Founding Fathers and Mothers: Comparing Declarations

Signing the declaration of their independenceMy Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook – Exploring History: Vol III (free iTunes). It features thirteen engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook and pdf versions click here. To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. (Ninth of 13)

The Declaration of Independence by David Deis
Download as PDF 1MB

Generative Question: How does one document influence other documents written later?

The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of the United States of America. This document has been a major influence on other events in American History. The Seneca Falls Convention was one of the founding events of the American Feminist movement. This event served to promote the early forms of feminism in America as well as give the movement a sense of legitimacy. In this lesson, students will compare the Declaration of Independence and the Seneca Falls Convention’s  ”Declaration of Sentiments.”

Reflection by David Deis

The creation of a DBL (Document Based Lesson) has been an interesting one. Originally, I looked at the task as if I was creating a DBQ (Document Based Question) such as one that would be found on the AP US History test. However, I soon realized that this is only one aspect of a DBL. For a DBL to work, the students must answer a general question through the use of very specific source material. This hindered my generation of ideas with which to create a DBL. I eventually did decide on a solid topic: The effects that a singular event can have on another event that occurs many decades later.

To answer this question, I am having students examine the Declaration of Independence as compared to the Declaration of Sentiments. For this I have having the students read sections of each work as well as images depicting the events in question. The compare and contrast elements of the assignment are meant to help he students come to a deeper understanding that little in history happens in a vacuum. Almost everything has had some sort of influence acted upon it.

I greatly enjoyed the creating of the Book because it allows for a degree of creativity. The use of the this digital medium allows for a more interactive version of a lesson. The use of scrolling texts widgets allows the writer/teacher to place large snippets of text in a condensed area. This allows for the reading to become less daunting than a solid block of static text and it allows the creator to add in additional material—such as images—onto the page. This makes it so the students don’t have to use only text but can use the text in context/conjunction with the images.

Image credit: Library of Congress
Signing the declaration of their independence / Ehrhart with acknowledgements.
Summary:Illustration shows a group of women at a convention presenting their declaration of independence, which states “When in the course of female events it becomes necessary for women to have the ballot they’re going to get it” for the signature of a woman, possibly meant to represent the late Susan B. Anthony, seated at a table in the foreground.
Contributor Names: Ehrhart, S. D. (Samuel D.), approximately 1862-1937, artist and Trumbull, John, 1756-1843, artist
Created / Published: N.Y. : J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bldg., 1911 June 28. 

Portland to March for Civil Rights Hero – Minoru Yasui

Minoru “Min” YasuiOn the evening of March 28, 1942, Minoru “Min” Yasui, deliberately violated the racially discriminatory curfew against Japanese Americans to test its constitutionality, walking on NW 3rd Avenue in downtown Portland. Min’s lifelong fight for justice and equality led to his recognition as the first Oregonian to be awarded (posthumously) the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

At the age of twenty-six, Yasui put his professional career and his personal liberty on the line for justice. He spent 9 months in solitary confinement at the Multnomah County Jail as he appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was released from jail in 1943, only to be sent to the Minidoka American concentration camp in Idaho. More 

Join us to retrace Min’s historic walk for social justice on March 28th 

Please join us on Monday, March 28, as we retrace Min’s historic walk from his law office in the Foster Hotel in Old Town, to the former site of Police Headquarters on SW 2nd Avenue and Oak Street. Gather at Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (121 NW 2nd Avenue Portland Ore 97209 map) at 4:30 pm for the short 6 block walk followed by a program in the foyer and reception in the offices of Stoll Berne at SW Second Avenue and Oak Street. Download flyer 389KB pdf

Yasui was awarded the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country. The Oregon Senate and House unanimously recently passed a historic bill designating March 28 of each year as Minoru Yasui Day. More from the Min Yasui Tribute Project

Never Give Up! – Trailer from Minoru Yasui Film on Vimeo.

Minoru Yasui was born 100 years ago in 1916 in Hood River, Oregon, son of Japanese immigrant parents. He was the first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Oregon School of Law, and the first Japanese American member of the Oregon State Bar.

After the war, he moved to Denver, Colorado, where he continued to fight for human and civil rights of all people. In the 1970s-80s, he spearheaded the national movement for redress: an official apology and reparations for Japanese Americans imprisoned in the World War II camps.

