historic photos give depth to lessons
"Hanging on my door is a photo from that 1896 Leech Lake fishing expedition," says Minneapolis educator John Wood, "only I've replaced the faces with those of my students." Though that photo provides entertainment value, Wood understands the powerful role visuals serve in his middle school history instruction.
Wood, a veteran teacher of U.S. and Minnesota history, is a regular user of the Minnesota Historical Society's Visual Resources Database. "For any lesson you create that involves Minnesota history," he says, "you've got to go to that database."
More than 188,000 images--from the pre-territorial period to today--document the lives and landscapes of Minnesotans.
Classroom uses for historic images are limitless. Here are a few tried-and-true ideas:
- Make transparencies of photos that tell stories about a concept or time period
- Have students research a building or home in your area
- Let students create a costume modeling their chosen historic figure
- Display photos showing your hometown's changes over time
- Have students use Minnesota photos and facts to make a brochure
- Encourage students to use photos in their History Day projects
- Use Northern Lights' Ch. 11 Investigation, "Picturing Working Life," to lead students through a historic photo inquiry.
How will you use Minnesota's compelling photos, fine art, and posters in your classroom? Search your favorite topic, discover new photos, and see what ideas develop.
teacher workshops start local--then go national
Next month, our professional development opportunities cover an wide spectrum: from the local to the national. The appeal of local history is that it happened close to home. State history connects students' stories of their neighborhoods to the larger world, and prepares them for the study of broader topics in national and world history.
It's your turn to become a student. Sign up today and reserve your spot.
LOCAL YOKEL'S HOMETOWN HISTORY
Friday, April 1,
Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Local history surrounds us--from nearby buildings and street names to the people we meet. Study ways to bring local history to life in your classroom through new materials and instructional ideas. Brainstorm methods for teaching about your local area. Minneapolis and St. Paul are used as examples. Attendees tour the new Mill City Museum and enjoy a walking tour of the stone arch bridge.
MINNESOTA IN THE CIVIL WAR
Thursday, April 14, Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul
Minnesota can boast that we were the first state to offer troops to fight the Civil War, but how did that offer change history? Explore the effects of Minnesotans on the Civil War, and the Civil War on Minnesotans. Hear from the author of the award-winning Pale Horse at Plum Run. Discover ways to bring the drama of this era to your classroom. Attendees tour Historic Fort Snelling.
Sign up today and find out why a past participant told us, "I leave these MHS workshops thankful I became a teacher." Questions? Please contact Aleah Vinick at 651-296-4975 or by email.
book your spring field trip now
More than 350,000 students visited Minnesota Historical Society museums and historic sites last year. Come see why. Contact us today, and bring your students face-to-face with "history where it happened." Slots fill up quickly, so contact us today.
HISTORIC SITES--NORTHERN MINNESOTA
Discover stories of the fur trade, lumberjacks, the Ojibwe, and Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. Contact each site to tailor your trip.
HISTORIC SITES--SOUTHERN MINNESOTA
Visit ancient rock carvings and an 1899 general store. Explore American Indian and European-American cultures. Contact each site to tailor your trip.
OLIVER H. KELLEY FARM
Help with chores on a working 1860's farm, and come meet animals similar to those raised by pioneer families. Contact us at 763-441-6896 or online.
Meet a History Player, unpack an immigrant's trunk, photograph artifacts and make a scrapbook, or choose from a host of other hands-on lessons. Be sure to catch the Smitsonian Institution's "American Presidency" exhibit before it closes on May 15. Call us at 651-297-7258.
Choose from a variety of enlightening tours, which include exploring the impressive architecture and seeing the legislature in action. Contact us at 651-296-2881 or by email.
MILL CITY MUSEUM
Find out what 30,000 students already know: Learning about flour can be fun. Bake cookies, build your own waterway, and watch a show from the comfort of a moving grain elevator. School visits include a 45-minute lesson, a self-guided exhibit scavenger hunt, and the popular Flour Tower show. Call us at 612-341-7556 or schedule online.
MORE METRO SITES
Explore politics, territorial life, and elite society. Show students how Henry Sibley, Alexander Ramsey, and James J. Hill influenced the Minnesota we know today. Contact each site to tailor your trip.
History Day Judges needed
Regional History Day events are already underway. State History Day is just around the corner, and we are still short judges. All judges receive training, refreshments, a fashionable t-shirt, and--of course--the appreciation of the youth of Minnesota.
State History Day is Sunday, May 1, at the University of Minnesota. Time commitment is approximately 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Join us for this inspring event! Encourage your history education colleagues to come along, too. Contact Mollie at 651-297-3870 or by email.
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Let students tell Minnesota's stories
A fun activity for us is "Minnesota Maker" Day. By the time we end our study on Minnesota, the students have an extensive list of people who helped "make Minnesota." We pick a day when each person dresses up like a Minnesota Maker we've studied. The students travel to some of the younger classrooms, introduce themselves, and tell their stories. We get some pretty authentic costumes. We invite the parents to join us for "tea" in the afternoon, at which time the Makers put on a little program. Parents invariably make comments like, "I am learning so much about Minnesota" or "I wish we could have done this when I was in school."
--Woody Blasing, Grade 6, Frazee Elementary, Frazee
Do you have a classroom idea you'd like to share with other educators? Please contact us with your idea. If your idea is chosen, we'll send you a free book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.