Educators Blog

3/28/16
Author: Alicia Parks

Native American history can be an interesting conundrum for many teachers since it can be difficult to find the voice of native people over the abundant voice of white people speaking for, or about, Native Americans, often with misguided interpretations. One of the earliest accounts we have of Native American resistance is a speech made by the famous Shawnee, Tecumseh, when he spoke to the Osages in the winter of 1811-1812. 

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2/23/16
Author: Alicia Parks

In honor of Black History Month, we are celebrating W.E.B Du Bois’ birthday. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 into a world where slavery was abolished, yet the struggle for African Americans to gain equal rights still persisted. He was a Civil Rights activist, co-founder of the NAACP, and paved the way in higher education by becoming the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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2/9/16
Author: Vincent Fraley

The School District of Philadelphia may lack proper funding, but the United States' eighth-largest public school system has never wanted for dedicated teachers. For many of the city's Cold War kids, Helen Cheyney Bailey stands at the front of the class.

Born in Philadelphia and educated in its public schools, Bailey (1897-1978) initially dreamed of being a writer. A scholarship to Radcliffe College seemed to offer the Philadelphia High School for Girls graduate a chance at a life of letters. Gender conventions got in the way.

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1/27/16
Author: Alicia Parks

What was life like for a twenty-something free black woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War? If you are interested to know, please check out our latest unit plan, Emilie Davis’s Civil War: 1863-1865.

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1/21/16
Author: Alicia Parks

What is appropriate for children to see when teaching slavery and abolition?  This week Scholastic decided to pull the book “A Birthday Cake for Mr. Washington.” The book was the story of Washington’s chef, Hercules, and his daughter Delia, as they bake a cake for the President's birthday. Scholastic had been facing criticism because the story made slavery seem like a pleasant lifestyle where slaves were happy and left out the fact that the real Hercules eventually ran away from Washington’s home to gain his freedom.

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1/8/16
Author: Beth A Twiss Houting

HSP has just launched a whole new lesson plan section and a virtual lecture series on its website, by-products of the 2015 Cultures of Independence teacher workshop.  Funded primarily by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the workshop’s foundational philosophy was that study of local landmarks provides entrée into national historical and cultural movements. 

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12/14/15
Author: Alicia Parks

With the holiday season upon us, marketing ads directed toward children tend to dominate the airwaves. Directing propaganda at children, though, is nothing new, especially when looking at children’s literature from the 1800’s. In the years leading up to the Civil War, children’s books became a way to persuade young impressionable youth toward a particular, often political, point of view.

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11/30/15
Author: Alicia Parks

Just like the title of this blog is a play-on-words from a historic Broadway musical, the topic of this blog relates to something else historic, the printed map. Remember when you went on a road trip with your parents and one of them would pull out a large map from the glove compartment to figure out where you were headed?

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11/24/15
Author: Alicia Parks

This Thanksgiving, get into the giving spirit by providing your students with more holiday-themed cartoons. The cartoon attached to this post was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on November 26, 1908 shortly after President Taft was elected.

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11/5/15
Author: Alicia Parks

Continuing with a political theme due to our recent elections, the highlight this week is an anti-cartoonist law that was signed in 1903 by Pennsylvania Governor, and former President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Samuel Pennypacker. The law stated that politicians could not be depicted in a non-human form. Naturally, many cartoonists got their revenge through several very un-flattering images of Governor Pennypacker; three are shown below.

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