23rd

Civil War Alternate Reality Game in May!

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For teachers and students throughout the world: There will be an educational Civil War “alternate reality” game beginning May 15th, 2011, hosted by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.

The game, titled “The Jewel of the Valleys,” is being run in support of the fundraiser “In Their Footsteps: On the March in Pennsylvania,” which benefits the education department of the Museum. Jewel_of_the_Valleys copy

The game will run the length of the fundraiser, in which the brave museum curator, Brett Kelley, will again choose to live the life of a Civil War soldier for two weeks. Last year, Brett chose to live outdoors as a Union soldier (and it coincided with two of the nastiest northeastern blizzards) last February. This year, Brett will be traveling as a Confederate soldier by foot from Fredericksburg, VA to Harrisburg.

The game will kick off with a “QR code” and web address being sent to educators and students around the country. The website will detail a dark and mysterious puzzle to be solved through the use of Civil War era communication technologies and authentic Civil War documents in the Museum’s archives.

Students may work collaboratively are on their own to follow the mystery. TheIMG_0658 ultimate objective of the game is to solve the mystery of “The Jewel of the Valleys.” The winner(s) of the game will be announced as Brett reaches the end of his journey- the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

How can teachers get their students involved? Make contact by following the National Civil War Museum on Facebook or on Twitter (@NCWM), follow Brett Kelley on Twitter (@cwsoldier24_7), or subscribe to the student-created and run blog featuring news of Brett’s journey at On The March.

This blog will also hail the beginning of the game, and it has been rumored that the mysterious force behind the “Jewel of the Valleys” game may even have social media accounts for students to follow!

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Mar 23rd by admin Continue Reading
19th

Civil War “Survivorman” Benefits Museum

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Brett Kelley, Curator at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA will be deducting two weeks from his vacation time, and be off from February 6th to the 20th. He’s not, however, really vacationing.

In the interest of raising funds for the education department of the museum, specifically for helping school districts pay for field trips to the museum and to pay for “virtual” electronic field trips for K12 students, Brett will be living the life of a Civil War picket soldier for the duration of his vacation time. He’ll be living in the large (heavily exposed) backyard of the impressive museum, living on rations, wearing the clothes, eating the hardtack, living the life.

In order to duplicate the very challenging schedule and responsibilities of a picket soldier, he’ll be spending several days a week on picket duty (similar to “watch” in the Navy). He’ll also be carrying out several ten mile marches to raise awareness of the Museum, and building a small winter quarters and wooden defenses.

My students and I quickly saw the tremendous social media potential of this event (Survivorman + Man vs. Wild + Prairie House) and organized ourselves, with the help of the Museum, into a social media platoon.

Brett will be keeping a handwritten journal (with sketches) of his experiences, interns at the Museum will be snapping photos, and making videos. All of this will presented to the world through daily updates on a WordPress blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on YouTube. All of these accounts will be linked.

So, through subscribing to our blog:  Civil War Soldier 24/7, teachers and students will be able to follow his experiences from day to day. On Twitter, you can show your support by following @cwsoldier24_7 (we’ll follow you back!). On Facebook, you can friend Brett Kelley, and become a fan of the National Civil War Museum. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, but all of the media will be aggregated on our blog page. Each account is in the design phase for my students, so each account page should get prettier as we approach Brett’s vacation. Please spread the word!

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Jan 19th by admin Continue Reading
12th

Sports History is American History

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Here’s a high-interest, “no tech” freebie.

One of the ways in which history teachers can emphasize the relevance of popular culture in the study of history is to drum up a discussion about how localities represent themselves through mottoes, symbols, and especially..mascots!

We are all aware of some of the conflicts over the past decade or so over professional, collegiate, and even school district mascots..the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves “tomahawk chop” (stolen from Florida State?), the Fighting Irish, etc.

How are some mascot choices a result of a community’s view of their own history? When Baltimore (relatively near me) was naming their football team (long after the loss of the Colts) their choices included.. the Ravens (the winner, of course), from Edgar Allen Poe, buried in Baltimore, and the Bombers, based on the bomber aircraft factories in the Baltimore area during World War II. In each case, a sense of history was part of the discussion.

To further the discussion, and enlighten students on the source of many mascot names, I created this simple worksheet. I offer it for your use, change it any way you like. In fact, I’m not a dedicated sports fan, and I realize that a few teams mentioned in the worksheet are now defunct/renamed/in new cities.

Enjoy!

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Mar 12th by admin Continue Reading