New Deal for Texas Parks - interactive exhibit from TPWD

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has developed an interactive exhibit on the New Deal for Texas Parks:
A New Deal for Texas Parks, main page.
It's self-description begins:
"Welcome to a New Deal for Texas Parks - an online exhibit and education center for teachers and students of Texas history, made possible in part through the generous support of Humanities Texas' Linden Heck Howell Texas History Grant. Humanities Texas is a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Flip through the pages of the scrapbook to explore how individuals, communities and landscapes in Texas were impacted by the New Deal Era. Discover how the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of the state parks we enjoy today. Explore a variety of primary source documents such as photographs, oral histories, letters and music that help tell this American story through the eyes of Texas."  Read more at
Open the Table of Contents or select a theme.  Click on a page's corner and turn the page.  The "My Keepsake" pdf on the left of each section's first page offers a type of lesson plan.


Pecos Bill goes international via radio broadcast

Pecos Bill By Steven Kellogg Illustrated by Laura Robb       An international revival of Pecos Bill is accorded by its inclusion in the Voice of America's Special English series.  The story is at the posting and an audio version is as well.  The comments on the posting come from all over the globe demonstrating the story's continued universal appeal of Edward O'Rielly's 1920's popularization of Bill and Slue-Foot Sue.
See a summary of a 7-volume series at http://www.americanfolklore.net/pecosbill.html

Last Night I San to the Monster - Saenz

     The School Library Journal has made its selections for best books of 2009, and a Texas publisher's title in included.

"SÁENZ, Benjamin Alire. Last Night I Sang to the Monster. Cinco Puntos. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-933693-58-3.
Gr 9 Up–Eighteen-year-old alcoholic Zach doesn't know how he got to rehab, but with the steadfast support of his therapist and his fatherly roommate, he gradually allows horrific memories to emerge. This is a wrenching and inspiring portrayal of loss, love, and the process of recovery."

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Kelly

The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe School Library Journal has selected its best books of 2009 and a piece of Texana is among the best.  SLJ briefly cites the title

"KELLY, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Holt.Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8050-8841-0.
Gr 5-8–During the long, hot Texas summer and fall of 1899, a girl with six brothers and a disdain for the domestic arts hones her observational skills with the help of her unconventional naturalist granddaddy and a copy of Mr. Charles Darwin's Origin of Species."

Hypocricsy of Education (in Texas) - Kearby

Texas author for young readers offers his opinion on Texas education testing



Ron Stone Academy for the Teaching of Texas History

University of Houston New Release
Texas History Academy links late Ron Stone, UHFoundation Gift Launches New Resource for Texas History Teachers
It begins:  "June 3, 2009 - Houston - The rugged history of the Lone Star State is revealed in landmarks, cities and tales.  Now, a new resource at the University of Houston Center for Public History helps Texas teachers harness that rich history for the classroom.

The University of Houston Center for Public History has announced a $75,000 gift from the Ron Stone Foundation to begin the Ron Stone Academy for the Teaching of Texas History. The gift will be matched by a $75, 000 contribution by the university."
For more information about The Ron Stone Foundation, visit http://ronstonefoundation.org/.


General Land Office - Teachers Guide

Teachers Guide:

Three Centuries on the Land: The Archives of the Texas General Land Office (The Story of Texas is told through the history of its public lands).

Table of Contents


History of the

Texas General Land Office.............................................4


of Land Grants in Texas................................................10

Mineral Files..................................................................15

Digital Preservation Project............................................16

The Campaign to Save Texas History…………………17

Appendix A

Commissioners of the General Land Office....................18

Appendix B

Sources for Further Reading..........................................19
This 20-page document is available online at


Connect 2 Texas web site

Self-described as "

Welcome to the
Connect2Texas web site!

The purpose of this site is to promote programs offered by interactive videoconferencing providers in the State of Texas. Click here to see the list of providers

TEACHERS: Not sure what to expect with a content program? Click here to see a sample program from Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, or click here for a brief overview of Connect2Texas (these files will play in Windows MediaPlayer).

An interesting development worth checking out .

Houston Chronicle's Today in Texas History

    The Houston Chronicle blog Texas on the Potomac for last several months has been rather steady in adding 2, 3, or 4 entries a week to their Today in Texas History postings.  Enough to keep regular tabs on, good reading.  I've added it to my Yahoo homepage.  You may want to try it.

