This site contains resource pages developed for Five Colleges/ Springfield Public Schools TAH Professional Development seminars held on the campus of Smith College in July 2012, December 2012, and June 2013 and at Duggan Middle School in August 2013. The goal of each session is to inspire you to use "uncoverage" rather than "coverage" to help students understand American history and culture. My area of specialty is the 20th century, and in general the site is organized in the right-hand sidebar by decade and topic with tools, sources, and media to help you enrich your teaching and learning. Our workshops and explorations are oriented around inquiry, problem-solving, historical reading, and strengthening the skills of historical thinking, and model how to enrich history learning through deep engagement with multimedia primary sources like photographs, film, popular songs, radio broadcasts, art, journalism, and archival manuscripts.

Springfield MA Public Schools - PD Days, August 19-20, 2013

History Pedagogy as Critical Literacy

This 2-day seminar workshop covers the basics of historical thinking as a pedagogical approach to US history in the high school classroom and introduces participants to some of the skills, concepts and resources for integrating this approach into their teaching and aligning it with their own educational goals.

Click here to jump to the workshop's main resource page

Springfield MA Public Schools - TAH Summer Institute, June 24-28, 2013

Many New Americas: Remembering and Writing the Recent Past


There is both promise and peril in working with history of the recent past. Promise: it is relevant and immediate to our students' lives, there are abundant sources, and it is within living memory (if not of our students themselves, then of people who are easily available to them). Peril: there are fewer coherent "master narratives" to guide us, it is still unfolding and so our interpretations may have to be revised, and the methodology has to adapt to an overabundance of often-contradictory sources. History (that is to say, the arguments we engage in about the past) has itself become a source of polarization and controversy in America's highly charged atmosphere, with some envisioning a far more inclusive (but then, far messier) version of the past, and others determined to celebrate a more traditional perspective of America's heritage in order to strengthen a common sense of national purpose. The recent past, like the present, seems riven with conflicts: diversity v. assimilation; struggles over class, race, gender, and religion; the loss of political consensus; a fragmented media landscape and powerfully disruptive technologies; involvement in international wars; domestic terrorism v. national security; and an increasingly tattered American dream. Yet if students never encounter the recent past in their history classes, they cannot fully understand the world they are poised to enter or envision how they might make a difference within it. Bringing history "up to the present" is a constant wrestle in my own teaching, and I am well aware that there are many structural obstacles to getting there in K-12 classrooms, not least the vast and growing amount of history content that must already be "covered." Let us hope this week shows us how to achieve some of the promise without falling prey to the peril.

Throughout the week, we'll explore history content and learning tools to help ourselves and our students make sense of America after the 1960s - or in other words, in more or less our own lifetimes. I've chosen some core themes to guide our inquiry: immigration/diversity, religion, and globalization. And I look forward to learning with you and from you during our time together.

The readings are here with a list of when to read what - most are available as PDFs, just right-click on the link and select "Save As..." to download to your own computer. Here's a resource page of links from the week, plus resource pages for our two case studies ("postholes" on busing and interpreting the end of the Vietnam conflict).

Primary Source Analysis Tools:
(Springfield's Own)
(Wisconsin Historical Society)
(Library of Congress)
Irvine (the 6 C's)

Thanks once again for inviting me to be part of your summer!

For information on the 2012 workshops, click here

Tona Hangen
Worcester State University