Welcome back to another Loves, Links, Reads, and Reviews – the monthly link roundup where I post my best Social Studies related finds from the internet and discuss all that I’ve been up to in the past month. Below is my list for April 2022.
April 2022 was an eventful month for me personally. I was finally able to make up a trip to Spain that had been canceled two years ago. I fell in love with Spain four years ago when I chaperoned a student trip in 2018. Finally, I was able to make a return and visit some new cities. (I also ate my way through those cities. Tapas todos los dias mis amigos.)
The fact that I was traveling meant that I certainly enjoyed my month, but I was less “productive.”
Loves and Links
Steve Johnson – Why We’re Living Longer – I happened upon this podcast while on a lengthy walk in an airport. (I wanted to get in some steps before spending nine and a half hours on a plane). It explores the reasons why our life expectancy has more than doubled over the past century. I really appreciated this long view of the world. Humans are so quick to forget what the daily experience of life was like before basic medical care and safety precautions. (Also, one of the hosts mentions that they play this game around the dinner table called, “What would have killed us.” Yes, it’s morbid, but think about it for a second! Did you have a childhood disease or accident that would have killed you a century ago?) The podcast is certainly worth a listen.
The Educational Culture War is Raging. But for Most Parents, It’s Background Noise – NPR conducted a poll by interviewing parents about the state of education in the U.S. What did they find?
“For decades, voters have expressed concern in polls about the state of K-12 education in the U.S. But when you zoom in closer, parents seem to like their own kids’ school, and they like their kids’ teachers even more.”Anya Kamenetz, NPR
This same point of view was expressed regarding most topics – racism, gender identity, history, crime… in every case, parents were mostly satisfied. Their biggest concern was the mental health of students. I would argue that teachers feel the same way.
Untold History – I love finding new Youtube channels for my students. I’ve found that short videos with plain language and animated visuals are the most helpful. I’ve previously written about some of my favorites. I know that I need to come up with a new list! This channel was one of the best I’ve found recently. It has a bunch of great videos, with topics ranging from “Hidden Histories,” to “Museum Artifacts that Made America.” I was especially intrigued by the channel that animates famous American speeches.
Lost LA – I also happened upon a web series all about Los Angeles. Although this series would obviously best apply to teachers in California, I found that quite a few of the videos would also work for teachers across the country. For instance, this video is all about Ghost Towns and this one is all about the “creativity” of bootleggers.
Invasion of America – This interactive map shows the land lost by Native Americans through the course of American History. Though I do wish the “zoom” feature was less sensitive, I appreciated the fact that you can search by nation and “manipulate time” to see the land claims at any point.
Students (Any Many Adults) Can’t Tell Fact From Fiction Online. Here’s How to Help – Beyond mental health, media literacy is one of the most pressing concerns teachers have in the current moment. This is a start, but we certainly need more curricula to address this issue.
Peacefield History posts from this past month…
There are some new books out that I’ve already added to my list for the classroom. You can check out the full list below by scanning through the titles or by visiting my shop on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org serves as an additional option to Amazon. You can shop through the links and support local bookstores while doing so. If I know I want to purchase a new book for myself, I always shop through this store first.
I didn’t get a chance to write a new blog post this past month (besides last month’s monthly roundup), but I was able to add a new resource to the Peacefield History shop.
Groups in the West | Stations Activity – This lesson introduces students to the major groups of people living in the west after the Civil War. This is an activity that I would teach at the beginning of the school year. I found that many students need a basic primer on this topic before going into more detail about the events of the west.
I will be finishing my unit about the west through the course of May, so make sure to look for additional updates!
Reads and Reviews
I only made it through one book this past month, but again, it was a worthwhile investment of my time. May will mean bunches of gardening and yard work, so I’ll be listening to many audiobooks in the coming days.
Like many students of history, I took a philosophy course as an undergraduate student. As a freshman in college, I definitely didn't appreciate the idea of philosophy. Now, with my age and wisdom (laughs in millennial) I've grown to greatly appreciate the discussion of the great questions of life. I watched The Good Place with absolute glee and I picked up this book with certainty that I would enjoy the content. After all, I've pretty much devoured everything that Mike Schur has created.
Of course, I was not disappointed. This book reviews the basic philosophical discussions that were inherent to the Good Place, but with the luxury of the written word, Schur is able to go into much more depth. As he is not a philosopher, however, he places the ideas of philosophy (existentialism, utilitarianism, deontology, and ubuntu (among others) within the context of practical questions that humans face in their daily life. There are also jokes - he is a comedy writer after all.
The book had me brimming with possible questions for students and possible applications for my classes next year. I know that this book will be read more than once, and I'm so glad I added it to my shelf.More info →