Thursday, April 6, 2017

That The Yanks Are Coming...America Enters The Great War

Images of my Great Uncle
Who Lost His Life in WW1
On this 100 Year Centennial of America Entering WW1 I thought I would share some resources to use with students.

Make sure you also check out some of these earlier Blog posts I've done on World War I:

Some Resources to Check Out:
Propaganda Posters at the WW1 Museum & Memorial
Kansas City, MO

World War I Resources via The Library of Congress has lots primary source documents, exhibitions, blogs, and much much more. Check out their online exhibit Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I as a starting place.  Keep checking back on this resource as the Centennial Celebration Continues.

World War I Teacher Guide via The Library of Congress is a great starting place for teachers looking for ways to incorporate primary sources into their lessons with students on World War I.

World War I Centennial via The National Archives has a lot of great resources to dig into World War I. They have a great interactive Timeline, lots of primary sources, photos, and educational resources, and a WWI App that allows you to interact with these resources on mobile Apple and Androied devices. Search their Photo Archives here

Military Resources: World War I via The National Archives has documents, photos, audio files, and lesson plan ideas for using these resources with students.

US Enters WWI - Centennial Animation Video via  Is a great way to introduce the start of US involvement in WW1 through US propaganda posters of this era. There are also great short video clips to share with students.

100th Anniversary US Entry into WW1 via American History TV - Take a tour of the World War I Museum, see some of their exhibits, and listen to experts talking about the impact of this conflict.

Inscription at the base
of WWI Memorial & Museum
Kansas City, MO
The National WW1 Museum and Memorial in Kansas City websites has many online exhibits and education resources worthy of checking out.

United States World War I Draft Registration Cards via Family Search- This free database allows you to search for individual draft cards. If you think you had a family member who served in World War I good chances you can find their original draft card here. - A very comprehensive collection of images, artifacts, diaries, letters, and other  resources telling the story of WW1.

WW1 Resource Center: Image Database - A collection of World War images on a crowd source website WW1 Resource Center.

Newspaper Pictorials: Via the Library of Congress is a collection of newspaper images from World War I. Check out their timeline of events of World War I.

American Battle Monuments Commission - Explore through videos and images US Battle Cemeteries throughout Europe from both World War I and World War II.

American Experience: The Great War via PBS will be a three-part miniseries that starts on April 10th. Looking forward to this miniseries.

World War I Collection via EDTools NewseumED has a lot of newspaper documents that explore several topics on World War I.

NMAAHC WWI Collection via the National Museum of African American History & Culture have a lot of great artifacts of African American's involvement in World War I.

Stories About World War I via NPR News is a great collection of stories from NPR they have done on this conflict.

World War I Sources in Special Collections via the Musselman Library has a lot of posters,images, letters, & correspondences in their World War I collections

Summit County and The Great War Via Summit Country Library (Ohio) has various artifacts from those who served in WWI as well as a link to the University of Akron WWI Collections

Artist Soldiers: The AEF Art Program via Smithsonian national Air and Space Museum is a great collection of artwork created by artists who served in WWI and from soldiers who recorded their experiences.

Joseph M. Broccoli Great War Collection: Postcards via The University of South Carolina Library has a lot of great images taken on the Western Front. You can refine your search by country.

World War I Interactive Timeline via World Digital Library gives you a interactive way to look at maps, images, posters, and other documents of World War I from various institutions from around the world.

Photographs of From the World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall via Massachusetts Historical Society is a collection of 246 photographs of Margaret Hall who was a member of the American Red Cross in France during the war.

World War I Films (YouTube Chanel) Via The National Archives

(Link to YouTube Chanel)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy Birthday Nebraska

This Year Marks The 150th Birthday of Nebraska becoming a State. I thought I would compile some resources on the History of Nebraska and some of the resources on Nebraska's big birthday. Did I forget anything? Make sure you leave me a comment.

