Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NECC 2005

NECC 2005 Attendees | At a Glance

If you can't attend, this is a great way to be part of the virtual NECC community. The first session I went to was about blogs and was a great start.

There are also some great handouts and web sites listed throughout the NECC web site.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Great Conversation over at New Kid on the Hallway

New Kid on the Hallway: "To tackle the second paragraph first: yes, some students treat e-mail this way and expect faculty to be on-call 24-7. That's certainly true. However, it's easy enough to tell students in your syllabus that you are only online between the hours of (fill in whatever you prefer). Or to specify that you don't guarantee immediate turnaround; that you'll answer e-mails within 48 hours but not necessarily earlier. Or whatever. To say that because students don't always know how to use this technology appropriately, we should get rid of it, is patently absurd.

The question of 'discouraging personal contact with students'.... I also disagree with this, intensely. First, the majority of e-mails I receive are from students who want to set up a time to meet with me, face-to-face. Therefore, e-mail helps facilitate personal contact, not discourage it. Second, I am quite sure that there are students out there who are too shy or intimidated to come see me, one-on-one. E-mail gives them the chance to ask me individual questions without having to deal with me face-to-face if they don't want to. In the absence of e-mail, I don't think they'd come see me in my office; I don't think they'd ask their questions at all."

Saturday morning farmers' market

There were lots of fresh berries at the farmers' market this morning: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. There was quite the crowd at my favorite stand and it's funny to watch the older women assume that they are next when there are 5 other people in front of them. Or, at the very least, let the farmer know that their prices are high but still continue to stand there. I'm not really sure that asking the price and being rude about it is going to change it - esp. with so many other people in line ahead of them. But it's fun to get fresh fruit and watch people!

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Cranky Professor: Virginia drops PRAXIS I requirement for teachers

The Cranky Professor: Virginia drops PRAXIS I requirement for teachers: "Virginia drops PRAXIS I requirement for teachers

This Washington Post story talks about the changing requirements for teachers in Virginia -- including dropping a math requirement for non-math teachers.

What's not at all clear from the article is what the 'Instead, they will have to pass a new 'literacy and communications skills' exam that will be introduced in January' is. Will it be a product of the ETS people, like Praxis? Will it be home-grown, in which case I dread the first 3 or 4 years of results and controversies.

I took the Praxis I a long time ago, by the way, and it really IS at the 8th-10th grade level (I was half-heartedly pursuing certification to teach high school Latin). If people can't pass it (the Post's anecdote has a PE teacher passing on her 6th attempt) they probably aren't capable of figuring their own grades."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Teachers Working Hard in the National Archives in Kansas City

Here's a few of my "projects" that came out of teacher discussions on Monday and Tuesday via the follow-up email I sent them:

We were talking about slave bill of sales today and here is some information I found online tonight that will provide more context and historical background as well as numerous other primary sources.

Bill of Sale (from MA) – Slave

Missouri State Archives – Teaching with Documents – Bill of Sale
note the link to download the document

Estate Bill of Sale (includes slaves) – Missouri State Archives
note the link to download the document

Bill of Sale – Rose, MO
This is probably from a family genealogist

African Americans in Missouri
lots of info on slavery in Missouri – background looks good; genealogy site

Slave Compensation Cases
“This information was found at the National Archives - Central Plains Regional Branch in Kansas City, MO. What follows are excerpts of slave compensation cases from Record Group (RG) 21, Records of the U.S. District Court - Kansas. Under the provisions of section 24, Acts of Congress of 24 February, 1864, and 28 July, 1866, slaveholders in States not in rebellion could be compensated by the U.S. Government for slaves who enlisted in the Union Army. The claims do not necessarily contain standardized information. Original cases contain a variety of documentation, including bills of sale, copies of wills, army surgeons records and many other valuable and interesting items.”

This is a GREAT DESCRIPTION of what you would find there.

Slavery in Missouri
Another genealogy site but looks like some good info

Biographical Notes – Emancipated Slave (Missouri)
more good genealogy stuff – this has a good story and illustrates how the documents tell the story

Go to http://www.kansasterritorialonline.org and search for slave bill of slave and you will get some hits

Slavery: Brooklyn in the Civil War
LOTS Of great primary sources – not just a Brooklyn site!!

Slavery in Missouri, 1804-1865
reprint of 3 chapters of a 1914 book on Missouri slavery

>From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Timeline of African-American History
>From Library of Congress American Memory

The African-American Presence in Kansas City, Kansas
good primary sources from the KCK public library, includes a bill of sale

Gleaning Information from Slave Schedules
How to find and use slavery information from genealogy records

One teacher also asked about the Pratt Whitney info I brought up online earlier this week at Greenbush. You will find lots of civil rights info if you go into ARC (www.archives.gov) and go the yellow search button, click on digital copies, click on Kansas City, and then put Pratt Whitney in the search engine. All kinds of useful documents appear

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sunday evening

I spent some time unwinding in the yard - including a stint under the back deck where a bunch of sticker bushes have decided to take up residence. I have fallen behind in general over the last 2 to 3 years and it will probably take that long to catch up. the eternal question is why is the stuff that you want to grow difficult to growth and other things (like weeds and thorn bushes) spread like wildfire . . ..

I read somewhere that pulling weeds can be as good as lifting weights as far as keeping your bones strong. Let's hope that is true.

I'm off to Kansas City tomorrow to work with the teachers at the National Archives for four days. This is the first time that most of this group has been there so I will also be learning a lot by watching.

I need about two weeks at the house with nothing to get ready for and then maybe I will be caught up. But I'll just keep plugging away. I'm going to enjoy these teacher workshops to the fullest.

