U.S. History, World History (and a few other areas) – Re-examining the past

The past isn’t just what happened, it’s what we make of what happened later on.

The Washington Post offers Retropolis (“The past, rediscovered”). For the New York Times, it’s the Retro Report (“Essays and documentary videos that re-examine the leading stories of decades past”).

The Atlantic (formerly The Atlantic Monthly) has been around since 1857, and is the reason articles from the 1800s and early 1900s can be found in my files. A few of those links can be found here.

A podcast with a similar approach can be found at BackStory, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. With archives going back to 2008, there’s a lot of topics covered. (If you go to the Show Archives, you can sort by topic instead of by year of broadcast.)

Most of the articles from the links above concern U.S. History. There are a scattering of World History and Sociology articles, and a fair number of Science articles (everything we teach has a history of its own). The Atlantic has more Language Arts articles than the other sources, a few of which show up via the link above. The New York Times series, which goes back to 2013, even has some Foods articles of possible interest.

Paywall trick for sites that limit your monthly articles (via a column in one of the above publications): Most sites use cookies to keep track of how many articles you’ve seen, so clearing all your cookies solves the problem. BUT: doing so may delete cookies you want to keep, so a preferred alternative may be to use the browser’s privacy mode (Firefox: Private Window; Chrome: Incognito Window; Edge: InPrivate Window), which doesn’t save cookies after you close it.

History – U.S. and World

How do we organize history? Is it just a series of discrete events, to be arranged chronologically? What about context?

Here’s one solution – Horizontal History – and, perhaps, another class project? (This is an excellent way to cross disciplines, too – pretty much every subject we study has its own history, so how do we integrate all of it?)

And while you’re teaching your students about conceptualizing historical time, you can go from macro to micro and discuss their personal time with 100 Blocks a Day, from the same web site.

Want to integrate micro and macro? Try The Atlantic’s Life Timeline – punch in your birthdate and see what’s happened in your lifetime (with links to specific articles about those events). Want to understand your parents, or grandparents, better? Type in their birthdate to see the events that shaped their lives. (Class project, anyone?)

 

U. S. History & Government – the Presidency

Podcasts!

Prior to the 2016 election, the Washington Post ran their Presidential podcast, covering each American president.

Since the election, they’ve had the Can He Do That podcast, exploring the limits of the office, and how those limits are being reshaped. Lots of controversies!

Similarly, The Atlantic has their Unpresidented series of videos.

If you go through pretty much any Social Studies standard, reading graphs and charts comes up somewhere. Americans size up Trump’s first 100 days, a graphic from the Washington Post, certainly meets that standard. It opens with a comparison of presidential approval/disapproval ratings for the first 100 days, going back to Eisenhower, before dissecting the current office-holder. (Polarization, anyone?)

Want to sound like the President – literally? There’s an app for that – for both Trump and Obama. What would your students like to hear the President say?

Some Presidents are easy to write about. Others, not so much… Telling Trump’s Story to Children – For Book Publishers, It’s Tricky

 

U.S. History – Civil War

Upon the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, both the Washington Post and the New York Times started series on the war.

The Washington Post ran their Civil War 150 series. Along with that has been a continuing series of articles: A House Divided.

For the New York Times it was their Disunion series. As a blog that runs from the end of the war back to the beginning, it may be a bit of a challenge to find specific posts/articles. Their Timeline for the series may help find specific time periods or events.

Need a project for your students? Like the Gettysburg Address? Have them do their own Learn The Address project.