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.