In 1983, he returned to Portland to reopen his wartime case in the U.S. District Court of Oregon. While his conviction was vacated, the court denied his request for an evidentiary hearing, which he appealed. His case was pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals when he died in 1986. Minoru Yasui is buried in his beloved hometown of Hood River, Oregon.

Image credit: Holly Yasui / Oregon Encyclopedia link 

Little Rock Nine: Evaluating Historical Sources

Operation_Arkansas,_Little_Rock_Nine-2

My Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook – Exploring History: Vol II. It features ten engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook version click here.

To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. More in series here.

Your task is to examine the context of these documents and decide which are most helpful to your understanding of the conflict.

Little Rock Nine: Evaluating Historical Sources by Christy Thomas Download as pdf (8.7MB)

This chapter examines the historic setting of the Little Rock Nine though a variety of documents. They include news photographs of the events, governor’s proclamation, historic essays, Presidential speech, TV news reports and video reflections by participants. Your task is to examine the context of these documents and decide which are most helpful to your understanding of the conflict.

  • What do you see as the roots of the conflict?
  • What motivated the different players involved?
  • Which documents do you learn the most from?

 
Reflection by Christy Thomas:

As I approached the DBQ assignment, I decided to use images and texts from a literacy class assignment I had just completed. At first, I thought I had a head start, since I had a collection already curated, but as I continued with the assignment I realized I had started in the wrong place. While it was nice to have images and text, I should have started with the essential question AND what I wanted students to experience as they worked through the DBQ.

Working backwards, one of the challenges is finding the essential question that ties everything together. My previous assignment was over a broad topic – the Civil Rights Movement – which I’ve realized is much too broad for a DBQ exercise. Finding the right essential question was key to finding a way to connect the materials together.

The next step was to really think about what I wanted my students to learn as they worked through the DBQ. My first set of materials were loosely related, but would require students to take some large leaps to find the connections. Even with scaffolding questions, it seemed like a stretch. Once I had an essential question identified, then I could focus on the historical thinking skills I wanted students to experience as they worked through the DBQ.

This experience reminds me that the only way to get better at something new is to continue to practice. I have a much better sense of how to organize my thoughts around creating a DBQ and look forward to adding this learning experience to my curriculum development skills.
~ Christy Thomas AboutMe
 

Image Source: Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division escort African-American students to Central High School in Little Rock in Sept. 1957, after the governor of Arkansas tried to enforce segregation. Photo courtesy National Archives. Operation Arkansas

Music and the Vietnam Anti-War Movement

photographs of nick dewolf photographs of nick dewolf

This concludes a series of guest posts from my preservice teachers at University of Portland. They had the task of using Learnist to design a document based question that would eventually become part of a class-produced DBQ iBook collection. DBQ assignment here. More samples of student-designed DBQs here.

I’ve asked them to reflect on the assignment and invited them to guest post on my blog. Here is The Vietnam War designed by Samuel TS Kelley. His DBQ explores the relationship between the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war as reflected in the music videos of the era.

You can find Samuel on Twitter and see his posts on our class blog.

See Samuel’s chapter in our class-designed iBook – free at iTunes.

Samuel TS Kelley reflects on what he learned from the experience:

Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period.

This DBQ does a good job of using the documents and songs to generate questions that the students can answer using only the given sources. Despite this, I had trouble coming up with overall questions about the unit. I kept refining the topic until I had a good theme to work with. I was already using some music as evidence, and I added a couple songs to make the music of the time central to the DBQ. This also changed the main idea of the DBQ, which shifted from a focus on the civil rights movement to the general anti-war movement (although civil rights were still very important to the DBQ).

Overall, I learned a lot from this assignment, especially about using documents that are most conducive to the student’s knowledge level. Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period. I am excited to continue to use DBQ’s to teach students to examine, analyze, and interpret the documents in ways that will engage their critical thinking skills, and let the students do the work of a historian when trying to establish facts and conclusions about the time period.

Image credit: Flickr / nick dewolf photo archive 
101970 07 04 ~ Boston Common,October 1970. 
Part of an archival project, featuring the photographs of Nick Dewolf

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