Monday, September 28, 2009

Podcast #201 - Using David McCullough's 1776, The Illustrated Edition in the Classroom

Hello. In today's podcast I want to recommend a great resource for your classroom if you teach the American Revolution. David McCullough's 1776 is an amazing book which every history teacher should read but there is another edition which should be in each classroom in America - 1776, The Illustrated Edition. The edition has over 130 beautiful illustrations with an abridged version of the text. Most impressive, though, are the 37 facsimile documents scattered throughout the book in pouches which allow you to take them out and pass them around the classroom.

Please listen to the podcast and if you have any ideas on using this resource in your classroom please leave a comment on this blog post. Thanks.

1776: The Illustrated Edition

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Direct link to Podcast #201 - Using David McCullough's 1776 - The Illustrated Edition In the Classroom

Revolutionary War Musket Talk from Bunker Hill

Hello. A couple of months ago I was in Boston and while at the Bunker Hill site I heard one of the park rangers describe the use of muskets in the Revolutionary War. I had my Flip camera along so I recorded it and am currently sharing it with my class as we discuss the Revolution. I thought you might also enjoy the description and possibly use it in class as well.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

CNN Video Clips Discusses Low Student Scores on Citizenship Test

Check out this video clip from CNN which discusses the results of a survey given to Oklahoma high school students. The questions are from the citizenship test. The results are surprising and the "expert" interviewed by CNN blames teachers and public education. He states twice that our students are getting "smoked by Iceland and other industrialized countries around the world in test scores".

Just a couple personal observations here from me :

Once again, as is the case in many of these "sound bite" stories, there is no discussion about a solution. Please don't just gripe, offer a solution.

The survey was a phone survey that these students were not aware they would be taking. A little different than an actual school situation or taking a citizenship test.

Once again education is bashed because it takes makes up a large portion of the budget. I would hope that education makes up a large percentage of any local or state government - don't you?

What do you think after watching this clip? Please leave a comment on this blog post.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Podcast #200 - Why Do I Podcast?

Hello. Today is the 200th episode of Speaking of History!

This crazy adventure started on July 7, 2005 as an experiment to see if I could use the hardware and manage the software to post a podcast. It has resulted in over years of reflection, meeting amazing people and learning a ton from my personal learning network.

In this episode I look back over the past four years and try to answer the question - Why do I podcast?

Thanks for listening and if you have any comments, questions or thoughts please leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at

Direct link to Podcast #200 - Why Do I Podcast?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Animoto History Video

I've been having some fun creating Animoto videos since receiving my free educator account last week. I'm inviting my students to join a book club next week in which we'll be reading "Guns for General Washington" by Seymour Reit. I wanted to create some excitement about joining the History Geeks for the book club so I put together this little video.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Always Remember

Always remember. The 8th grade American history students in my classroom today were only in kindergarten when this day changed our country forever. It is our duty to remember, we owe them this at the very least.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama Speech to Students Wordle

The text for the speech President Obama will deliver to students across America tomorrow was released tonight so I thought I would make a Worlde out of it. (Click to enlarge) What do you think?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Podcast #199 - Students Listening to President Obama's Speech on September 8th, Your Thoughts

Hello. The topic of today's podcast is the upcoming speech President Obama will be making to the students of the United States on September 8th, 2009 (11:00 AM central time) on the Internet and C-Span. This is the first time a sitting President will specifically address students across the United States.
The White House released the following information about the topic of the speech : "The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning." Some have expressed concern over the president speaking directly to students and the amount of influence the speech could have on a group of young people.

Some thoughts as I try to wrap my head around the issue (or non-issue). Please leave a comment on this blog post. I'm very interested to see what teachers across the country are thinking about this topic.

- Does it surprise anyone else that this is the first time a sitting president has specifically addressed the students of the United States?

- At what point does a speech from a president become more "political" than "educational"?

- How is this situation different than the inauguration speech that many students watched across the country several months ago? Was that speech considered more "historic" and therefore not as controversial when aired in classrooms across the country?

- Is your school planning on showing the speech to all students, none of the students, or based on the decision of each teacher?

(Note : I just read on the Department of Education website that the length of the speech is to be 15-20 minutes. In the podcast I mentioned that I was not sure how long the speech would last.)

Podcast #198 - Resources for Teaching About the Jamestown Settlement

Hello. We begin our curriculum each year with an awesome topic - the Jamestown settlement. There are a ton of great resources to use when teaching this unit and today in the podcast I discuss six resources which I have found to be very successful in my 8th grade American history classroom. Links below provide more information to each of the resources mentioned in the podcast.

I would also enjoy hearing about what resources you use to teach about Jamestown. Please leave a comment on this blog post to share your discovery with everyone. Thanks.

History Channel's Online Jamestown Exhibit