Emerging America Blog: A voice for quality history education


APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 9 for Forge of Innovation NEH Summer Workshop due to tough winter. http://EmergingAmerica.org/NEH

Controversy over new AP U.S. History curriculum. The Atlantic online.

Follow us on Twitter @EmergingAmerica and on Facebook.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Teaching with Primary Sources @ the Collaborative

  • Last chance register! First to Fight: American Volunteers Against Fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) – For teachers of World History, U.S. History, and Spanish Language and Culture.
    March 14 – Newton South HS. Peter Carroll, Stanford, & Sebastiaan Faber, Oberlin. Register by Feb. 28.
  • A few slots left. History in Motion: Developing Primary Source Sets of Images, Sound Files, Maps, Oral Histories, and Film. Bob Allison, Suffolk Univ. Access multi-media primary sources.
    Mon. March 16; Sat. May 2; & 1 2-hr follow-up TBD. Complete project and earn $400 stipend. Also earn 22.5 PDPs or 1 grad credit from Framingham State University. Preference to Boston teachers. Register.


  • June 29 to July 2 (with ½-day follow-up in October) – America Comes of Age: Exploring Reform in the Early 20th Century (1900-1940) – Library of Congress TPS Program at CES. Eric Arnesen, Professor, George Washington University. Kelley Brown and Laurie Risler, teacher-leaders.
  • July 24 – Disability History – Graham Warder, Keene State University & Laurie Block, Disability History Museum. Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown.
  • Teaching Primary Sources with Diverse Learners: Blending History & Common Core Instruction. (aka: Creating High Quality Learning Environments.) Audrey Morse:
    • July 22-23, Northampton – co-led by teacher, Laurie Risler.
    • July 28-29 or 29-30, Boston Area co-led by teacher, Adam Ingano.


Teacher Blog posts:


  • March 11 & 12 Service-Learning Planning & Implementation workshop. http://www.doe.mass.edu/conference/?ConferenceID=5985
  • K-16 Educator Workshop, Muslims in China, Prof. Jonathan Lipman,Saturday, April 11, 9:30-11:30am, Amherst College.
  • Springfield Armory exhibit “Springfield Armory Goes to Hollywood,” April 18 to September 30.
  • Receive weekly updates on events region-wide from Five College Center for East Asian Studies. Email request to: fcceas@fivecolleges.edu

Fee-Based Events:

  • June 1 – Massachusetts Conference on Service and Volunteering – Framingham. Info.
  • Flow of History 2015 Summer Institute—Community Forensics: Using Place to Teach Social Studies & Science—June 23-26, Grafton, VT  Join social studies and science educators in place-based explorations of the forests, rivers, bridges and historic resources of the town, as a model for how to explore your own communities. Each day a project-based inquiry will integrate Common Core ELA strategies and NGSS, and connect to your classroom practice. $450; grad credit available. To register: www.flowofhistory.org.


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My office phone number changed to: (413) 588-5936.
See new National Core Arts standards. http://nationalartsstandards.org/.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Teaching with Primary Sources @ CES

Excellent FREE PD – Deadlines Approach!

Take a break from the brutal winter for top quality FREE professional development. Read the rest of this entry »


Gov. Baker’s proposed cuts.

The Transcontinental Railroad: (NEH Landmarks Workshop) http://railroad.historyproject.ucdavis.edu/ and other  summer programs. (LIST BELOW.)

WORKSHOP FULL! – March 21 & 28 – Landscape of Revolution – Boston Public Library & CES Read the rest of this entry »

African American soldiers on patrol near bombed buildings, somewhere in Europe (Library of Congress)

African American soldiers on patrol near bombed buildings, somewhere in Europe (Library of Congress)

A new Featured Source Performance Assessment is now available, examining Civil Rights During World War II. In this performance task, high school students compare several pieces of evidence from the Civil Rights Movement during WWII.

This performance task requires students to compare text, sound files, and images to deepen their understanding of the efforts by African Americans to advance the Double V Campaign (victory over racism at war and at home) during WWII. A timeline helps students sequence and visualize the relative length of time between events.

The assessment features the following sources:

  • A letter from A. Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters to Walter White of the NAACP.
  • The transcript of an audio-taped 1940 White House meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Civil Rights leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Walter White.
  • A flyer from a 1941 NAACP conference
  • The notes of a 1941 White House meeting between Roosevelt, Randolph, and White.
  • Presidential Order 8802 of 1941.

Click here to access the Performance Assessment

Registration is now open for the Landscape of Revolution Workshop!

Dates: Two-day workshop on March 21, 9am – 3pm, and March 28, 9am – 1pm.

The workshop is presented by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, in collaboration with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services.

Optional 1 grad credit or 22.5 PDPs.

More information and registration: http://maps.bpl.org/professional_development


Arizona requires students to pass U.S. Citizenship test. Commentary by Robert Pondiscio in The Education Gadfly. http://edexcellence.net/articles/model-citizens

Give input on Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization. Currently no support for Social Studies. National Council for the Social Studies supports Programs of National Significance. Read the rest of this entry »

Photo Soldiers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Soldiers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Source: http://www.alba-valb.org/

Online registration is now open for a free workshop exploring the role played by American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.

The First to Fight workshop will provide participants with powerful strategies to teach content and the Common Core, with the following resources and questions:

To learn more and register online, click here.

DDM Survey - South Shore Social Studies Supervisors (5S) is taking a brief online survey on implementation of District Determined Measures (DDMs). Please participate!

Don’t forget the PLC for Social Studies Department Chairs, TODAY (Tuesday) 3:30-5:00pm. Karen White from Mass DESE will Skype in at 4:00 to answer questions about DDMs, PARCC, Model Curriculum Units, and other topics. Read the rest of this entry »


Strengthening Civic Learning in the Commonwealth – 01/22/15 – Millbury Memorial Jr/Sr High School; 4-7 pm. Working group invites participation from teachers, administrators, policy makers… with concerns and recommendations on preparing next generation for civic engagement. 3 minutes to present. Bring written copy of testimony. Register by 01/15/15. Read the rest of this entry »

Arriba España!

arriba espana1

As the Spanish Civil War raged between 1936­-1939, struggles between competing ideologies played out on the streets as well as in the trenches. As much of Europe prepared for another global war, the military and social clashes in Spain served a dress rehearsal for potent new tools of propaganda as well as deadly new weapons and tactics. Spanish political factions: fascist, communist, anarchist, republican, nationalist, and socialist – all sought support from the Spanish people as well as allies abroad.

In this lesson, students learn to pose a series of structured questions, including the central question, “How does one side in a conflict, through visual media, persuade people of the justness of their cause?”

Students use the Primary Source Analysis tool from the Library of Congress to evaluate vibrantly colored Spanish Civil War posters and present their findings to their class. Some posters played on fears. Others appealed to an ideal of a brighter future. The posters quickly made their way out of Spain, into the rest of Europe and through the world. Sensitivity is required since some posters display blood, weapons, and potentially upsetting imagery, including victims of bombings, the Nazi swastika, and Soviet hammer and sickle.

Students will pay close attention to symbols on posters and infer the intended audience of the artist. Later, students will use the posters to grapple with open questions, such as, “How do these posters compare to images we see today?” For extension, students can create and share their own propaganda posters. Classes may continue the exploration of ideology and propaganda into study of World War II and the Cold War.

Building on a joint workshop between the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program of the Collaborative for Educational Services, this lesson relies on the large collection of Spanish Civil War propaganda posters at Library of Congress. There are over 120 posters in the collection. Full-scale versions of many of these posters are available online from the University of California San Diego, making this an outstanding exploration for teaching inquiry with primary sources.