New for September at EDSITEment
Shelley NiTuama | September 21, 2010
This month EDSITEment celebrates the signing of the Constitution as well as Hispanic Heritage Month. It also takes a look at the many hats of Benjamin Franklin and announces the launch of Mission US, an exciting series of online educational video games that engage students in United States history.
The Constitution of the United States of America
Each year, Constitution Day is celebrated on September 17, commemorating the day in 1787 when the Founding Fathers signed one of America’s most important documents. The United States Constitution is the oldest written national constitution still in operation, and many of the nations that have established themselves in the decades since that day in 1787 have turned to this document as a model for their own constitutions. As a document which defines the structure of our federal government and delineates the rights of the states within the union, and individual citizens within the nation, the Constitution has become a symbol to Americans and to the world of the American government and way of life.
EDSITEment offers twenty-five lessons for a variety of grade levels. For example, who were the men who represented “We the People of the United States” when they ratified the Constitution? You might want to begin your investigation with the man who is often most closely associated with the Constitution, James Madison. You can learn more about Madison and his role in creating the Constitution in the EDSITEment lesson plan James Madison: Madison Was There. Most Americans of all ages have heard of James Madison, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin, but have they heard of Oliver Ellsworth? You and your students can learn about a few of the signatories of the Constitution with whom they may not yet be familiar in the EDSITEment lesson plan The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met.
And don’t miss our new section of Spanish-language resources.
Spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month
Every year since 1988, the U.S. Government has set aside the period from September 15 to October 15, to honor the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to our nation by observing National Hispanic Heritage Month. This September, EDSITEment joins the country in celebrating the Heritage, Diversity, Integrity, and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America (Herencia, Diversidad, Integridad, y Honor: La Renovada Esperanza de America) of the Hispanic people, whose cultural heritage has roots in Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Related EDSITEment lessons and features for National Hispanic Heritage Month include:
- Common Visions, Common Voices
- Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over
- Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays
- Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World
- The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion
In addition, on September 27, PBS stations will be airing When Worlds Collide, an NEH-funded, ninety-minute documentary that offers a sweeping look at the Spanish conquest of the New World, with a focus on the political, economic, and cultural effects on both Spain and the Americas. The related Web site, also supported by NEH, offers narrative explanations, film clips, image galleries, maps, and an interactive timeline. Suitable for both middle and high school world history classes, the curriculum includes an examination of the intricate mestizo culture, the development of the Latin America caste-like system, the transformation of New World religion, and more. The educational plan’s close analysis of the consequences of Old World and New World exchange proves useful in Advanced Placement World History and Advanced Placement European History.
Another offering that may be of interest is ¡Docentes!, a new group for teachers of Spanish language, culture, and literature on the Thinkfinity Community.
Also for September
Picturing America: Benjamin Franklin. Printer, Inventor, Founder, Wit—let your students discover just how many hats Benjamin Franklin wore with this Picturing America lesson plan. Great hands-on activities!
Teens and tweens across the country will soon experience American history as never before: Mission US launches today. This groundbreaking initiative is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from NEH. The first segment, “For Crown or Colony?,” focuses on events surrounding the American Revolution, allowing students to role play in the character of a foruteen-year-old apprentice to the Boston Gazette. It encourages them to step into the world of 1770 Colonial Boston and experience the events leading up to the Revolution. Students must he grapple with the conflicting views of the Patriots and the Loyalists. Playing the game involves reading primary historical documents, collecting period artifacts, and building vocabulary. Supplemental resources for teachers is also available at the Mission US website.
Now in its eleventh year, EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity, and the National Trust for the Humanities. This free-access, user-friendly website showcases more than 300 top humanities sites that have been identified and reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in fields such as social studies, history, literature, foreign languages, art, and culture. EDSITEment also creates grade-specific lesson plans that incorporate online resources, original source materials, and interactive learning activities, games, and quizzes for use by K–12 teachers and students. Find out why the American Association of School Librarians selected EDSITEment as one the 25 Top Website for Teaching and Learning for 2010.
Shelley NiTuama is EDSITEment Program Specialist for the National Endowment for the Humanities; she has an MLIS and ten years of professional experience in public and school libraries.