Sunday, May 20, 2012

Take Your Students on Virtual Trips to the SMITHSONIAN to EXPLORE HISTORY!

With Common Core Standards coming in social studies (along with math, science, and ELA), students need to learn not only what primary sources are (see BLOG post Thursday, May 17th), but how to find them.  Here guidance is needed so time spent on the internet is not wasted time.  Creating your own GOOGLE search engine for them is the ideal (I will address this over the summer both in this blog at at my website  ELL TEACHER PROS in the AUGUST BACK TO SCHOOL newsletter), but if time is limited, having a collection of pre-approved sites by you is a must.

To illustrate how an example of how this site could become a class resource in a World War II lesson, look at the following link to the plight of Japanese Americans and the discrimination they faced in the US at that time.  A MORE PERFECT UNION:  JAPANESE AMERICANS AND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION  Students will see several forms of primary sources including testimonies of survivors, photographs of the camps and their internees, clips from news articles of the time, historical video, etc.).  So when students must write an opinion paper on the prejudice of the time (Japanese Americans were sent to camps, but Italian and German Americans never suffered such humiliation), they can study sites such as this one (and others) to provide concrete evidence to support their thesis statements. 

This section offers a look at America's past through cultural artifacts familiar to many.  Look at those ruby red slippers!  There is probably no item more famous world wide than Dorothy's shoes from the Wizard of OZ!  It is available in over 100 languages and still viewed regularly all over the globe.  This is a look at the culture of Hollywood and its lasting imprint on the American soul.  Then there is that lovable Kermit the Frog.  Every child on the planet knows those muppets (from both the TV series and of late the movies).  Then there is a rock from Plymouth.  Many Americans have an emotional connection to that since it is "romantically tied" to the Thanksgiving myth, but actually, Jamestown, Virginia was there first.  In fact, the first African slaves were brought there.

SMITHSONIAN ONLINE EXHIBITIONS  offers many more sites of interest to students pursuing primary source supports for their social studies classes.  In fact, material found here could supplement any subject area class and therefore make adhering to the new common core standards easy for both teacher and students alike:)



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