Category Archives: photos

Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!

A couple of months ago, I felt smart. I had just finished a full day with some of the best social studies teachers around. We had talked about hyperdocs, completed a BreakoutEdu, identified photos as either real or fake, learned about a variety of graphic organizers, and participated in an awesome video conference focused on the Smithsonian Learning Lab with Darren Milligan and Kate Harris.

I felt smart. I had learned some stuff. I had taught some stuff. My brain was feeling good.

I should have stopped while I was ahead.

But after learning more about the Learning Lab, I decided to dig in a bit and see what all might be available online from the Smithsonian. And that’s where I got into trouble. About an hour later, I dug my way out of the incredible amount of goodness that Smithsonian folks have made available for educators. I felt smarter but not smarter all at the same time.

Smarter because I learned about some sites and resources that were new to me. Not smarter because . . . seriously, how I have I not known about these things before?

Just so you know, there is a ton of materials, lesson plans, and resources that the Smithsonian has put online. Seriously . . . a ton. Darren told us that the Smithsonian isn’t really sure how much stuff they have – he rounded it up to around 160 million objects. And that’s just the stuff in their collections, not the lesson plans and online exhibitions.

So just to share some of what I learned, here a few places that you need to pencil into your schedule to visit: Continue reading Yup, I’m smarter. Thanks Smithsonian!

Then and now Google Images, writing prompts, HistoryPin, and other cool stuff

fremont market

Several months ago, I was in beautiful Fremont, Washington, a community north of downtown Seattle. My son had just graduated from Seattle Pacific and we had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring the metro area. We had already done all of the typical Seattle touristy things – Pike’s Market, Space Needle, theicky wall of chewing gum.

While looking for lesser known attractions, Jake suggested Fremont. Every Sunday, Fremont hosts ahuge flea market / delicious food truck / arts and crafts extravaganza that attracts thousands. I went for the food and stayed for the old books and super cool old maps.

While browsing through one particular booth looking for artistic inspiration, my daughter ran across a box full of old photographs. No names. No dates. So we practiced our primary document sourcing skills, deducing that they must have been taken in the late 1940s / early 1950s by American soldiers and their families. Scenes of the Eiffel Tower, festivals complete with lederhosen, and celebrations with uniformed Americans were prominent.

Erin selected a pile of the most interesting images – picking quite a few that seemed to be from the same camera roll and photographer.

Okay. Your daughter found some old photos. And . . . so what?

It took me a while to figure out the so what. The so what started to develop when Continue reading Then and now Google Images, writing prompts, HistoryPin, and other cool stuff

Interactive maps compare current cities to 19th century versions

dc-spyglass-viewI love the Smithsonian magazine. Both the print and online versions. The articles are incredibly cool and range all over the place, from why we incorrectly believe that carrots help us see better to what people snacked on during the 1963 March on Washington.

During a recent run through their online history articles, I ran across a very cool interactive activity that lets you look at past and present maps of six major US cities. The magazine recently dipped into David Rumsey‘s collection of over 150,000 maps to find some of the best representations of American cities over the past couple hundred years. With some simple programming, they were able to overlay images of vintage maps of some major cities onto satellite images from today. Continue reading Interactive maps compare current cities to 19th century versions

5 Random Things from the Web…

First off, NCSS is next week.  I’m stoked looking forward to traveling to St. Louis for four days of interesting social studies exploration.  I will be doing a blog post Friday evening or Saturday morning of some of the things I’m experiencing at the conference.  I hope to have some great stuff for you.  Now onto today’s post.

Sometimes when I get brain fatigue, I wind up falling into Internet surfing and finding things that pique the historical part of my brain and at least get me back into the mood to do some thinking.  As I prepared to write this blog post, it was at the end of a twelve-hour day, and I am suffering from brain fatigue, and over-caffeinated, and ready to “veg” out.  This leads me to the post I struggled to get onto today. Continue reading 5 Random Things from the Web…