Nebraska 150

Check out many different statewide activities at NE150 and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I am Nebraska Oral History Project might be a fun activity for Nebraska Students to practice collecting Oral Histories.  Learn more about collecting Oral Histories at Oral History Interviews via The Library of Congress.

Nebraska History:

Nebraska State Historical Site Main Website:
Also check out there Online Exhibits here.

Nebraska State Historical Marker Text: 
Explore the text of Nebraska's many Historical Markers.

Lots of great resources on Nebraska History from Pre 1500 to modern day. Find informational text that go nicely with pre-created Teacher Lessons.

Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters 1862, 1912. 
This resource from the Library Congress has lots of primary source documents from the Oblinger Family striving on the Great Plains.  Begin searching the database here.

Nebraska Memories
Digital collection of Nebraska cultural and historical materials. Make sure you Browse their vast collections.

Vintage Nebraska Photos on Facebook is a fun place to find historical images of many towns in Nebraska. Search their alphabetical list of towns here.

Explore the history, arts, and architecture of the Nebraska State Capitol and Governor's mansion with Nebraska Virtual Capitol.

The Lincoln Journal Star has published 150 Notable Nebraskans. A great place to learn about some of the many people who have influenced this state.


Here are some video Playlists of all things Nebraska.

Now You Know Nebraska: Nebraska 150 Videos
Find all of their Videos on YouTube Here.

Historic Moving Images from the Archives via Nebraska State Historical Society
Great short historical videos.

Discovering Willa Cather's Letters via The University of Nebraska  -Lincoln

International Quilt Study Center and Museum  via the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Nebraska History via NETNebraska

Nebraska's Natural Beauty via NETNebraska

Nebraska at War via NETNebraska

Nebraska Stories via NETNebraska

Nebraska From Above via WorldFromAbove-HD

Did I forget anything? Do you know of any other great websites to help learn more about Nebraska? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Predictions For the Future: 1900 and Today

Happy New Year! It amazes me how retrospective we get as people at this time of year. Looking back on the past year examining the good and the bad that has happened it is easy for one to get nostalgic . But as soon as the clock strikes midnight and we usher in a brand New Year we are once again filled with hope, optimism, and dreams of what lies ahead in our future. 

Teaching a Full Survey of US History I start my Second Semester transitioning from the 1800's to the 1900's. Second Semester is full of major historical events that have deeply shaped our current present. This is a little activity I like to do with students to help them analyze historical documents working on comparing and contrasting skills. It also gives me a chance to show students what life was like in the 1900's, how we begin to see transformational changes taking place that begin to shape Modern America, and what citizens of the 1900's thought the future might look like which of course is the time period we are currently living in. This lesson usually spans over two days with some additional days for student research or student creation as time permits. 

Start With a Video of the Past

With Thomas Edison's invention of the Motion Camera at the turn of the Century there are lots of great videos of this time period to share with students. I have students watch the following Edison clip to examine clothing, technology present, actions of the participants in the video, etc..

For more ideas on analyzing Historical Images check out some of my earlier Blog Post; Debunking Time Travel or Getting Started with Primary Source Documents

What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City

If you haven't checked out the Library of Congress YouTube channel there are lots of great Edison videos you can share with students or have them research on their own as an extension for this assignment.  The Life of the City: Early Films of New York (1898-1906) or Early Films of San Fransisco 1897-1916 

Next We Watch A Video of the Present

We than watch a Street Camera view of Time Square via Earth Cam with the same questions in mind (examine clothing, technology present, actions of the participants in the video, etc..). There is a commercial we have to watch first, but I like this because students are always amazed that they are watching New York live.

EarthCam has a lot of live Street Views from around the world that are also worth checking out.

Students Conduct Research

To finish up the lesson I have students conduct some research to help them complete a Compare/Contrast Venn Diagram of America in the 1900's to today.

