WHAT'S NEW for the school year
Welcome back to school! As you've been busy welcoming new students, we at the Minnesota Historical Society have been gearing up for a new year, too. Here's a taste of what's new:
New History Center Exhibit: Pulitzer Prize Photos
Experience powerful moments in our nation's history. From the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima to the 9/11 attacks on the the World Trade Center, scenes from Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs will prompt genuine interest and discussion in your classroom. Hurry--this nationally traveling exhibit--the largest collection of these prizewinners ever assembled --will be here only three months. Oct. 15, 2005, through Jan. 15, 2006.
Grades 9 and up. Schedule your field trip today: 651-297-7258.
New history Day theme: Taking a Stand
If you haven't tried National History Day yet, make this your year. This year's theme, Taking a Stand in History, provides rich potential for historical inquiry. Students can throw their energy into projects on strong individuals, groundbreaking events, ideological issues, or social movements.
"Kids always love stories about people who take a stand," says Emma Ryan, who teaches sixth grade at Dakota Hills Middle School in Minneapolis. "This year's theme will force students to go outside of classic projects we see every year. It'll also provide a great reason for them to read biographies."
As Ryan points out, History Day is for everyone, not just top students. "For a few of my special ed students, History Day was the only project they finished all year. For me, it's more about the experience than creating national winners."
Ryan's advice for new teachers? "Jump in! And talk to others who have done it before." We'll provide a free information packet for first time teachers. Of course, all teachers are welcome at our hands-on History Day workshops. To register, contact Mollie by email or at 651-297-3870.
For topic ideas, visit our "History Topics" website. You'll find options galore, complete with handy secondary source lists. Savvy teachers should also check out Minnesota Public Radio's Sound Learning. This school-specific radio archive is great for History Day. Radio stories provide unique historical context, while showing the human side of history.
book your history field trips now
School is back, and our phones are ringing! Field trip slots are filling fast, so call now to reserve your favorite date. Whether you're repeating a tried-and-true field trip or trying a site for the first time, we'll help you meet the new social studies standards. For a brochure, contact Suzi by email or at 651-215-1763.
Encounter "history where it happened" at the Minnesota History Center, Mill City Museum, and historic sites in the Twin Cities area, northern Minnesota, and southern Minnesota. Highlights include:
LOWER SIOUX AGENCY, near Morton
An important development in our sites network comes with the reopening of the Lower Sioux Agency. We are thrilled to announce that school field trips will be available once again, starting April 1, 2006. During its 2005 season, the Minnesota Legislature restored funds to reopen the site. Check our website for more information over the coming months.
HISTORIC FORT SNELLING, St. Paul
Whether you're a field trip regular or visiting for the first time, you'll learn something new from our costumed interpreters. One of our most-visited destinations, Historic Fort Snelling brings history to life.
Grades K-12 In the fall, your tour will be tailored to your group's needs. Tours last 90 minutes and are led by costumed guides portraying soldiers, laundresses, American Indians, fur traders, and Selkirk settlers. Students visit several fort buildings, including the Commanding Officer's Quarters.
Spring trips center around Living History Tours. Costumed guides portraying diverse characters encourage questions, demonstrate tools of the early 19th century, and provide varying perspectives on pre-territorial Minnesota.
Call 612-726-1171 or email us. Fee: $4 per person. Be sure to allow extra time to visit the archaeology exhibit, "History Under the Floorboards."
HISTORIC FORESTVILLE, near Preston
For the first time in recent years, Historic Forestville is open for fall field trips. No longer in danger of shutting down, the site is now back to full-scale operation. "We really like going there and we hope it stays open," says a fourth-grade teacher who has brought his classes to Forestville for nearly 10 years. "My students love sawing the log, helping in the kitchen, and getting a treat straight from the oven."
Trips to Historic Forestville include five hands-on learning areas: the general store, the office, the garden, the kitchen, and outdoor chores. "Farm living provides a whole education that kids in the city may never know," says site manager Sandy Scheevel. "Last year, after students planted seed potatoes in our garden, a young boy asked if he could bring his grandfather later that week to eat the final product. He simply had no idea how long the process takes."
Field trips are grade appropriate and vary by season. Call 507-765-2785. Fee: $4 per person. For a joint tour with Mystery Cave, call 507-352-5111.
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Class warm-up: this day in history
My class opens each day with an informal history lesson. My students and I talk about a significant event that happened on that day. On September 22, we talked about the Emancipation Proclamation. The following day marked the autumnal equinox, so we talked informally about why we have seasons. I find that this is a good way to get students warmed up for the day.
-David Olson, Grade 4, Central Intermediate School, Stewartville
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.