WWII veterans tell their stories – Central Florida WWII Museum

November 1, 2010

Part of the Veterans History Project, a museum in Florida interviews World War II veterans, and much of the material shows up on YouTube.

These interviews offer great resources for student projects, and are simply a grand way to capture history.

See this story about “Flying the Hump,” transporting war materiel over the Himalayas into China; it’s an interview with E. W. “Bill” Cutler, one of the fliers who survived:

This interview caught my attention for a personal reason.  My uncle, Bruce Davis, died flying the route.  His aircraft and remains were recovered more than 30 years later — someone stumbled on the wreckage accidentally.  When an aircraft went down for any reason (usually weather), the crews passed into a limbo that comprised a special hell for their families.  It was almost impossible that anyone would survive, as Cutler details.  But, with no wreckage and no remains, there were always questions.

Update: Brother Dwight informed me his father-in-law served at the last base before the airplanes went over the mountains.  We have more family Himalayan connections than I knew.

This interview has a mere 152 views as of this posting — pass it around, let’s bump the viewing total up, and get the story out.  At YouTube, the Central Florida WWII Museum has its own channel, listing several similar interviews.

I could see each student assigned to one interview, to tell the story of the interview to the class, to research the background of the theatre of war discussed, the battle, the incident, the armaments, the nations and people involved — to make a history narrative out of the interview, in other words.    What other uses do you see?

Here’s the rest of the story:  The museum has not yet been built.  This project, the video interviews, is a place-holder, a way to communicate while raising the money to build an edifice to honor the veterans more appropriately.  It’s a virtual museum — one your students may browse from the classroom.  How cool is that?


History in photos – great art, good student project?

August 12, 2010

Earlier I found an idea I’ve not been able to incorporate into my classes, but which I still like:  Take historic photos of your town, go to the same place today and see what it looks like.

Comparing historic images with places today

Students could do this: Comparing historic images with places today

A Russian photographer takes the exercise further, and creates sometimes-stunning art.

Sergey Larenkov has photos from Europe in World War II.  He blends parts of those images with photos of the same places today, in cities across Europe. He has images from Berlin, Leningrad, and other cities (crawl over his LiveJournal site — there’s good stuff).

Sergey Larenkov, World War II historic photo overlay on modern shot - Leningrad?

Sergey Larenkov, World War II historic photo overlay on modern shot - is this Leningrad? Whose soldiers, what year?

Sergey Larenkov work, the Siege of Leningrad, and Leningrad today (reverting to the name St. Petersburg)

Sergey Larenkov work, the Siege of Leningrad, and Leningrad today (reverting to the name St. Petersburg)

Ghostly, no?

The photos show the destruction of war, and how far Europe has come since then.  It’s an astounding view of history.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, these photo mashups are worth ten thousand words or more.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Alices’ blog at My Modern Met.

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World War II, fought out on Facebook

April 11, 2010

It’s not exactly family safe, so I’ll link.  For a college class, I’d ask students to determine if the piece is accurate, and if not, what really happened.

What would it have looked like had World War II been fought with Facebook postings?


Look at the past: A class project?

January 30, 2010

Look at this stuff, at Pillar Post.  Could your students do something like this for your town?

image by Bu Yourself, at Pillar Post

image by Bu Yourself, at Pillar Post

Students would have to find the old photos at the library, or at your local historical association or museum.  Most of your students already have the electronic photo equipment though . . .

Just an idea.

Resources, and more:


Bill of Rights Institute cosponsors prize for National History Day

January 21, 2010

I get e-mail:

THE BILL OF RIGHTS INSTITUTE SPONSORS NATIONAL HISTORY DAY PRIZE
Students nationwide can compete for the Constitutional Rights in History prize

The Bill of Rights Institute announced their collaboration with National History Day (NHD) today. The Institute is sponsoring the Constitutional Rights in History prize, awarded to an outstanding entry in any category from both the senior and junior divisions which documents and analyzes how individuals have exercised their constitutional rights throughout American history.

The 2010 theme for National History Day is “Innovation In History: Impact and Change.” Students must demonstrate through their project how their chosen individual’s actions had an impact on history.

Each year more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. The Bill of Rights Institute’s prize will be awarded at the National Finals held in June 2010 in College Park, Maryland.

For more information about History Day, go to http://www.nationalhistoryday.org/.

© 2010 Bill of Rights Institute
200 North Glebe Road, Ste 200
Arlington, VA 22203


Gilded Age project

October 27, 2009

I really like this project, and I wish I’d come across it about a month ago:

The Gilded Age Class Documentary Project

The Gilded Age – Class Documentary Project

Instructors:  Rachel Duffy, Marc Ducharme

May, 2005

Adapted from:  The Gilded Age WebQuest – Documenting Industrialization in America

By: Thomas Caswell and Joshua DeLorenzo

What do you think?


Quick assist for students doing papers on climate change

October 14, 2009

So, you’re a student doing a paper on climate change, and you need help limiting the topic, or finding information about related topics.

Hot Topic has just the thing:  Interactive “debate maps.

Hot Topic is a website dedicated to the issue climate change in New Zealand — after the book by the same name.

Does anyone know where similar maps might exist for other social studies topics?


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