Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Archive for the ‘Online Course’ Category

MigrantMother12883Most of us are familiar with Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph.   The symbolic photo correctly titled of Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California is the inspiration for Mary Coin.  (Marissa Silver. Blue Rider Press, NY, 2013.)

 Silver weaves together the a fictionalized story of  Mary Coin (Thompson),  Vera Dare, a photographer modeled after Lange, and Walker Dodge, a contemporary cultural history professor in California. Dodge challenges his students to “see” photos and look beneath the layers.  The fictional characters are connected when Dodge  discovers a copy of the photo after his father’s death.

Silver’s story moves back and forth between the depression era and the present, creating a vivid and somber picture of life for migrant workers.    It is a memorable novel, worth more than 1000 words.

Lange’s photos are accessible through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.   An overview of the Migrant mother and other photos Lange took at theTent same time has a brief account of Lange’s experience on that day.

Lange’s photography was done for the Farm Security Administration.   Many of her photos, along with others are easily accessible in Depression Era to World War II ~ FSA/OWI ~ Photographs ~ 1935-1945 an American Memory Collection of over 160,000 items and 1600 color photographs.   The Teachers Page has  related  teacher and classroom ready resources.

A Dorothea Lange archive collection is available through the Oakland Museum of California

Learn more about  challenging your students to see photos and other ideas for using primary sources in your classroom:
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources

Above: Migrant agricultural worker’s family. Seven hungry children.
Mother aged thirty-two. Father is native Californian. Nipomo, California

Old Abe the War Eagle

What primary sources do you see in the display?

A while ago I joined students on a field trip to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. We enjoyed a presentation featuring live eagles and learned about conversation and the eagle as our national symbol. Old Abe, the Wisconsin War Eagle is the subject of a special display. The field trip was ideal for a short follow-up activity to learn more about the mascot of the Wisconsin 8th regiment. Abe perched atop a staff during battles.  After the war Abe lived in the Capitol Basement; he later died from lingering injuries he suffered in a Capitol fire. Abe’s taxidermied body burned in another fire.  Students learned how Abe was honored in
Old Abe the battle eagle song & chorus poetry  and identified states a Historic Eagle Map of the United States.
Sheet Music, Old Abe the Battle Eagle
It was a great teaching moment in the media center!

Civil War era music is easy to find in American Memory Collections. Start with:
Civil War Band Music

Nineteenth Century Song Sheets

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850 – 1920

African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana

Learn how to use and other Civil War era resources to develop engaging, critical thinking activities for students

Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources 

This class changed my teaching forever. It was powerful!

Congratulations to science teacher Stacey Balbach who will be speaking about Primary Sources Science at the
National Science Teachers Convention in March 2012.  Way to go!

When she was a student in Teaching With Primary Sources, a Wisconsin science teacher discovered primary sources are not just for history or serious  researchers. Primary sources can enhance student learning throughout all content areas and for for students of all ages. She used Leonardo DaVinci’s   journals and notes help students understand the importance of scientific observation and note-taking.  The science teacher discovered that  Primary sources are exciting  from the point of a chemist or physicist.  ” With the new accessibility of the sources really the opportunities for teachers are endless.  The sky is the limit.  Really you can build any type of multifaceted project that you want ”

A health/science teacher used maps depicting the spread if diseases as the United States expanded westward to the study of today’s infectious diseases. She connected the health curriculum to literature by reading Peg Kehret’s  Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio to her students.

A middle level teacher was excited to learn how she could use primary sources to help teach resource validity and overall literacy.  Instruction became more student-centered, there was a high level of student engagement, and students developed a deeper meaning of the subject matter because of increased accessibility to primary sources. She concluded, by learning how to locate and use primary sources I was reminded of what my responsibility is as an educator:  to increase student achievement and understanding.  By failing to incorporate primary sources, I fail my students.

The next Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources course begins soon.
See what former other students have to say.
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885.

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul Minnesota Reflections

Yesterday’s trip to the Reads Landing Brewing Company turned out to be a history lesson. We’ve driven through the Mississippi River town of Reads Landing countless times, but hadn’t ever turned off Highway 61. First stop: the Wabasha County Historical Society. The museum’s brochure describes the building, built in 1870, is the oldest schoolhouse in Minnesota. Initials of hundreds of students carved in the school’s walls. The museum’s old barn holds old agricultural machinery used in the early days of Wabasha County.

