The Monthly Roundup – Loves, Links, Reads, and Reviews

Several images discussing the major headlines for May 2022 for Social Studies Teachers.

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 May 2022. (There are some affiliate links in this post.)

three images of flowers

With the hot weather, my garden basically exploded. I moved many of my perennials in the past two years, so this year they finally had a chance to establish themselves and they just took off. As ever, the yard is in flux. This year, the old chicken coop will become a wood shed and with any luck, a fire pit will take shape also.

Loves and Links

These middle school students have a warning about teens and social media

This is a short illustrated comic from the Atlantic that relays the details of the tragic event. It’s short enough to be accessible to students, it’s visually engaging, and it covers the major details of the event without being too brutal or graphic.

The Massacre of Black Wall Street

I love this story! NPR hosts a podcast contest every year. These kids (middle schoolers!), wrote a podcast about misinformation and they were the winners at the middle school level. There are just so many skills and relevant ideas here that it just makes my brain overflow with the possibilities!

The Roots of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers

This article provides tons of research and insight into the events that led to Haiti’s current situation. I don’t think the research is as new or groundbreaking as the authors claim (there has been a bit of debate on Twitter), however, the way in which the information is laid out makes it more accessible. While I think this resource is more for teachers than students, teachers could certainly pull sections from the article for students to analyze. (I’m using the NYT gift link here. This means that you should be able to read the article without a subscription.)

Social Media is hurting kids. Why hasn’t the government stepped in?

The headline explains the topic, and the article provides the research. I have two comments. One, I do think that this topic needs more discussion and legislation is needed. Second, I think this would be a great topic for kids to discuss! Have them break down the issues with social media. They recognize the problems, even if they proclaim that they love their apps. Then, have them debate possible legislation.

Remembering Frances Noah: A Tribute To Trevor’s Gran

If you’ve read Born a Crime, Trevor Noah’s memoir about growing up in South Africa, then you’ve already learned a bit about his family. His grandmother recently died and he posted a tribute to her. I know that some teachers use the YA version of his book in class and the video provides some visuals to accompany the story. It’s also just very sweet and uplifting.

In Color – The Faces of Slavery

I follow Marina Amaral on Twitter. She colorizes historical photographs. Recently shared this article about the enslaved people of Brazil.

Using Historical Fiction to Teach U.S. History

You can register for this free webinar with Lourie Halse Anderson about using historical fiction in the Social Studies classroom. (She’s the author of the Chains trilogy.) Offered by the National Council for the Social Studies, this is free!

An Honest Look at the Texas Rangers

I did a bunch of research this month related to the resources I was creating about the American West. This article does a deep dive into the history of the Texas Rangers. It was a topic that I have read about only briefly previously and this article really filled in the gaps in my knowledge. It also brought up some parallels between Texas’s history and the current issues Texas is facing.

Peacefield History posts from this past month…

I added several resources to my shop. I’ve been working on a unit about the American West. It’s been both refreshing and laborious to spend my days writing and researching this topic. When examining how we teach this topic (and I mean this collectively), I’ve found that there aren’t many resources that truly convey the vastness and complexity of the west in a way that’s true to the history. I’m trying my best to remedy that situation while also being mindful of the age level of the students I teach.

Myths of the American West – As an introduction to this unit, I find it necessary to discuss the myths commonly associated with the west. Students often come into school with ideas about “cowboys and Indians,” or even ideas they’ve learned from video games or pop culture. With this lesson, the teacher will introduce students to 6 common myths about the west. Then, students will debunk those myths by looking at the evidence.

The Homestead Act and Populism – In this lesson, students experience the trials and tribulations of homesteading by following the experiences of a homesteader. They will learn about the significance of the Homestead Act, and then they’ll follow five years of homesteading life to see the difficulties of homesteading. As a culminating activity, students will learn about Populism and connect that topic to the experience of homesteading.

The American West | Word Wall – This word wall helps your students build and retain key vocabulary terms from the unit of study. This resource includes 27 word wall terms related to the American West, vocabulary review strategies, and a review puzzle to support your students’ learning

I also have an upcoming resource about Native Americans in the west. Look for that soon!

Reads and Reviews

Reads and Reviews - May 2022
Four Treasures of the Sky: A Novel

Four Treasures of the Sky: A Novel

Four Treasures of the Sky takes on the history of Chinese immigration during the era of the Exclusion Act. Daiyu is abandoned by her grandparents at a very young age after her parents are kidnapped for their political activism. Teetering on the edge of existence, Daiyu's life is largely controlled by her gender and her race, and those issues remain constant as she smuggled to the U.S. and then migrates to Idaho. This is not an uplifting story - but unlike many historical fiction novels, this book reflects the reality of the history during this time. In many ways, it seemed like an adult companion to Prairie Lotus.

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Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History

Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History

The authors of Homesteading the Plains, Richard Edwards and Jacob Friefeld, examined the major myths related to the Homestead Act. These myths were often accepted as truth and had permeated the literature on the subject without any critical analysis of the historical details. Edwards and Friefield seek to correct that record by looking at the actual data surrounding the Homestead Act and the settlers that moved to that territory.

I found this book when I was researching the Homestead Act. Like the authors, I found that the topic was full of anecdotal stories and there wasn't much statistical or historical analysis. Despite its methodical approach, I still found the text quite readable and very convincing.

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