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History

Coding and US Security

If you’re a history teacher, here’s a great tie-in between history and Hour of Code:

977177navajo1

During WWI, the Choctaw language had been used to transmit U.S. military messages. With this thought in mind, Philip Johnston, the son of a missionary grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke the Diné tongue fluently, brought the suggestion of a similar code to General Clayton Vogel early in 1942. The Diné language has no alphabet, uses no symbols and one sound may hold an entire concept. The idea was tested and proved to be faster and more reliable than the mechanized methods. The language has more verbs than nouns, that helps to move the sentences along and makes it far more difficult for outsiders to learn – making it the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

platoon

The 382nd Platoon, USMC

The original class, the 382d Platoon, Navajo Communication Specialists, USMC, developed their code at Camp Pendleton. Once a unit of code talkers were trained, they were put on Marine rosters around the Pacific Theater. Even under severe combat conditions, they remained the living codes, since nothing was ever written down. During the first 48 hours of Iwo Jima, 800 transmissions were coded. These few men became warriors in their own right during some of the worst battles of the war.

Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaw Code Talkers

Some examples of the English word/ Navajo sound/ literal translation:

Alaska………. Beh-hga……….. with winter
America……….Ne-he-mah……… our mother
Britain……….Toh-ta………… between waters
Australia……..Cha-yes-desi…….rolled hat
China…………Ceh-yehs-besi……braided hair
France………..Da-gha-hi……….beard

Navajo code talkers

The existence of the code talkers and their accomplishments would remain top secret according to the U.S. government and use their expertise in the Korean War. Unfortunately, this resulted in many of the men not receiving the recognition they deserved. I was very lucky to have grown up knowing their story thanks to Smitty, my father.

President Ronald Reagan designated 14 August as National Code Talkers Day in 1982.

Categories: History | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

We Remember… 9/11

America, we love you.

Categories: History, News | 2 Comments

Bring an expert to your classroom for Black History Month

One of my go-to sources for classroom speakers is Nepris. Not only do experts come to your class, but they interact with students and take their questions (see my review of Nepris). Here’s a great free event available for February’s Black History Month:

African presidential candidatesMeet an Expert on the History of African American Presidential Candidates

Students can meet and talk with an expert in American history during a free virtual chat on The History of African American Presidential Candidates hosted by Nepris on Friday, February 17 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Go to Nepris to sign up for free.

For 40 minutes, Matthew Drayton, a decorated combat veteran turned motivational speaker and author, will talk with students about prominent African Americans who have run for the nation’s highest executive office. Students will learn about history and politics and be able to ask questions.

Nepris brings this virtual chat and thousands of others to classrooms. Teachers can view archived sessions for free and participate in a limited number of free “industry offered” chats on topics from STEM to the Arts. Additional industry chats being offered include Drones and Facetime on March 16. Learn more at nepris.com/industry/talks.

More on virtual field trips:

16 Great Virtual Field Trips

9 Field Trips Free to Students

(more…)

Categories: History, News | Leave a comment

Where did Christmas Come From?

Watch this video and come away educated:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbUVKXdu4lQ&w=560&h=315]

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Categories: History, Holidays | Tags: | 2 Comments

We Remember… 9/11

America, we love you.

Categories: History, News | 2 Comments

2 Martin Luther King Day Lesson Plans

5th grade mlk nanoogo cover

I have two lesson plans, both aligned with Common Core, to help you plan Martin Luther King Day.

4th grade

Students interpret the words of Dr Martin Luther King in their own words in a visual organizer. Great project that gets students thinking about the impact of words on history. Common Core aligned. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.

5th grade

Students research events leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King’s impact on American history and share them with an Event Chain organized visually, including pictures and thought bubbles. Aligned with Common Core. 7-page booklet includes a sample, step-by-step projects, a rubric for assessment, and additional resources to enrich teaching.

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Categories: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Freebies/Discounts, History | 2 Comments

Where’d Christmas Come From?

Watch this video and come away educated:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbUVKXdu4lQ&w=560&h=315]

(more…)

Categories: History, Holidays | Tags: | Leave a comment

Hour of Code: Build Websites

As a tech teacher, I see a lot of student websites. I’m always impressed with the effort, the tenacity, and often the skill, but most require ‘some additional work’ to be published.

And then I got an email from Stephen Byrne. In his quest to better learn history, he blended it with his love of of programming and built a website. It’s called History for Kids. It is exceptional, not only for its clean, intuitive presentation, but it’s age-appropriate language. If your students struggle finding research websites that use words at their grade level, suggest they build their own site like Stephen did:

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31 Sites on American History

historyThis is for both younger and older students so check these out–pick the ones that work for you:

  1. America’s Story
  2. America–Colonies
  3. American Indians
  4. Civil War I video
  5. Civil War II video
  6. Civil War—reconstruction—video
  7. Colonial America–life
  8. Growth of the USA
  9. Historic speeches
  10. Jamestown Adventure Game
  11. Mt. Vernon
  12. Native American Conflicts
  13. Oregon Trail—all about 
  14. Oregon Trail—virtual tour
  15. Patriot Spy–Deliver a covert message to Paul Revere
  16. Picturing America
  17. RR—inventing
  18. Timelines
  19. Transcontinental Railroad video
  20. Underground Railroad
  21. US History Map Game
  22. USA Games

(more…)

Categories: History, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

#54: Sponge Activities in History

Six edutainment websites to be visited in spare time in the classroom (as with all sponges). Each deals with history and can be enjoyed with only a few minutes of time

lesson plans

–from 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom. (more…)

Categories: Freebies/Discounts, History, Lesson plans | Tags: | Leave a comment