Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Great Virginia Triumvirate; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson & James Madison

I love the University of Virginia Press.  And I think they love me.  They send me the best books.  And what's great about the University of Virginia Press is the fact that their books are Virginia-centric.  This means, you'll find a lot of books on Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et. al.

The most recent of these books is entitled, The Great Virginia Triumvirate: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson & James Madison, In the Eyes of Their Contemporaries.

With the help of these three men, Virginia played an important role in the fight for independence.  And as one of the largest and wealthiest of the colonies, they played an equally important role in helping to set up the new republic.  This is demonstrated with the number of Virginians who played key roles in guiding the fledgling nation. 

Washington as Commander in Chief and Army General, Thomas Jefferson as a statesman and scholar and James Madison as the "Father of Our Constitution".  

Author John Kaminski, who's Founders on the Founders is an excellent glimpse into the lives of our forefathers through personal quotes from journals and writings.  His knack for using candid dialogue and letters to bring personality to the founders is once again brought back in The Great Virginia Triumvirate.

This is a series of biographical portraits that bring these three men to life through the words of these three Virginians themselves.

Take for example the idea that Jefferson once told John Adams that he had not written about his life or a history of his time because he found his correspondence to be more direct and honest.  This in turn would provide a more accurate history of the time. 

Taken from letters, speeches, diaries and memoirs, the quotations and vignettes bring to life the personalities behind the public personae of these great men.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

US Presidents Race

Those that have been reading this blog know that I'm a baseball fan. Much more than a baseball fan, I've been a die-hard Phillies' fan my entire life. As a kid I had some very lean years in the mid-80s. Lately, as you may well know, the Phillies have made up for many of those last place finishes. The city has really embraced this team.

Tonight the Phillies are playing the Washington Nationals.

I think it's worth mentioning that the Nationals have a pretty cool tradition at their home games that has great historical significance.

Much like a minor league baseball stunt, to keep the fans entertained between innings, there is a Presidential race. Only this race involves four mascots representing the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.

Every game, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt compete. The race originated as a scoreboard graphic, but has morphed into the "live-action" race pictured above.

There is a running joke that Teddy Roosevelt never wins. He'll often become distracted, or become disqualified for numerous reasons.

For more information about the race, you can read more at wikipedia:

By the way, the Phillies are currently winning 6-3 in the 7th.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

The American Association of School Librarians has compiled a list of some very useful websites.

The "Top 25" sites foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. All of the websites are free, Web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.

Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

I've used several of these.... I can speak for the power of VoiceThread, Wordle and Wikispaces.

Another great site not to make the list is Wallwisher.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

US History in Video - Free Access Through April

No agenda here... just a link to some Free US History videos.

With over 1,000 hours and 4,000 titles, American History in Video is the largest and richest collection of video available online for the study of American history.

Using commercial and governmental newsreels, archival and public footage and important documentaries, it's a great collection that allows students and researchers to analyze historical events.

And the best part is that access to all of this is FREE until April 30.

So gather what you can and plan your lesson plans accordingly as not to miss out on this opportunity. It's always good for kids to see news casts and footage from actual events, instead of having to read about it.