Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Education and Certification of History Teachers: Trends, Problems, and Recommendations.

The Education and Certification of History Teachers: Trends, Problems, and Recommendations. This is an informative article whic reviews how history teachers are certified in the USA.

From the site:

History teachers who know their subject matter well are indispensable to schools striving to hold students to higher academic standards. This is a major concern for teacher education in history, according to a recent national conference of teacher educators, academic historians, K-12 classroom history teachers, and members of state and local governing boards.

The major theme of the conference was that if, according to the standards-based strategy for democratic school reform, all students in every school are to be offered an equally solid and engaging study of history, then all teachers need equally rigorous preparation to teach them. The problems treated at the conference were how to explore the conditions under which subject matter mastery can be nurtured among history teachers, and how to determine the changes needed to bring about and sustain those conditions.

Suggested solutions pertained to better connections between history and education college faculty and the university and local schools. A six-part action plan was developed that centered on action by and for:

* teachers;

* education school faculty members and deans;

* university historians and department chairs;

* local school administrators and school committees/board members;

* representatives of state departments of education; and

* members of state education and university governing boards.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush This is a nice biography of the first President Bush.

From the site:

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12 , 1924 ) was the 41st President of the United States ( 1989 - 1993 ). Previously, he served as director of the CIA in 1976 - 1977 , and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan ( 1981 - 1989 ).

His son, George W. Bush , is the 43rd President of the United States. As a result George H. W. Bush is sometimes referred to as "the Elder Bush", "Bush the Elder", "Bush Senior," "Bush 41", or "the first President Bush" in order to avoid possible confusion between his presidency and that of his son. (Note that contrary to popular conception outside the U.S., Bush and his son are not " senior " and " junior " but rather just father and son with very similar names.)

George Bush's father, Prescott Bush , served as a Senator from Connecticut and was a partner in the prominent investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman.

George Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts from 1936 to 1942 , where he demonstrated early leadership, captaining the baseball team, and was a member of an exclusive fraternity called the A.U.V, or "Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas," Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth". His roommate at the boarding school was a young man named Edward G. Hooker. It was at Phillips Academy that Bush learned of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor , and after graduating in June, 1942 , he joined the US Navy .

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Learning History through Children's Literature.

Learning History through Children's Literature. One of the best ways to teach children history is to include the subject in their reading books. This article examines this issue.

From the site:

Teaching history using children's literature, both fiction and non-fiction, is an old idea enjoying new vitality in the elementary and middle school curriculum. This Digest discusses (1) the revival of interest in teaching history through children's literature, (2) research-based guidelines for teachers of history and children's literature, and (3) an innovative method of teaching history using children's literature.


Using literature to teach history is not a recent educational innovation. Stories illustrating the triumphs of individuals embodying civic virtue and good character were at the curricular core of nineteenth-century common schools. Narratives provided children with an understanding of American history and government as well as the attributes that individual citizens needed to maintain the Republic. Spelling and reading books were primary means of this kind of cultural transmission. Generations of American children defined themselves individually and communally through stories and amalgams of fiction and fact in the McGuffy readers and similar textbooks used almost universally in schools during the last century.

An indicator of increasing interest among educators in using literature to teach history is the large number of scholarly and popular articles published in the past ten years advocating this teaching method. A number of factors account for this resurgence, such as the high quality and number of fiction and non-fiction publications written for children in the past twenty years; activities of prominent historians and educators to re-establish history's primacy in the social studies curriculum; advocacy of the whole language teaching method; concern that children have an inadequate historical understanding of the cultural characteristics that hold the Republic together; recognition that many students need to develop tolerance of individuals unlike themselves; and attention to the long-standing problems of students' lack of interest in basic school subjects (Epstein 1993; Krey 1998).

Sunday, February 01, 2004

George Washington: A Brief Biography

George Washington: A Brief Biography This is another in a string of short presidential biographies I have put online.

From the site:

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Here he received little formal education. Historians have speculated that he attended a school in Fredericksburg, or may have been tutored by an indentured servant. Washington lived with his mother until the age of 16.

At the age of 15, Washington took a job as an assistant land surveyor. In 1748, he joined a surveying team that was sent to the Shanandoah Valley to help survey the land holdings of Lord Fairfax. By 1749, he established a good reputation as a land surveyor and was appointed to the official land surveyor of Culpeper County.

Washington’s father owned several farms. When his father died in 1743, his stepbrother Lawrence received the Mount Vernon Estate. Lawrence Washington died nine years later. His will stated that if his daughter, Sarah, died without baring children the Mount Vernon Estate would go to George Washington. Sarah Washington died two years later without baring children. Washington began his military career on February 1,1753, when he was sworn into the Virginia militia. He started as an adjutant for the southern part of the colony. Next, he set out to Fort Le Beouf on Lake Erie. He sent a message stating for the French to leave the land alone. The French denied his message. Four months later, they promoted him to lieutenant colonel. After defeating some French scouting party in southern Pennsylvania, they promoted him to colonel in charge of all the Virginian troops. Colonel Washington led an attack at Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, where he and 400 troops surrendered to the French and Indians. In October Washington resigned as colonel and returned to Mount Vernon. Governor Dinwidde begged and pleaded for his return. He denied at first, but decided to regain control. Washington remained colonel for the rest of the war.

After the French and Indian War Washington again stepped down. He retired to Mount Vernon as a planter and a legislator. On January 6,1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis. She was a wealthy widow and mother of two children. The couple had no children together, but he raised those of his wife as his own. During 1759-74, he managed his plantations and sat in the Virginia House of Burgesses.