On March 1, 2014, the new Pennsylvania Core Standards for Reading and Writing in History and Social Studies took effect as a supplement to the existing PA Standards for history. Recently, each unit on HSP’s website has been updated to show to show the PA Core Standards the lesson fulfills.
Learning about the Underground Railroad can engage and fascinate students in a way few other topics can. Textbooks tend to focus mostly on Harriet Tubman and neglect to mention the countless other organizations and individuals that made the escape route possible. One of these other organizations was the Vigilant Committee, whose purpose was to support runaway slaves while they stayed in or passed through Philadelphia. This committee, an auxiliary of the larger Vigilant Association, operated from 1837 to 1852, at which time it dissolved and the new Vigilance Committee was formed.
If you are an elementary school teacher looking for new and interesting ways to teach math and language arts, consider using primary source documents relevant to your curriculum. The use of primary source documents will expand student’s critical thinking skills and foster a greater understanding of our nation’s history at a young age.
Imagine you are a student, walking into a large building to complete a research task, and immediately you feel completely overwhelmed. You had no idea what to expect when first visiting an archive. You did not even think to bring a pencil or search online to find what documents would work well with your research! Well, that fear should be gone if the student is able to visit the archive as a part of their classroom curriculum.
When you think of a primary source found at HSP, the first thing that probably comes to mind is an old, handwritten document. Visual primary sources, including photographs, political cartoons, and sketches, however, are just as important to the understanding of history as written sources. Knowing how to analyze visuals is an important skill for all students to learn.
For those of you who teach 20th Century US history, you might find the most recent lesson plan on the HSP website, “America and the Red Scare” useful. This lesson includes primary sources from two opposing groups during the period.
Discussing politics in an academic setting will often send up red flags to any classroom instructor, yet incorporating historical political cartoons into a History and Language Arts interdisciplinary lesson can offer a rewarding educational experience in a fun and inviting way. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is in the process of digitizing hundreds of political cartoons dating from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. The ultimate goal is to share them with the public through an interactive tool on our website.
Teaching American labor in history class will help your students recognize that the work place today is a result of the struggle, change and progress of workers, unions, employers, and industries across time. Tuesday, May 6, attend a teacher workshop at HSP on this subject and receive a copy of Organizing Pennsylvania Workers.
Philadelphia was a high volume stop along the Underground Railroad throughout the early 1800s. Here at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania are documents, images and diaries that hold secrets, connections, and loads of information about the Underground Railroad and those individuals who made it possible. These artifacts are now housed in the same city of Philadelphia, where much of William Still's diary was written, where many ex-slaves came to find a new home, and where abolitionists and other citizens came together as a function of the Underground Railroad.