Thursday, July 29, 2010

News from the National Humanities Center

We're pleased to inform our readers that the National Humanities Center has released its latest newsletter. To download the Spring/Summer 2010 newsletter click here.

We call particular attention to the story on NHC Fellow Holly Brewer's efforts to reform secondary history curriculum:

"This spring Holly Brewer, the 2009–10 Walter Hines Page Fellow at the Center, found herself much in demand, not only for her scholarly expertise on early American intellectual and legal history, but also as a leading voice in discussions about reforming the history curriculum in North Carolina. While debates taking place in several states about history teaching attracted national attention, for instance over ideologically based changes adopted in Texas, in North Carolina the State Department of Public Instruction planned to cut history instruction sharply—to begin U.S. history in 1877 and world history in 1945 in high school, and to cut instruction in earlier grades as well. These cuts corresponded to a general de-emphasis on history throughout the curriculum, in response to a narrowing of the curriculum due to increasing pressure to test math and literacy."

We also call your attention to the fifth page where online seminars for teachers are listed for the 2010-2011 year. "The Center’s live, online education seminars continue to demonstrate their strong appeal, attracting nearly 500 teachers from 35 states to register for the 15 sessions offered in the spring and summer of 2010. This compares to 233 teachers from 20 states who participated in the 10 seminars offered in the fall of 2009." Go to this link to register today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

“Get Your Hands on History at Mission Houses Museum”

553 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Ph (808) 447-3910 Fax (808) 545-2280

We're delighted to report that today's e-mail brought news of the following events scheduled at Honolulu's Mission Houses Museum:

Kama‘aina Family Days: Yankees and Europeans Make Hawai‘i Home
July 31, 2010

The theme of this month’s Kama‘aina Family Days at Mission Houses Museum is Yankees and Europeans Make Hawai‘i Home. Traders, sailors and missionaries added their own traditions to the culture of Hawai‘i. Try on their clothes, compare the food they brought with traditional Hawaiian foods. Play old fashioned games. The adult talk focuses on the food traditions they brought with them and those they adapted once in Hawai‘i. See the printing press in action. Sail a boat and more!

Saturday, July 31. Schedule: Hands-on crafts and historical activities from 10 am to 3 pm; Keiki Story Time at 12:30 pm, Adult Talk at 1:30 pm, Historic House Tours at 11 am, 1 pm and 4 pm.

Special discount rates: $5 adults; $4 seniors & kama‘aina; $3 students and youth; and $2 for activities only (no tour). Address: 553 S. King St.

Contact: Mike Smola at 447-3914. For upcoming topics through the end of the year, visit and click on programming.

Teach! Learn! Share!

Docent Training at Mission Houses Museum

Mission Houses is looking for volunteers who want to help visitors and kama‘aina alike develop a better understanding of Hawaiian history. Docents are especially needed to give tours of the historic Frame House, Print Shop and grounds.

Choose from one of two sessions being offered:

Session 1: Two Thursdays, August 5 & 12 from 10 am to 1 pm

Session 2: Two Saturdays, August 7 & 14 from 10 am to 1 pm

Curious? Questions? Contact Mike at 808-447-3914 or email him at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Theodore Sizer: "Americans shamefully underestimate their adolescents."

In this morning's e-mail we received the following from Will Fitzhugh, founder of The Concord Review.

The Fall 1988 quote below is from Theodore Sizer (1932-2009), late Professor of Education, Brown University Author, Horace's Compromise, Horace's School; Chairman, Coalition of Essential Schools; Former Dean, Harvard School of Education; Former Headmaster, Phillips Academy at Andover. We offer this as academic food-for-thought as summer winds down and we countdown towards a new school year:

Americans shamefully underestimate their adolescents. With often misdirected generosity, we offer them all sorts of opportunities and, at least for middle-class and affluent youths, the time and resources to take advantage of them.

We ask little in return. We expect little, and the young people sense this, and relax. The genially superficial is tolerated, save in areas where the high school students themselves have some control, in inter-scholastic athletics, sometimes in their part-time work, almost always in their socializing.

At least if and when they reflect about it, adolescents have cause to resent us old folks. We do not signal clear standards for many important areas of their lives, and we deny them the respect of high expectations. In a word, we are careless about them, and, not surprisingly, many are thus careless about themselves. "Me take on such a difficult and responsible task?" they query, "I'm just a kid!"

All sorts of young Americans are capable of solid, imaginative scholarship, and they exhibit it for us when we give them both the opportunity and a clear measure of the standard expected. Presented with this opportunity, young folk respond. The Concord Review is such an opportunity, a place for fine scholarship to be exhibited, to be exposed to that most exquisite of scholarly tests, wide publication.

The prospect of "exhibition" is provocative. I must show publicly that I know, that I have ideas, and that I can defend them resourcefully. My competence is not merely an affair between me and a soulless grading machine in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a very public act.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The History Teacher: A September, 1909 Perspective

“Leaving normal school, college, or graduate school, the young teacher of history, if he or she is fortunate enough to get a chance to teach his own subject at once, enters a high school, or small college, where, in many cases, he is permitted to work out his own pedagogical salvation. From alma mater he has brought a knowledge of certain methods of history teaching practiced upon him by his own instructors, together with detailed information respecting several narrow fields of human history. Rarely has he received in college or graduate school any intimation of the best methods to be pursued in secondary school history teaching. Rarely does he in his new position receive much inspiration or advice concerning his actual class work from his administrative superiors.