And, after this week, it's time to go to this conference for the first time.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Great week with teachers

We started the first summer institute (we met most of the teachers last February at our initial meeting) and it was great and went amazingly fast. I am the one learning a whole bunch. Next week we head up to the National Archives in Kansas City to do some hands-on work with primary sources.

We were able to get in all the Teaching American History grants. They review them in late July.

Meanwhile, back to class prep and taking some downtime (it is a weekend, after all)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday morning

The sun is out and at least I can look outside from my computer desk as I finish up the last two Teaching American History grants. Am anxious for our guest speaker for one of our current grants to arrive this afternoon. He begins the day tomorrow by talking about violence in Kansas. Should definitely be an interesting start.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the importance of splitter switches

Part of my not posting much this week has not only been working on grants but also the fact that my cable internet access has been intermitment. The long story short is that I had an excellent tech guy from Cox come out today and he diagnosed that an outside splitter switch had gone bad. I was downloading but not uploading. So, not only do I have my badly-needed-to-write grants and transfer files internet, it is MUCH faster. I thought it had slowed down but didn't realize how much -esp. since Cox now offers a faster business option - I just thought I had lost out. But it is so, so nice to get web pages to fly onto the screen instead of load portion by portion. The world is good again (plus I can get my work done much faster!)!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

AXE - Special Collections Department

Randy Roberts, the archivist here, is doing a great presentation on Using Primary Sources in the Classroom for my Teaching with Primary Sources class. Lots of great stuff!

AXE - Special Collections Department: "The Special Collections and Archives area contains material pertaining primarily to Kansas and Pittsburg State University. Its specialty is printed materials from Southeast Kansas, its culture and inhabitants, and the correspondence, libraries, business files and memorabilia of significant Southeast Kansans. All printed items are listed in the Library catalog. Photographs, correspondence, manuscripts, and other non-print materials are cataloged in the Special Collections Reading room.
The largest of the Special Collections is that of E. Haldeman-Julius, Girard publisher of the Big and Little Blue Books, a 'University in Print' that sold for five cents per title. In addition to the publisher's books, newspapers, and magazines, the collection contains the publisher's private library, correspondence and publishing records.
Closely related is the J.A. Wayland Collection, consisting of correspondence, photographs, and publications of the Appeal to Reason, the most widely circulated Socialist newspaper in America. An important component is correspondence relating to the publication of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, commissioned by the Girard, Kansas, propaganda organ.
A third major collection is that of Dr. Eva Jessye, a native of Coffeyville, the choral director of such operas as Four Saints in Three Acts (Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein), and Porgy and Bess (the Gershwins). In addition to her personal correspondence and library, the Eva Jessye Collection includes music, manuscripts, and materials relating to Afro-American history.
Over fifty Collections focus on the work and correspondence of personalities of Kansas (especially Southeast Kansas), Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
A subdivision of Special Collections is the Kansas Collection, a collection of town and county histories, "

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Grocery Store Wars | Join the Organic Rebellion

Grocery Store Wars | Join the Organic Rebellion

I remember how big a deal it was to go with my brother in the 1970s to go see the first Star Wars. We were on vacation and had to find a theater to go see it. It was great - esp. with a brother just a few years younger who loved that type of stuff.

This is an interesting play by the organic world and I'll probably use it as a stress relief break with teachers during summer workshops.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Using blogs in history

This post came across on the H-Net discussion list - H-West - and demonstrates a novel and exciting way of using blogs for historical study. (This post was reposted here with permission of the author.)

From: "Michael Edmonds"
Date: 6/2/2005 6:07:24 AM
Subject: Marquette-Joliet blog

Here at the Wisconsin Historical Society, we're using Movable Type to
blog historic diaries: on or about the same date as the author was
writing, we put out the diary entry. Last year we ran Sgt. Charles
Floyd's diary of the opening months of the Lewis & Clark expedition and
this year we're streaming ... so to speak... Fr. Jacques Marquette's
journal of his 1673 trip down the Mississippi with Louis Joliet. It's
hard to know how many people read them, since they can be delivered by
RSS feed to Web pages where many additional readers, who never visit our
site, can follow them.

As Mary Scrivener said, blogging software is nice for these historical
materials for several reasons. It gets indexed by major search engines,
so people may come across it serendipitously. It allows us to post the
text and to comment on it at the same time, as a traditional editor
would. It also allows us to parse the journals out over several months
of prepared entries, in advance, so that each day we only need to
proof-read and publish the entry; little work's involved once the text
is all laid out in Movable Type.

Most importantly, it may be putting primary sources out to casual
students of history - - say, people who live along the route and start
the day with a visit to their My Yahoo! page - - who would never travel
to a library to read them. A challenge we face in reaching audiences
this way is simply letting people know that the blogs exist [so feel
free to forward this note to anyone you know in the Mississippi Valley
;-) ]

You can see the Floyd and Marquette blogs at

If you have any questions, the "Email Us" link on any page of them comes
directly to my inbox.

I, too, would like to learn of people using blogging software as a way
to do history, espcially if you've attempted to figure out whether or
not you're successfully reaching any specific target audience.


Michael Edmonds

Deputy Director,
Library-Archives Division
Wisconsin Historical Society
miedmonds at whs dot wisc dot edu

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Defining Teacher Quality

Welcome to Highered Intelligence!: "
The biggest problem, of course, is precisely what Cochran-Smith eventually pointed out: the above relies on independent empirical analysis to determine what makes good teaching. You can point to the good teachers, but the theory of IF A THEN G doesn't tell you anything specific about what you need to do to be a good teacher. It's not focused on the substance of good teaching."

Great post on teacher quality. I especially struggle with how to evaluate pre-service teachers during student teaching when they are just one of the many variables in the classroom in addition to the more important challenge of their just really beginning to leran to teach.

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