J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Online Schoolwork from the Gilder Lehrman Institute

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has announced a series of free online courses for elementary, middle, and high school students.

The institute has a teacher-training program and a big collection of documents, and these classes draw on both those resources. The website explains:
Master Teachers will present lessons anchored in primary source documents, many from the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s collection of more than 70,000 American history artifacts. The goal is to engage students and excite them about history so that they leave each lesson more knowledgeable about a new idea, theme, document, or pivotal moment in history.
The institute also has a close connection with the Broadway musical Hamilton and its educational outreach program. Which explains the heavy Hamilton theme in the course titles.

For instance, there’s “Spotlight on Hamilton’s World: Documents from the Founding Era.” It proposes to look each week at ”an important document from the Founding Era that has influenced our government, culture, and economy,” starting Tuesday, 6 October. The events in the spotlight are:
Alexander Hamilton himself was involved in only one of those events, of course. Near as I can tell, he spent only a few days in Massachusetts in his lifetime.

The course “Spotlight on Hamilton’s World: People from the Founding Era,” starting Tuesday, 3 November, gets a little more into Hamilton’s world by looking at:
Hamilton did know the Adamses and the Knoxes, and got along with at least one of them.

As you see, there’s a heavy Massachusetts tilt to these particular courses, Hamilton or not, so families that follow Boston 1775 might find them interesting.

Other free Gilder Lehrman courses this fall will cover woman suffrage, voting rights, and preparing for the A.P. United States History exam.

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