Saturday, February 21, 2004

Oral History in the Teaching of U.S. History.

Oral History in the Teaching of U.S. History. I have always believed in the importance of oral history. It is a great tool for teaching students about history.

From the site:

Oral history is a stimulating classroom activity and an exciting process designed to increase student involvement in a United States history class and improve student understanding of the historical topic. Further, oral history involves students directly in a method of historical inquiry, which includes the organization and presentation of data acquired directly from another person.


An oral history project, regardless of the historical topic being investigated or its duration, helps students understand all phases of designing, implementing, and completing an activity. Students of all learning and comprehension levels can use the oral history process to increase their active involvement in the study of United States history.

An oral history project is an attempt to preserve a small segment of a relatively recent historical period as viewed through the eyes, experiences, and memories of people who lived during that time. Capturing their experiences and memories on either video or audio tape is invaluable. Over a period of time, memories can fade and those feelings or emotions associated with the events can easily be lost or altered by time.

An oral history project involving local participants is an exciting method of providing students the opportunity to "experience" history firsthand, which makes the learning of United States history a more valuable experience and places local history within the overall context of United States history. Participants are eager to share their experiences with students. Students are enthralled to hear the stories of the participants and usually cannot wait to share them with the rest of the class.

Oral history projects add to the collective knowledge of local and national history, because such projects document citizens' participation and memories concerning a specific event or time period. Students begin to understand that United States history is not simply a series of isolated events from the pages of a textbook, but rather it is composed of life experiences and memories of many Americans just like themselves. Students learn that history is in essence the collective memories of actual events that have directly affected the lives of their friends, acquaintances, and relatives.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan This a biography of American president Ronald Reagan.

From the site:

Ronald Wilson Reagan (born February 6 , 1911 ) was the 40th ( 1981 - 1989 ) President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California . Reagan was also an actor in films before entering politics. He is the longest-lived person to have served as President, as well as the oldest elected President (69 years and 349 days). He was the first divorced person to be elected President.

Reagan attended Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois , graduating in 1932 . Child of an alcoholic father, Reagan developed an early gift for storytelling and acting . He was a radio announcer of Chicago Cubs games, getting only the bare outlines of the game from a ticker and relying on his imagination and storytelling gifts to flesh out the game. Once in 1934 , during the ninth inning of a Cubs - St. Louis Cardinals game, the wire went dead. Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play (in which hitters on both teams gained a superhuman ability to foul off pitches) until the wire was restored.

Film career

Reagan had a successful career in Hollywood as a second-rank leading man, as his face and body were as handsome as his voice. In 1940 he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film Knute Rockne All American , from which he acquired the nickname the Gipper , which he retained the rest of his life. Reagan himself considered that his best acting work was in Kings Row ( 1942 ). Other notable Reagan films include Hellcats of the Navy and the campy Bedtime for Bonzo . He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6374 Hollywood Blvd.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Internet History Sourcebooks

Internet History Sourcebooks An extensive set of collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts, maps, and articles on a wide variety of historical areas and subjects. Compiled by Prof. Paul Halsall at Fordham University.

From the site:

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project [IHSP] is a world wide web project designed to provide easy access to primary sources and other teaching materials in a non-commercial environment. It was developed and is edited by Paul Halsall with the aid of numerous other contributors.

The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project.

The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University. Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Teaching about the Louisiana Purchase.

Teaching about the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase was one of the most important land acquisitions in history. This article looks at the history of this purchase and methods that teachers can instruct on it.

From the site:

The year 2003 marks the bicentennial of the 1803 Treaty of France, by which the United States of America acquired the Louisiana Territory, an area of more than 828,000 square miles. Upon this acquisition, known as the Louisiana Purchase, the territory of the United States doubled. Historians consider the Louisiana Purchase to be a landmark event or turning point in American history. This Digest discusses (1) President Jefferson's decision to purchase the Louisiana Territory, (2) the significant consequences of this decision in American history, and (3) methods of teaching about the Louisiana Purchase.


President Thomas Jefferson faced an important decision during the summer of 1803. Napoleon, the emperor of France, had offered to sell the territory of Louisiana to the United States for $15 million. This vast territory extended westward from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and southward from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico and the Spanish lands of what is now Texas and New Mexico.

Jefferson had offered to buy for $2 million only the region around the mouth of the Mississippi River, which included the port and city of New Orleans. The President wanted to protect the interests of farmers in the Ohio River Valley, who depended on access to New Orleans. They sent their crops down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, from which ships took the products to cities along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Americans feared that the French might interfere with their trade by imposing high taxes on products and ships moving through New Orleans. Even worse, the French might close the port to Americans.