To make their research a little easier I give them a handout I created several years ago that gives them a lot of basic information about life in the 1900's so they can compare this to  today. Price Comparisons are always a lot of fun for students to look at. Check out my an earlier Blog Post What Would That Cost Today? for more on price comparisons.
 With students lives in a very Tech-immersed world I also like to focus a little on Technology. PBS Kids had a great website to explore 1900 Tech but unfortunately it has been pulled from their servers. However, using the Internet Archive WayBack Machine you can still access this site at:

What The Future May Bring

I share with my students that many Americans were hopeful, optimistic, but also fearful of the new century they were entering. Lots of changes were beginning to take shape not too much different than what we have experienced as we have moved from the 20th Century into the 21st Century. Making predictions of the future were common in the 1900's as they are today.

I have student's examine the following Post Cards to see what people a hundred years ago thought how we might live today. I encourage students to see if there were any areas they think they guessed correctly.

I also will have students read this article from the Lady's Home Journal of 28 future predictions for the year 2000 via Open Culture. (Skip right to the Lady's Home Journal Article here.)

Another interesting prediction article to have student's read is The Boston Globe of 1900 Imagines the Year 200 via Smithsonian Magazine.

This 1939's British Pathe film on clothing of the Future is also pretty fun to watch. It's not from the early 1900's, but could serve as inspiration for students.

Howard Stark presentation in Captain America: The First Avenger also might help with student inspiration.

I end this lesson with having students making their own predictions of what life in the year 3000 might look like.  I give students a lot of flexibility on how to do this whether its a list like the Lady's Home Journal or create images like the Post Cards.

What are some ways you introduce the early 1900's? What lessons do you have the help students work on compare/contrast skills or historical analysis skills? I would love to hear more about them in the comments section below. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Assassination of Lincoln CSI Activity

In remembrance of the 150th Anniversary of the Assassination of Lincoln, here is a fun activity that I have my students complete at the conclusion of our unit on the Civil War.

Students are broken up into CSI Teams and have to learn as much as they can about the events that led to this national tragedy. I use a variety of video, music, primary documents, and website resources to help students investigate this pivotal moment in US History.

The President Has Been Shot:

Students watch the assassination scene from the movie The Conspirator and take notes of what they saw as well as questions that have been raised from the video. This is a good time to introduce students to the fact that this was a "conspiracy" and there are several victims and villains in this story. It is good for students to ask a lot of questions and brainstorm things they need to learn more about before they can solve this heinous crime.

If you have not seen the movie The Conspirator, it is a really great historical drama that looks at the Mary Surratt Trial. The Movie Trailer is below. This movie in itself could be a full week long lesson on the trial and The Conspirator Website does have education resources worth investigating. They have lessons that examine issues surrounding a  fair trial, rights of women in the 19th Century, etc..

Students Are On The Case:

Students are told that they have been hired by Secretary of War Stanton and have been assigned the task to track down the assassins and unravel the conspiracy behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I really "cheese" this up and play the theme song from CSI as we go over the directions.

Students are broken up into teams and they are given a Crime Scene Report. On this report students record key information about the "Victims" and the "Conspirators."

I would love to take my students to Ford's Theatre, but I don't think my Principal would provide the budget for it. So instead I provide students with these websites to help them learn more about the players involved in the case and what happened on the date of the assassination and the following manhunt that took place. These websites are full of primary sources, artifacts, and general information about the events that took place surrounding the Lincoln Assassination.

Update 2016 Due to changes in Websites these are current websites that I use with students

The Crime Has Been Solved

After students have completed their crime report, we play a Socrative Space Race Game having the teams play against each other over their knowledge of the Lincoln Assassination. Students enjoy the excitement of tracking down the conspirators and learning more about the events that surrounds Lincoln's Assasination.

Here are some other great resources about the Lincoln Assassination. I would love to hear what you use with your students in the comments section below.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Password Security

Creative Commons image via Pixaby 
Digital Literacy is an important life skill that all of our students need to know. Back in 2012 I had the opportunity to create and teach a course titled "Digital Media & Literacy" as an elective 8th grade class.  Although I am no longer able teach this course, I think that some of these lessons are still very worthwhile and wanted to share them on my blog post.

