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Today’s Document: History through cartoons

What it is: Today’s Document is an awesome daily history site that I learned about from the Instructify blog written by Bill Ferris.  Today’s Document is based on the RSS feed from the National Archives. Jon White takes these daily documents from history and turns them into cartoons that illustrate the history.  Cartoons and drawings offer such an incredible and striking visual to accompany history.  They help flesh out what was happening and give students a way to connect to and characterize history. How to integrate Today’s Document into your curriculum: This is, simply stated, an AWESOME site.  I have mentioned before that history was not my strength in school.  I struggled with finding the story in history.  For me it was a lot of facts, dates, names, and places that I couldn’t seem to get a handle on.  A site like Today’s Document would have done wonders for my understanding of history.  The visuals clearly connect the facts with a larger story.  Even better, White publishes the story behind each cartoon along side it.  Today’s Document makes an incredible e-textbook complete with daily updates, links to videos, articles, primary sources, and additional opportunities to learn more about each topic.  Today’s Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom.  It’s natural fit would be in the history or civics class but could really be used in many disciplines including literature, writing, and even science.  Because Today’s Document uses cartoons to tell history, the site can be used with a wide range of age groups.  Even young students can look at the cartoons and follow the story each day.  Each drawing is linked to the original primary source document on National Archives with an invitation to dig deeper.  Within the preamble describing the cartoon, White often includes links to outside videos and articles that reinforce the daily document. Tips: I encourage you to take a look at White’s previous cartoons, you can do so by using the “previous” button or searching the archives by date.  He started this project in January 2010. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Today’s Document in your classroom!

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History Pin

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, Geography, History, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 02-10-2012

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What it is:  History Pin is a really neat website that lets students (and anyone) electronically “pin” historical pictures, videos, audio clips, and stories to a digital globe.  There are three main ways to use History Pin: exploring it, adding to it, or curating things on it.  History Pin has some great collections and tours that have already been created that can be used in the classroom.  Collections bring together content around a theme.  Students can explore collections or create one of their own.  With a Tour, students can go step-by-step through content, a story, explore a place or walk through time.

How to integrate History Pin into the classroom: History Pin is a neat place for students to learn about history.  They can see history through pictures, video and stories submitted by people around the world.  History Pin is also a fantastic place for students to demonstrate learning.  They can add pins, create collections or tours around their learning.  In many states in the US, students have standards that are related to learning about the state history.  In Colorado, this is true of our 4th grade students.  History pin is a great place for them to demonstrate their learning of their own state.  The best part?  This learning can be viewed and used by others all over the world.  Our students get really excited about sharing their learning when they become the “experts”.  History Pin lets them be the experts.  Way cool!

Depending on which Collections and Tours your students engage in, there are great opportunities for incorporating other subjects.  Our students enjoy comparing statistics from history with statistics of today.  They are really enjoying knowing how to use ratios these days!

I love the way that Geography is so ingrained in History Pin.  Students can easily see (and track) where history occurred in the world.  This helps students understand how movements, revolutions, immigration happen as a result of geography.

Tips: Be sure to check out the school channel on History Pin.


Leave a comment and tell us how you are using History Pin in your classroom.

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