Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Archive for the ‘Curriculum ideas’ Category

There is nothing quite like seeing what we’ve read about in person!

A few days ago I visited the Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston where the auction for 55 Prime Negroes, accustomed to the culture of Rice was held at 11:00 am January 21, 1857, by Louis D. DeSaussure – There it was, a reproduction of a familiar document I use in various teaching activities.

It is believed that 35 – 40% of the slaves in the United States entered through the port of Charleston. Many were sold at Ryan’s mart, owned by Thomas Ryan, a Charlotte alderman and former sheriff.  Ryan’s mart is the only known existent building used as a slave auction gallery in South Carolina and on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Most of the story about the journey to America and the auction process is told through visuals, but some artifacts exist. These include a whip, chains, balls, and the chilling auction block.

The flyer is ideal for observation, questioning, and encouraging engaged discussion.

  1. Understanding flyer vocabulary
  2. Descriptions of the slaves and what they mean
  3. The condition of the document and written notations
  4. Issues surrounding using the document in the classroom

Related Resources

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Rice field tools displayed at the Rice Museum, Georgetown, Georgia.

The Rice field flyers are available through Duke University Libraries Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850 – 1920.  Search for auction flyers such as List of 17 Rice Field Negroes for Sale and 55 Prime Negroes

 

Content is part of a longer post  published on the Teaching With Primary Sources Network, Feb. 2018

 

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Last December I wrote about the Camp Algona Nativity Scene created by German Prisoners of War. Earlier, I wrote about  a visit to the historic Surf Ballroom in nearby Clear lake, another small north Central Iowa city.  Stars over Clear Lake, historical fiction by Loretta Ellsworth weaves together Camp Algona and the Surf  in a story of remembrance and discovery.  Shifting between 2007 and the 1940s, Lorraine returns to Clear lake for the first time in many years. She revisits places and people of her past, remembering Jens and other prisoners of war from nearby Camp Algona who worked on the family farm during World War II.  Other friendships and family struggles contribute to the story with a surprise ending.

It’s a compelling summer or holiday read  – and an interesting way to learn about German Prisoner of War Camps and historic ballrooms, two aspects of  American history and culture that are not widely known. The novel is for older high school students and offers many interesting curriculum possibilities.

Learn how to find and use primary sources in your classroom!

Ellsworth, Loretta. Stars over Clear Lake, St. Martin’s Press 2017.

 

 

fischerquoteThis December, as they have since the end of World War II, residents and visitors to Algona, Iowa, will gather to view a Nativity Scene created by German architect Eduard Kaib while he was a German Prisoner of War at Camp Algona.

Kaib, an architect by trade, created a small nativity scene that impressed the Camp Commander who asked him to create a larger version. Kaib enlisted five friends to help create 60 half-size figures from wood, wire and plaster. Prisoners paid for the construction. When World War II ended the camp was disbanded and the scene was left to the city of Algona. It was first available for public viewing Christmas 1945.  Since the 1950s the scene has been housed in a special building.  The nativity scene is maintained by the Algona United Methodist Church and available for viewing each holiday season. Visitors have included former POWs and family members.

German POWs were able to pursue other artistic endeavors while living at Camp Algona. There was a camp orchestra, band, and German language newspaper and art classes.  A small crèche, carvings, woodwork and paintings are displayed at the Camp Algona Museum. Exhibits depict POW camp experiences, POW contributions to the farm economy, and their interactions with community members who feared the POWS until they realized “they look just like us.”  Exhibits also highlight camp military and civilian workers, contributions of Kossuth County women to the war effort, and Americans held in Axis POW camps. Four military guards stationed at Camp Algona were former prisoners in these camps. Prisoners received medical treatment and only a very few died while at the camp; a Lutheran pastor provided Sunday worship services in English and German.

Camp Algona was the base camp for over 10,000 German Prisoners of War from 1943-1946. Branch camps were in Iowa and neighboring states. One branch camp, the Whitewater POW Camp, was at a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp  in Winona County (Southeast Minnesota.)  Camp Algona’s buildings were torn down and the wood was reused after the war ended. The camp site is now the location of a National Guard Armory and a city airport.

After visiting the museum we spoke with a local citizen who grew up a farm near the camp.  She got to know prisoners who worked on the family farm or attended church with her family. These friendships were not uncommon and many former POWS visited Algona after the War.  Visiting the  Camp Algona Museum was on my “do” list for far too long; it was well worth the wait and visit. Two photos of museum displays and and resources are below.

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The Camp Algona Nativity Scene (PDF)
POW Nativity Scene, narrated video with script, First United Methodist Church
Camp Algona Museum (website with links to the Nativity Scene)
Whitewater’s German POW Camp; Learning more about POWs in the U.S. (with  resource list)

Learn how to find and use primary sources in your classroom!