One of the lessons I had students go through was titled Password Protection.

Lesson Begins:

I had students start the lesson by viewing:

  • Secure Passwords video via CommonCraft This a great video that gives some great examples of how to create secure and safe passwords. Provides for a great introduction to passwords and a good starting point for this lesson. 
 Next students and I discussed the following article to talk about what makes for a strong password and why this might be the case.  

Since I taught this course back in 2012 here are some more recent website articles that might be helpful.

Guided Practice: 

I than had students complete an activity from Common Sense Media. They have lots of great lessons on a wide range of Digital Literacy Topics and I hope to share some other examples in the future that I've used with students. To download their material you will have to create a free account. Check out their educators Scope and Sequence Page for other lessons.

  • Strong Passwords: This lesson has student handouts for students to work through on creating stronger passwords. This is now part of their elementary scope and sequence, but if students haven't had any lessons on the topic I think it would still work for middle school age students. 

Finally in the lesson I had students use the following two websites to check out some of their created passwords from the Common Sense lesson.

  • How Secure Is My Password is a fun little website that looks at how long it would take a computer to crack your password. I wouldn't use your actual password on this site, but it might be fun for students to try different combinations to see how secure different types of passwords can be. (The site is supported by Dashlane.)
  • Passwordmeter is another website that looks at strengths of passwords. Again, I would recommend not actually using your passwords on this site but would be another helpful site for students to try different combinations to see how secure different types of password combinations can be.

For Further Learning: 

Creative Commons image from Pixaby
Here are some other resources worth checking out for you or your students.

Use WolframAlpha to Create a Strong Password via Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne

Have I been pwned? allows you to search if your e-mail or username has been compromised. Learn more at there FAQ page.

Do you have any great lesson ideas or resources to help students learn about online security and passwords? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Fly Me To The Moon: Space Race During The Cold War

Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 Moon Landing 
On July 20th, 1969 Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made history as being the first people to land on the moon. I wanted to post some websites I've found to help students learn more about this historic event and the Space Race during The Cold War.


Apollo 11: Commemorating the first humans steps on the Moon via Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has a lot of information, images, videos about the moon landing.

Mission To Space with NASA & Legos is a fun interactive look at space exploration. This is great for younger students.  

Fly Me To The Moon JFK Tapes via The Miller Center is audio of President Kennedy and NASA Director James Webb discuss the future of the US Space Program including the possibility of a Moon landing. 

Explore the Apollo 11 Moon Landing via has a lot of great images and information about the moon landing where you can track the explorer's journey.

Nixon and the U.S. Space Program via National Archives has artifacts and documents about the historical moon landing, including a speech President Nixon never had to give In Event of Moon Disaster.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins Go Through Customs and Sign Immigration Form After First Moon Landing (1969) via Open Culture is a great story (and image of the paperwork) about the astronauts return to Earth.

We Choose The Moon via JFK Museum and Library is a great interactive to look at the Apollo Mission.

Project Apollo Archive on flickr is a database of thousand of pictures from the Apollo missions. Search through Albums to help you find specific images for the different Apollo missions.

On Twitter relive the Apollo 11 Moon landing with @ReliveApollo11 from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as they live tweet the Apollo 11 Mission.

Apollo 11 via History.Com has a lot of facts, videos, and resources to learn more about the Moon landing.

NASA -The Spacesuit is a fun interactive that looks at the evolution of the suits of the Astronauts.

YouTube Videos:

The Moon: Crash Course Astronomy #12 (YouTube)
Learn more about the Moon.

Who won the space race? with Jeff Steers a TED-ED (YouTube)
This video looks at the history of the Space Race during the Cold War.

Apollo 8's Christmas Eve 1968 Message (YouTube)
Famous Christmas Eve message that quotes the book of Genesis.

