Sunday, May 26, 2013

Making the Most of Memorial Day

Memorial Day...also known as Decoration Day.

Arlington National Cemetery
photo by Lance Mosier.
For many Memorial Day is the official start to Summer. Although I appreciate a good barbecue and warmer weather, the true meaning of Memorial Day is to remember all the brave Americans who have lost their lives defending this country.

Memorial Day originally started after one of America's most bloodiest wars, The Civil War. The holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, which was a day to go to cemeteries to pay respect to loved ones who were killed during this conflict. Viewing these two websites, Civil War Infographic of Causalities and Battles and Casualties of the Civil War Map, it is easy to see why so many began this tradition. Everybody in the country was impacted by this war in some way or another.

 Below are a list of websites and resources to help you and your students remember Memorial Day.

Learn About The Soldiers:

Great Great Grandfather who served in Civil War.
Civil War Soldier Database: Search for a family member or local civil war soldier who fought in the Civil War to learn about what unit they were in, battles they fought in, and other interesting information about this Civil War Soldier. I found some great information about my own family member who served in the Civil War.

The Civil War 14 National Cemeteries: Search the 14 Civil War National Cemeteries by using their database to look for family or those in your community who fought in the Civil War and are buried at these cemeteries.

Antietam 360- Battle of Antietam: Can't make it to a National Cemetery or a Civil War Battlefield, go to this very well done website. Visit the Antietam Civil War Battlefield and learn from Park Rangers about this important battle and some of the interesting history found there.

My Great Uncle who died in France
 during World War I

Nebraskans in World War I: Database of Nebraska Soldiers who served in World War I. You can search by names or by counties. This is where I found a picture of my Uncle Frank. I talked about this in a previous Blog Post "A Personal Touch...Soldiers and World War I"

The Price of Freedom: Americans at War A good interactive database of artifacts and items soldiers used in all wars American's have been involved in to learn about the life of a Soldier.

***New 2017*** Soldiers, Veterans, and War in American Life via PBS Learning Media has a great collection of videos, images, and lesson plans to help students explore the solider's perspective.

Vietnam Memorial
Photo by Lance Mosier

Visit The Vietnam Memorial Wall 

(Virtually if you can't make it to D.C.)

Look for soldiers from your community who died in Vietnam by using the database from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and than visit the Virtual Wall at View the Wall to find their names on the Memorial itself.

I had my students do this when we were studying the Vietnam War. I was able to get a list of alumni from our High School who died in Vietnam and I had students see if they could find their names on the Wall and any history about them. 

Learn about TAPS and Arlington National Cemetery

Taps Player Statue at
Arlington Visitor Center
Photo by Lance Mosier
Taps Bugler: Is a A very informative website about the history of Taps, sound files and music, and other really interesting information about this iconic song.

Arlington National Cemetery App: If you get a chance to visit Arlington National Cemetery and have a Smartphone (iPhone, Droid) make sure you download the app to help you find markers and monuments at the cemetery. 

Read On Hallowed Ground by Robert M. Poole which is a great book on the History of Arlington Cemetery. Great read for Memorial Day. 

Watch My Favorite Rendition of the Gettysburg Address. 

Watch The Changing Of The Guards At The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Watch the Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of  the Unknown Soldier. Here is a video I shot while in DC in April, 2013.

The First Decoration Day by David W. Blight Yale University  
Learn about African Americans important role in Decoration Day at Charleston, SC. 

Quote of President Truman at the
WWII Memorial Washington D.C.
Photo by Lance Mosier

I hope that you find these resources helpful to you and your students. I would love to hear from you what you do to help connect Memorial Day, Soldiers, and our Cemeteries to our students in the comments section below.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

HMTV...History Music Television

"I want my H-MTV"

I am at an interesting age where I'm young enough to have enjoyed how music videos changed how we experience our music, yet old enough to remember when you could watch MTV to actually watch music videos.

Music videos are a great way to tie our two most powerful senses of "Sight and Sound" to help convey emotion of a song.

As a wrote in an earlier post "A Song In Your Step" I have always enjoyed music and try to play as much music in my classroom to help set the stage of learning of that day for my students.

Another way I have incorporated music into my classroom is by creating music videos that tie specific music with historical photos. It really helps lead our discussion in class where students can both examine the lyrics of the song and the various images used to discuss the themes and attitudes of the historica event we are focusing on. I have found it really helps our discussion go to a much deeper level.

Making the Music Video:

The easiest way to do this is by using iPhoto's Slideshow Feature. iPhoto is fairly easy to use, and has enough editing features to make it very profesional looking.

Of course it is possible to use online tools like Animoto, or using slideshow features in Powerpoint and Keynote to create these music videos.

Most of the songs I have used for my music videos have been purchased on iTunes or CD's that I've purchased.

If you looking for general thematic music, FreePlay Music is a great tool to find music to fit a particular theme, mood, or style.

There are also a lot of places to find historical images, it is just important that you follow copyright law and use agreements. Using the Advanced Google Image Search, you can filter your results by usage rights to help you find images to use.

The Library of Congress Prints and Photo's Division has a great collection of searchable images as well as guides to help direct your search. If you are looking for images of 20th Century America, LIFE PHOTOS are a very extensive collection of images. Historical Photos in Shmoop can also help you find images of a particular time period. Just make sure you are abiding by Copyright Law when using these images with students.

My Music Videos I Have Created I Share With Students:

I wish I could show you my videos, but because songs are protected under Copyright I will tell you which songs I use for which topic.

Slave Songs... before the Civil War
Slave Shout Songs from the Coast of Georgia (iTunes)
Music in Slave Life from PBS

Heart of the Appaloosa...Story of the Nez Perce
The Heart of the Appaloosa

It's a Hard Knocked Life.....Child Labor and photos of Lewis Hines
It's the Hard-Knock Life

If Everyone Cared....Images of the Great Depression
If Everyone Cared

Fish Cheer.....Woodstock, Vietnam Protests, and Counterculture
The Fish Cheer

Fortunate Son....Images of the Vietnam War
Fortunate Son

We Shall Overcome....struggle for Civil Rights
We Shall Overcome

Student Extension

Of course a great project idea would be to get students to create their own music video. Students can find images and music to help convey a theme of a historical event or time period that you are studying.

How do you use music and images in your classroom? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.