 

Once or twice a month I work as a gallery greeter at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. First time visitors invariably make a bee-line to George Washington Crossing the Delaware by  Emmanuel Leutze,, one of the two surviving versions of the iconic painting. Last week a group of college students were absolutely giddy about being able to view. They looked, talked, asked questions and came back for a second look after touring the rest of the gallery.  I love historical art and seeing conversations like those take place.    What other paintings can

Are paintings primary sources? Can one painting stimulate inquiry and exploration? Can it be the centerpiece of a lesson or interdisciplinary learning? How can maps be paired with paintings?  In the November/December New Media Center column  I shared some ideas that illustrate the power of a painting, used alone or paired with another resource to provide a great learning activity.  For the Love of Historical Art!  

 

 

 

primarysourcesets

The Digital Public Library of America is a relatively new aggregated collection of digital resources in varied formats from more than 1,600 contributing institutions, including libraries, archives, museums, and entities such as public radio stations.  DPLA released 30 primary source sets for educators last fall; additional sets were recently released.

The sets are designed by educators and an education advisory panel to help teach content, facilitate inquiry, and support research in overlapping curriculum topics related to American history, literature, and culture.

The set landing page has a clean, uncluttered look. An easily identifiable pictorial icon for each set invites a quick browse through the available titles.  Each set includes 15–20 resources represented by an icon, a teaching guide, and additional resources for research.  Set topics include the Panama Canal, Chinese immigration, the atomic bomb, A Raisin in the SunLittle Women, and  the postwar rise of the suburbs.

All Primary Source Sets have the same layout and features. As an example The Impact of Television on News Media  includes photos, text, and video and audio recordings. A brief black-and-white video clip of President John F. Kennedy urging the press to use discretion when covering news events intrigued me. In an audio interview, a journalist  explains the increasing power of television network news. Photos depict early television personalities and televisions; a text chapter addresses the impact of television on news. These resources all invite close reading, viewing, and listening while also offering multiple approaches to learning at different levels. The set teaching guide includes discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis suggestions. There are also links to Document Analysis Worksheets from the National Archives and Using Primary Sources materials from the Library of Congress.

Excerpted from  THE NEW MEDIA CENTER: Resources for the New Media Specialist–DPLA’s Primary Source Sets and Ben’s Guide, Refreshed! January/February 2015, Published by Information Today    Full article

Learn more about using Primary Source sets in your classroom

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Harlem Rens Poster Collage

A fun part of exploring primary sources is discovering unique artifacts  that are not what we typically expect.  One example is an  interview with James Naismith, the inventor of basketball that was recently discovered by a Kansas University Professor.

The interview inspired me to renew  my search for Library of Congress resources  about the Harlem Rens. I learned about the Rens while watching On the Shoulders of Giants: An Audio Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance,  a movie based on Kareen Abduhl Jabbar’s audio book.  The film is about so much more than basketball!  Primary sources support the fascinating narrative of segregation, civil rights and of course the Rens.  Jabbar was at the showing.  It was incredibly inspiring.

LOC has a few items related to the Rens.
Genial Robert Douglas, who operates the Renaissance Casino, with his cat Rennie  (Photograph showing Douglas, owner of the Renaissance Casino in Harlem and founder of the Renaissance Five basketball team, holding his cat.)
S.Con.Res.57 – A concurrent resolution recognizing the contributions of African-American basketball teams and players for their achievements, dedication, and contributions to the sport of basketball and the Nation.

I could almost hear everyone’s head spinning with curriculum ideas!
What are your ideas for incorporating sports and sports history into the curriculum?

More Resources
Today in History & New York mayoral proclamation (2013)
The Harlem Rens (Black Fives Foundation)
LOC:   Primary Source Sets , eBook Student Discovery Sets and teaching ideas
Harlem Renaissance
Jim Crow and Segregation

On the Shoulders of Giants: The Story of the Greatest Team You Never Heard Of,  2011 historical sports documentary film directed by Deborah Morales, written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse.

KU professor discovers only known audio recording of James Naismith, inventor of basketball

Learn more about using Primary Sources in your classroom

 

studentdiscoverysetsExciting news!  The Library of Congress has released 3 new Student Discovery Sets. The titles and topics are:

  • Japanese American Internment
  • Political Cartoons and The American Debate
  • Women’s Suffrage

The new ebooks and the 9 previously published ebooks support commonly taught curriculum topics; they will be helpful for teachers supporting learning with primary sources in a 1:1classroom or for whole group inquiry and engaged learning. Library of Congress Teachers Page sets complement the primary source sets on the same topics.

Resources


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