In the 1950's Walt Disney hired German Rocket scientist Wernher von Braun to help make Tomorrowland as accurate as possible.  The Disney-Von Braun Collaboration and Its Influence on Space Exploration by Mike Wright is a great article that describes this relationship and how it influenced space exploration. Out of this collaboration came several Television shows such as the ones below.

Disney Animated Educational Video Man In Space 1955  (YouTube)

Disney Education Animation Man and The Moon 1955 (YouTube)

Disneyland Mars and Beyond 1954 (YouTube)

Do you have any great resources or activities to teach about the Moon landing or the Space Race? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Election 2016 Resources

The White House
photo by Lance Mosier
Every four years presents an opportunity to help students in my 8th grade US History class learn about how the United States elects the President Of The United States. I hope to continue to add to this blog post with additional resources as I find them as we approach the election in November.

It's My Party.....I wrote an earlier blog about teaching students about the two major political parties in the United States. I will use this lesson again this fall to help students see where they stand on issues and to help them learn about the two political parties.

Election Central via PBS Learning Media: Is a very detailed website with lots of resources for teachers that have pre-made lesson plans ranging from elementary to high school.

Letters for the Next President 2.0 is a nation wide initiative to help students engage in the political process. As they state on their website "Letters to the Next President 2.0 (L2P 2.0) is an initiative that empowers young people (13-18) to voice their opinions and ideas on the issues that matter to them in the coming election."

Getting the Nomination via PBS Learning Media is a short video that describes the nomination process.

Meet The Candidates in 100 Words and 60 Seconds via NPR lest all of the Republican and Democratic candidates for presidents. This was designed for the primaries but does provide good quick information for both candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

How Every State Voted via Business Insider: Is a quick overview video of all Presidential Elections in US History.

Hanging out at the White House
Photo by Lance Mosier
Appraising the Electoral College via The Bill of Rights Institute is an online lesson that looks at understanding how the Electoral College Works, as well of having students examine pros and cons to this election process.  Even if you do not plan on using this entire lesson there are some links to some great videos and resources worth checking out.

270 to Win is one of my favorite websites for students to use to explore the process of the Electoral College. Here students can look back at all past Presidential Elections as well as see how various state electoral vote combinations can get candidates to that magic 270 number.

Win the White House via iCivics is a great game for students to play to learn about how the process of running for President works and what it takes to Win The White House.

Scholastic News Election 2016 Resources has lots of information to help students learn about the issues and candidates running for President.

Newsela Election 2016 is a collection of articles on the 2016 Election from Newsela. If you haven't used this resource before I would definitely check it out. It is a great way to differentiate news article to different reading levels for students. There is a free account to give you some basic access or you can pay for a pro account that provides more interactive resources.

Interactive Constitution Article II - The Executive Branch:  The National Constitution Center has a great new feature Called The Interactive Constitution where scholars discuss elements of the Constitution. Might be a good resource not only for understanding the Electoral College but also the role of the presidency.

American Democracy - Google Cultural Institute: A lot of great primary source documents about historical elections and voting throughout US History.

News Outlet Election Coverage:

YouTube Play List (Presidential Election): These are videos that help explain how the process for electing a president such as understanding primaries, caucuses, and the Electoral College. I will continue to add videos as I discover them and if you have great videos please share them in the comments section below and I'll be sure to add them.

***New Resources To Be Added***

#MyParty16 Resources - Great additional election resources.

The Election and the Educator via Edutopia

Step Inside the Voting Booth via PBS Kids (The Democracy Project)

How Tomorrow Votes sponsored by CSX

Blue Feed, Red Feed via WSJ would be a good way for students to compare media and bias.

Get To Meet The Candidates (Lesson Plan 7-12) via PBS

Candidate Comparison via InsideGOV

Candidate Comparison via ISIDEWITH.COM

2016 Political Quiz (Which candidate matches you the most) via ISIDEWITHQUIZ

2016 Convention Speeches via C-SPAN

2016 Presidential (Vice-President) Debates

If you have some great resources to help students understand the 2016 Election please share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear about them to add them.