“Left to his own resources, often losing contact with his former instructors and intellectual leaders, he may lose energy, ambition, outlook, and become at last a dreaded teacher of a dreadful subject.

“On the other hand the young teacher, if he succeeds, keeps in contact with the best thought in his profession, and grows as the profession grows. He will seek the acquaintance of other and more experienced history teachers, as a business man must be acquainted in his own line of business; he will keep in touch with new historical works, the latest reviews and magazines; and, if he can do it without sacrificing his duty to his class, he will engage in some original historical work. But best of all, he will remain a good teacher, opening the doors upon vistas which will delight and lure the student into an untraveled intellectual path.”

Source: The History Teacher's Magazine. Philadelphia, September, 1909, Vol. 1, Number 1.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Amelia: A new photo exhibit captures the spirit and style of an iconic aviator

Today's edition of Honolulu's Star Advertiser features an article by Burl Burlingame about a photo exhibit. This Saturday is Amelia Earhart's 113th birthday.

The photos come from Matson Shipping Archives. "While Earhart was in the islands, Matson documented her every move with photography. These photographs, along with the original negatives, were recently unearthed in the Matson Navigation Co. archives in Oakland. Beginning Saturday -- Earhart's 113th birthday -- Matson and the Royal Hawaiian have teamed up with an exhibition of these long-lost images." Click here to read the full article. Sample photos are also featured.

The exhibit is scheduled to open tomorrow at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Coronet Lounge in Waikiki where it can be viewed through the end of this year. Admission is free. Call 931-8232 for more information.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AASLH Launches History News Online Community

News reached us this morning that the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has launched its first online community titled History News. This portal is where "our members and history lovers can meet to discuss topics and challenges we face every day in the field of state and local history."

"History News Online is just the beginning of AASLH's commitment to creating an engaging and dynamic home for history on the Web," states Bob Beatty, Vice President for Programs. "We plan on launching new online initiatives in the upcoming years that will connect our members to each other, address our affinity groups and their needs, and provide leadership to the field as a whole."

Our first online community focuses on our magazine History News. The hub offers a place for readers to discuss in detail the themes our authors touch on every issue.

The first thread is on Tim Groves latest History Bytes column and the concept of radical trust. Tim asks: Does user-generated content fit into your mission? Should it? Is it important?

Go to this link to learn more.

Nanakuli High School Goes High-Tech (Star Advertiser)

Incoming Nanakuli High School freshmen yesterday test-drove new laptops they will use over the coming year as part of an initiative to turn around low-performing schools.

The one-to-one laptop program is an integral part of the national New Tech Network model, which is being used or has been adopted at 62 schools around the country, including Nanakuli and Waianae high schools this year.

The model emphasizes project-based learning and problem-solving and trains teachers to be "facilitators" who guide students in finding answers, rather than telling them what they need to know. New Tech has shown success in improving everything from attendance to test scores.

For the full story go to this Honolulu Star Advertiser link.

Monday, July 12, 2010

History Blogs: Resources and Learning Tools

Needless to say, the Internet provides creative and exciting opportunities for history educators. One of the tools that has grown in popularity is blogging.

In June I created such a blog for my research on my late-father's service with the 1st Marine Division in North China 1945-47. Go to this link to view and its accompanying YouTube channel at this link. For me this has been an enjoyable experience, one that I recommend to historians, educators, history students and history buffs.

For an assortment of history blogs go to this link entitled '100 Awesome Blogs for History Junkies.'

Interested in starting a history blog? Setting one up is not hard!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Declaration of Independence with Morgan Freeman

We feature this web site on the Declaration of Independence that includes hyperlinks of the signers to their biographies. We think many will find this instructive.

In addition, we post a link to this YouTube video featuring a reading of the Declaration of Independence with a short introduction by Morgan Freeman.

Celebrating Independence: My Country's Flag of Stars (Honolulu, 1845)

My Country’s Flag of Stars, by a sailor on a U.S. Man-of-War

The Friend: October 15, 1845; page 1
Honolulu, Hawaii

I’ve roamed full many a length’ned mile,

Upon the stormy seas-

I’ve seen some twenty banners float,

Full proudly on the breeze.

That standard too, Great Britain’s pride,

The boast of England’s tars,

Yet none could thrill my heart like thee,

My country’s Flag of Stars.

Brazil’s gay flag of gorgeous dyes,

The honor of old Spain-

E’en Gallia’s bunting as it flies,

Is not undimm’d by strain.

Their luster has been silenc’d oft,

At home by deadly jars;

But thy bright azure field is pure,

My country’s Flag of Stars.

In many a foreign port, I’ve seen

The ships of half the world,

To celebrate some gala day,

Their bunting all unfurl’d.

With eager heart I’ve glanced my eye,

Along their tap’ring spars,

Until my gaze was fixed on thee,

My country’s Flag of Stars.

And as thy stripes and azure field,

Burst on my eager sight,

My heart beat warm, my bosom thrill’d

With unalloy’d delight,

I hail’d thee as the cynosure,

Of true Columbian tars,

Thou banner of the brave and free,

My country’s Flag of Stars.

Oh! where’s the heart possessing but

One mite of freedom’s zeal,

That does not –hazing on thy folds,

A patriot’s spirit feel,

What vet’ran too, as he looks down

Upon his dear bought scars,

That does not hail thee with delight,

My country’s Flag of Stars.