Teaching Philadelphia History
Philadelphia history can be used by teachers everywhere to explore many aspects of American history:Three online resources are very useful in providing classrooms with information on these topics.
Check out the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, an online compendium of short essays on subjects from the Philly pretzel to the Continental Congress. These essays also make excellent non-fiction reading for high school students as well as giving teachers background information for planning lessons.
Add geography to your lesson using the many maps of Philadelphia on HSP's website. Some of the them have been gathered into an online gallery. The maps span time from the colonial era to the second half of the 19th century, illustrating the growth of the city. In fact, the Encyclopedia's newest essay on Philadelphia Consolidation address this issue too.
To delve into more detail about the City's neighborhoods and people, check out PhilaPlace. This interactive website uses a Google map to organize short stories. And it allows for people to add stories. If you teach in the Philly area, you might even assign story-writing to students. Let me know if you do!
PS Teachers may wish to write stories too for either site. The Continental Congress essay was written by a high school teacher. Use the PhilaPlace link above or see Guidelines for Writers on the Encyclopedia site.