2.Battle of Nanshan-occurred during the Russo-Japanese War on May 25, 1904 outside the present-day city of Dalian, Liaoning, China. During a heavy thunderstorm, the Japanese Fourth Division attacked the walled town of Chinchou (modern-day Jinzhou), just north of Nanzan hill. Despite being defeated by no more than 400 men with antiquated artillery, the Fourth Division failed on two attempts to breach its gates. Two battalions from the First Division attacked independently …finally breaching the defenses and taking the town. With his flank thus secure, General Oku could then commence the main assault on the entrenched Russian forces on Nanshan hill. The Japanese infantry was assisted by a prolonged artillery barrage from Japanese gunboats offshore.

3.Battle of Kursk- was an important battle that took place between the Germans and Soviets from July to August, 1943, during World War II. The battle occurred at Kursk, in Western Russia….[The battle involved] more than 2 million men and 3000 tanks. Kursk has been called the greatest tank battle in history and cost Germany more than 100,000 men and irreparable losses to its previously invincible tank divisions. From this site...the ground was waterlogged, and the weather during the battle featured occaisional thunderstorms….some hampered movements and the roads were in very poor shape.

4.Battle of Monterey Pass-occurred on July 4, 1863 during the Civil War. This battle is one of the most confusing battles of the Civil War and occurred during the retreat from Gettysburg ordered by General Robert E. Lee…Darkness set in during a blinding rainstorm. The Confederates wearing gum blankets, were mistaken as Union troops by General Kilpatrick’s Union calvary and were mixed in with the Union troops.

5.Battle of Evesham- happened during England’s Second Baron’s War and resulted in the defeat of Simon de Montfort against Edward I. The battle began around eight in the morning as a severe thunderstorm began. The battle was a massacre with Simon de Montfort body severely mutiliated….his head, hands, feet, and testicles cut off.

6.Battle of Oriskany – fought during the American Revolution near Oriskany, New York on August 6, 1777. Wikipedia advises this battle was one of the bloodiest battles in the American Revolutionary War and a significant engagement of the Saratoga campaign. It also has the distinction of being one of the few battles of the war where almost all of the participants were North American: Loyalists and Native Americans fought against Patriots in the absence of British soldiers…A violent thunderstorm caused a one-hour lull in the battle.

7. Battle of the Hydaspes River – involved Alexander the Great and his men in 325 BC. Alexander wanted to enter India, but this battle proved it would not happen. The Hydaspes was the last major battle fought by Alexander. Although victorious, Alexander’s exhausted army mutinied and refused to go any further into India.

8. Battle of Messines-was fought during World War I in June, 1917. One of the key features of the battle was the detonation of 19 mines immediately prior to the infantry assault, a tactic which disrupted German defenses and allowed advancing troops to secure their objectives in rapid fashion. The attack which was a prelude to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, known as Passchendaele…At 3:10, the order was given across the line to detonate the mines, which totaled 600 tons of explosives. Of the 21 mines laid 19 were exploded. General Plumer remarked to his staff the evening before the attack, “Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.”…The crest was blown off the Messines-Wytschaete ridge. Audible in Dublin and by Lloyd George in his Downing Street study, the combined sound of the simultaneous mine explosions comprised the loudest man-made explosion until that point. Of the two mines which remained undetonated on 7 June, the details of their precise location were mislaid by the British following the war, to the discomfort of local townspeople. One of the mines was detonated in a thunderstorm on 17 June 1955: the only casualty was a dead cow. The second mine remains undetected, although in recent years its location is believed to have been pinpointed. No-one has as yet attempted its recovery.

9. Battle of Puebla – Ever hear of Cinco de Mayo? This battle occurred on May 5, 1862 between Mexico and France. At some point during this battle heavy rains created a quagmire on the field. Learn more here.

10. Battle of Rain – this battle occurred during the Thirty Years War and is also referred to as the Battle of Lech….I included this battle only to be cute. No rain fell from the sky, but the battle did take place close to the city of Rain, Bavaria. Read about it here.

11. Battle of the Clouds – this battle is also known as the Battle of Warren, Battle of Whitehorse Tavern, or the Battle of Goshen and was fought on September 16, 1777 close to Malvern, Pennsylvania. Moments before a British attack a torrential downpour ensued. Washington and the Patriots were severely outnumbered and tens of thousands of cartridges were ruined by the rain. Washington opted for tactical retreat. Bogged down by rain and mud, the British allowed Washington and his army to escape.

12. Battle of Agincourt- October 1415…Having invaded France, Henry V met a formidable army at Agincourt, a village in the north east. The odds against him seemed hopeless—his troops were exhausted, hungry, suffering from dysentery and hopelessly outnumbered by the enemy. Their plight grew even worse the night before battle, when rain pelted down and, with very little shelter, the English were left soaking wet. Visit the link to find out who won.

13.Okinawa- 82 days of battle between the United States and Japan from March to June, 1945 with one of the highest number of casualties of any World War Two engagement: the Japanese lost over 100,000 troops, and the Allies (mostly United States) suffered more than 50,000 casualties. The much talked-about “plum rains” of Okinawa were to set in and continue day after day. Mud was to become king, and it was impossible to mount large-scale attacks during and immediately after the storms.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Out and About Sunday

The History Carnival posted this past week over at Diapsalmata. Once I finish this post I’m putting my feet up and heading over there to click through all the great reads. Yes, I’m a little late getting around to it, but in case you are unaware I had surgery again a couple of weeks ago, and s-l-o-w is the word I live by these days. :)

A few months ago the folks over at contacted me and asked me to set up a blog over at their hub. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do over there, but after copying my efforts here a few times I finally decided to focus on current events.

Sounds appropriate for a social studies teacher, doesn’t it?

At any rate my offering over there this week is titled A Real Apology and it focuses on my thoughts regarding a formal apology for slavery and an apology made just this past week from a former member of the KKK to U.S. Rep. John Lewis this past week. You can find the post here.

Finally, this past week Jennie, over at American Presidents Blog posted a picture for readers to identify. When she went to gather up her information to write a post to identify the man she discovered I had already written a post about him….former White House Chief Usher Ike Hoover… and published it here at History Is Elementary. Jennie’s a smart lady, a busy educator, and an even busier wife and mom…rather than reinvent the wheel she asked me to republish my post at American Presidents. I was happy to do so.

Ike Hoover is an example of great Americans that are behind the scenes…in Ike’s case he was behind the scenes for eight different presidents. In case you missed it on its first run you can read more about him over at American Presidents Blog.

Finally, I was sad to learn last week the folks who have run the Thursday Thirteen blog meme for the last several months have had to take the site down leaving many die-hard fans saddened. A few fans are continuing on with their regular Thirteen list, and I plan to do so as well. Even though I try to present an academic offering here I liked the idea of participating in Thursday Thirteen because the concept fit well with historical topics where I could relate thirteen facts in a very basic cut and dry fashion. Plus I liked the idea of reaching out to the non-history, non-educator crowd in an effort to show them history can be interesting and can be……should I really say it? FUN!!!!!!! Look for a Thirteen list later this week involving weather and war.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wordless: Images from the Dust Bowl

You can see a list of other bloggers posting wordless images here