Reads Landing now is now home to 100 people, but in “its day “ as the landing spot for thousands of rafts hauling lumber down the Mississippi River. There were 17 hotels, 21 salons, and 15 stores.

A remaining brick storefront building is home to the Reads Landing Brewing Company. Like many businesses of its type, it has its own history and displays reproductions of historical photos on the walls. A window seat gave us a great view of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River dredging in action.  Reads Landing is a short drive from National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Photo:  From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885,  Henry Bosse, Creator. Minnesota Reflections, Minnesota Digital Library

Primary sources are all around us! What’s in your backyard? Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas starts Jan.23.

One more travel adventures post with a local history theme!

Our visit to Hibbing was a pleasant surprise.  We discovered a lovely city and enjoyed visiting variety of interesting sites.

The Hull Rust Mahoning Mine, is the largest open pit operational mine in the world and nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the North.” We climbed aboard equipment in a pretty park at the overlook and saw other equipment in action below the overlook.

Stop #2 was the Greyhound Bus Museum which has historical buses on display along with a terminal replica and many artifacts. I was especially  interested in the museum because my uncle drove for greyhound after World War II until the 1970’s.  Family members contributed career artifacts to the museum.  The Branding of America,  a Library of Congress Teachers’ Page Activity features  Greyhound as an iconic Minnesota brand. Visit Branding to learn how Greyhound got it’s start.

Hibbing High School was built in 1922 when Oliver Mining Company relocated the city of Hibbing.  Bob Dylan’s alma mater features  marble steps, chandeliers, a rare pipe organ, and ornate ceilings. The piano Dylan played is still used. The Hibbing Public Library has a Dylan Collection.

Primary sources are all around us! What’s in your backyard? Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas starts Jan.23.

Alexander Graham Bell's Induction Device
What’s the connection between the phrase ignorance is bliss, Alexander Graham Bell’s induction device, the insanity plea, an apparatus used to treat polio patients, and the assassination of President James Garfield?  What son of a famous American was present at both Garfield’s assassination attempt and President McKinley’s?   It’s all in Candice Millard’s  incredibly fascinating and very readable book Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.

When I read historical fiction or  non-fiction like Destiny of the Republic, I have fun discovering more about the supporting facts and the primary sources the author used for research.  Millard relied extensively on resources held in collections at the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, the Alexander Graham Bell papers, Garfield’s Ohio library (the first presidential library! ) and many more.   Notes , primary source illustrations and bibliographic information comprise 25% of the book!

I do Solemnly Swear: The Inauguration of James Garfield
Life and Death in the White House
Map of Washington DC and Photos relating to the Assassination

Learn how to use primary sources like these! Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas

Hanging with the trolls in New Glarus

I can’t  find the trolls under the Winona Wagon Bridge, but they were abundant on our road trip to Mt. Horeb in Southeast Wisconsin.  Mt. Horeb was settled by Norwegian immigrants in the 1820’s and proudly celebrates its Norwegian Heritage with trolls along its  Trollway main street, museums, gift shops, and Little Norway, a historic village in Nissedahle, Valley of the Elves.  The village has the Norwegian Stavekirk Pavilion from Chicago’s 1893 World Columbian Exposition.

Spotted Cow, New Glarus

Our next stop was New Glarus, settled by Swiss immigrants in the 1840’s.  New Glarus is home to a heritage village, museums,  state park, restaurants serving ethnic food, shops, Swiss styled architecture,  and cows.

Mineral Point was settled in the 1830’s by miners from Cornwall, England, who were skilled in rock mining and worked in the lead mines. Limestone buildings are a signature feature of the village architecture.  The small village also has examples of Federal, Italian Renaissance and Victorian era architecture.  Shake Rag Alley, a collection of limestone cottages and log cabins in the historic Pendarvis neighborhood, was named for the way the miner’s wives signaled meal time. Shake Rag Alley is now home to an arts school with extensive offerings.   Mineral Point has been on the National Historic Register of Historic Places since 1971 and  the first city in Wisconsin designated with the honor.

Log and limestone cabin, 1828.

In Wisconsin  we expect to find cheese and beer.  These lovely villages all have microbreweries and many opportunities to buy cheese and ethnic food while studying local history, heritage and culture.

Primary sources are right around the corner ready for us to enjoy.  They help us teach local history and help students acquire digital and media literacy.  What’s in your backyard?
Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


%d bloggers like this: