Why Study U.S. History?
Using the Standards
Standardized Exams
Developing Themes in U.S. History
Historical Stories and Unit Hooks
Using Primary Sources in the Classroom
General Strategies
Alternative Assessments
Rubrics and Scaffolds
Long Term Projects
Additional Resources
Kevin Williams: Contact and Information


Accelerating Student Learning and Motivation in 
                  Your U.S. History Classroom
Cutting-Edge Strategies and Hands-On Activities


This website is intended to serve as a support for those who attended the "Accelerating Student Learning and Motivation in the U.S. History Classroom - Cutting-Edge Strategies and Hands-On Activities" seminar.
To the left you'll see navigation titles representing each unit from the handbook.  Simply click on the appropriate link to see the resources related to that unit.

Centennial Mirror

Updated Handbook Resources - contains updated links and updated information useful to implementing ideas from the seminar. (updated 1/31/09)

Creating The Museum
The Workshop Premise (updated 2/18/07)
How do we engage students in meaningful ways in the classroom.  The research of Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelan suggests that people are interested in history that they can see, hear or touch.  Additionally, people relate to history when they can personalize it.  Historic images, music, video and text are all ways that can engage our students.
To your left you see a thumbnail of the Centennial Mirror.  I have scanned the image you saw at the workshop, and have provided a link to this enlarged version.  Open a word document, and create a landscape 11 x 17 document.  Insert this image, and print.  You'll have your very own Centennial Mirror.
Please let me know if you're having any problems.

Kevin Williams

2008 Presentation Schedule

For information or to register:

Upcoming Dates - 2009
1.  March 9th, 2009 - White Plains, NY - CANCELLED
2.  March 10th, 2009 - Newark, NJ
3.  March 11th, 2009 - Harrisburg, PN
4.  March 12th, 2009 - Cherry Hill, NJ
5.  March 13th, 2009 - Portland, ME - CANCELLED
Click "Kevin Williams Contact/Information" to get in touch, ask a question, offer comments, or inform me of features or links that aren't working, or if you're interested in having Kevin present for your school/school district.  In addition, you can find out more about Kevin, his family, and feedback from previous seminars.


Assignments, Articles, Images, and Sources To Engage Students (Updated 3/8/09)
Lessons and Assignments
1.  Education at HarpWeek.com – I have touted HarpWeek.com for many years, but now they have added an education page.  It appears to be in its infancy – there are only four lessons and they are all “simulations”.  However, there are great guiding lessons that utilize the amazing image database of HarpWeek.com.  I think the Reconstruction Convention Simulation is amazing!!
2.  Teaching Tolerance - Offers several free videos for educators.  I've used them all; particularly useful has been "Mighty Time", and "The Shadow of Hate".  A new video, "Viva La Causa" is coming out.  It deals with Cesar Chavez.

3.  Cold War Propaganda - this adds to the propaganda in the handbook (Civil War and WWII).   
4.  An American Time Capsule - from American Memory, this excellent site contains three centuries of "broadsides and ephemera".  You and your students can search in multiple ways.  Any way you look at it, there is some amazing information here - like this newspaper page depicting the flow of information following Lexington and Concord.
5.  Progressivism PowerPoint Project - we discussed this lesson during the seminar.  This is the updated lesson - all research summaries are included.  This should help shorten the length of this assignment.  Remember to conclude the assignment with a slideshow exam.
6.  Manzanar National Historic Site Lesson Plans - The website gives numerous lessons and resources.  If you're interested in downloading and printing the IDs of over 30 internees, follow the next link (this is the resource I use with my classes!!)
Books, Videos, Articles, Images, and Sources
1.  Looking For Lincoln - Chapter 4 of this PBS documentary highlights all of the difficulties and opportunities that we, as social studies educators, face.  How do we teach multiple perspective ALL THE TIME.  Abraham Lincoln is one of the most revered figures in our history.  But, he was human.  This chapter (entitled Lincoln, slavery and racial equality) shows that even the most respected historians in our country struggle with Lincoln and his inconsistencies.  You can watch the entire "Looking for Lincoln" video through flash streaming.
2.  Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies - I heard about this on NPR.  These musicians have a liberal leaning, but really that can only be detected on recent Presidents.  This is a cool, ambitious project.  I haven't heard all of it - I listened to the three songs on the NPR site.  Check it out for yourself...certainly not for everyone.
3.  Eyewitness - from the National Archives Online Exhibits comes this amazing collection of eyewitness accounts throughout U.S. History.  Some highlights include Dr. Stone's testimony of Lincoln's death, and the last hours of Richard Nixon's Presidency.  Easy to use and contains many images!!
4.  America's History in the Making - great series from Annenberg/CPB with an amazing collection of teacher resources. Each unit has "themes", a video, and primary source documents.  Videos are available for purchase, but also stream.
5.  There Goes My Everything - Jason Sokol - this book opened me to a different view of the African American Civil Rights movement.  This books focuses on the wide variety of responses among white Southerners.  In my opinion, this book is invaluable because it provides a window into how white southerners viewed the movement.
6.  "Hiroshima: A Survivor's Story" - amazing story of Francis Tomosawa, and American-born boy who was sent to Japan to in 1941 to learn and live his Japanese cultureduring.  Unfortunately, he was sent to Hiroshima, where he then lived through the atomic bomb. 
a.  You may also want to view (not sure it's appropriate for students...VERY  graphic) HBO's White Light, Black Rain. The Teacher's Guide website(PDF) includes other useful website and information.
7.  Clash of the Titans - I found these lesson materials when looking for the image of the "Unveiled" statue of Booker T. Washington that can be seen on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute.  You will find the image there, but look at the comparison of the obituaries. 
8.  "Amazing Grace" - I came across this story during a workshop.  John Newton was a slave trader who had a conversion experience.  He dropped his old ways, and became an abolitionist.  It just so happens that he wrote the words for "Amazing Grace".  Read the article above to see what happened to it after he wrote the lyrics.  I can see really using this during the teaching of the 2nd Great Awakening and its relation to the reform movements of the first half of the 19th century.
9.  Sundown Towns, James Loewen - Excellent book by James Loewen (author of Lies My Teacher Told Me.  Focuses on a little known aspect of racism - that of the sundown town.  Sundown Towns are towns where few if any African Americans live.  Loewen explores the reasons this has occured.  The geography and timing of sundown times may surprise you.  This is the support website for the book
10.  Presidential Campaign Songs - Oscar Brand.  Smithsonian Folkways records released this album last year.  It contains Presidential songs for EACH President from Washington to Clinton.  This is a great way to introduce elections, campaigns and get some insight into how campaigns tried to "sell" their candidates.
11.  Owney and American Railroads - I just went to the California History Museum and was taken by the story of Owney.  I could see this story engaging all students at some level.    I discuss Owney when talking about railroads and the coming of the Industrial Revolution.  My high school students love this story!!
12.  The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory - I was reading an article in the August 2006, Smithsonian, about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  In the article they mention the website which has an amazing collection of documents and photographs.
13.  "The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi" - William Bradford Huie.  This is the interview given by Emmett Till's killers after they were acquited.  I think it provides valuable insight into the realities of Jim Crow South.  On another level, it provides an excellent opportunity to discuss "double jeopardy".
14.  Top 100 American Surnames - I found this chart on Wikipedia.  It is based on the 2000 census and shows the change in number of surnames in the United States.  I use it to show the changing nature of diversity in the United States.  Notice the incredible increase in Hispanic names.  Also notice that Nguyen is at #57!!  I also like students to see the % of names by race.