Quarter Horse - Official Texas State Horse

Logan Head, a youngster in Bonham, led the posse that established the Quarter Horse (Steel Dust and all that) as the official Texas state horse.  Logan's effort has been noted elsewhere, but here's the anticipatory news as reported in New Zealand.  Good going Logan!
The American Quarter Horse Association is headdquartered in Amarillo, of course.  Logan is a Youth member.
While eating a supper of the official state dish CHILI, seasoned by the official state peppers JALAPENO and CHILTIPEN official state vegetable SWEET ONION and the official state small mammal the ARMADILLO and the official large mammal the LONGHORN, prepared in the official state cooking implement the DUTCH OVEN, cowboys and cowgirls, dressed in their offiicial fabric COTTON shirts and blouses, can tether their quarterhorses to the offical state vehicle the CHUCKWAGON which is always among a field of the state flower the BLUEBONNETS and the official grass GAMMA and the official state plant the PRICKLEY PEAR CACTUS and the official native shrub the PURPLE SAGE. If the chili is quite ready, sing the official song TEXAS OUR TEXAS and snack on the official snacks TORTILLA CHIPS and SALSA. Along with the chili, you'll want the official state bread PAN DE CAMPO.  Afterwards enjoy some official state dessert STEUDEL and SOPAIPILLA and the official health nut the PECAN. Relax under the official tree the PECAN, listen to the offiicial bird the MOCKINGBIRD and the official musical instrument the GUITAR supply music for the official folk dance the SQUARE DANCE, and watch your official dog the BLUE LACY snap at the official insect the MONARCH BUTTERLY, root around the gamma for the official reptile the HORNED TOAD and gaze in puzzle at the official flying mammal the MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BAT.  Non-dancers can chat about the official sport the RODEO, their last sighting of the official fish the GUADALUPE BASS, whether a saddle blanket can be made from the official tartan the BLUEBONNET TARTAN and whether one prefers our current state artist, historian, or poet laureate.

Tejanos in Texas History

Teachers may wish to consult the Tejana Pundit regarding profiles in Tejano history.
The Pundit also has a good list of Tejano blogs and self-describes her blog as "

"It's all about finding strength from within. It's about learning from the past, persevering in the present and having the ganas, or desire, to flourish in the future. I'm an American, but I'm also Indigenous, Mexican, French and German and that's a wonderful thing. One can't be anything if one doesnt know who they are. For centuries people have been trying to break through barriers and I've gone and continue to go through them as if they dont exist."



Texas Tribune - new newspaper

       The Texas Tribune is described by the Texas Community College Teachers Association:

The TCCTA description begins:  "A new approach to Texas journalism is getting cranked up, and you may want to have a look. It's the Texas Tribune, calling itself a "non-profit, nonpartisan public media organization," with promises to "promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide concern." 
So far it looks like the effort will devote considerable energy to legislative and education issues."
Or go to the new Texas Tribune, headed by the former head of Texas Monthly, Evan Smith
Check its parts
  • Front Page
  • Topics
  • Library
  • Blogs
  • 2010
  • Calendar
  • CampusWire

    Writers include

    Julian Aguilar Brandi Grissom Reeve Hamilton Jim Henson Elise Hu Ben Philpott
    Ross Ramsey Emily Ramshaw Abby Rapoport Daron Shaw Evan Smith
    Morgan Smith Matt Stiles Brian Thevenot

    Parks & Wildlife - Keep Texas Wild - for Educators

    Keep Texas Wild
    The invitation from TP&W reads: "Dear Educators,
    We are excited to present to you "Keep Texas Wild" – a magazine section for kids.
    Our kid-friendly, four-page sections include fun facts presented with a lively writing style, eye-popping photos and a creative, whimsical design. The topics are Texas- specific, with special attention to conservation issues.
    "Keep Texas Wild" includes hands-on activities that cross the spectrum of curriculum (including art, math, science and social studies) and a call to action that encourages students to get outdoors and get involved."
    Special issues of the KTW periodical is accompanied by teacher lesson plans.
    The November issue:

    front page of the November 09 KTW November 2009 – Volume 2 Issue #3 (PDF): Bird Lips!?
    Teacher Lesson Plan 

    Half Broke Horses - Walls

    Half Broke Horses     'Half Broke Horses: A True Lfie Novel,' By Jeannette Walls
    Book Review by Juanita Sherwood
    The review begins:
    ""Half Broke Horses" is listed as a true-life novel. That designation is used because the book is based on experiences of the author's grandmother, which are true, but to tie them altogether, the author has added dialogue and information that she cannot substantiate. Thus, she has designated it as a novel.
    Lily Casey Smith is the main character. She was raised in two locations: west Texas and New Mexico. Her father was a rancher; the ranch she first lived on was very isolated."
    Read more at 

    Semicolon Remembers the Alamo

    A recent (10/13/09) Semicolon's "Texas Tuesday' focused on several young readers' volumes and the Alamo.



    Youth Writing - Sweazy

    Larry D. Sweazy writes "Youth Writing:  Corralling Young Readers: in the October issue of the Western Writers Association's Roundup, an online journal.
    Read it at http://www.westernwriters.org/OCT2009RU.pdf

    This issue also has article on the recently passed Texan, Elmer Kelton, the "Greatest Western Writer."



    H.G. Bissinger Inteview

    Friday Night Lights author H.G. Bissinger is interviewed, partially about last year's banning of FNL in Beaumont schools, in the annual report of the Texas ACLU review of Texas schools' recently banned books.  McCarthy's The Road and Sandra Cisneros' Woman Hollering Creek are on the lists.

    Page 8 reports "Where were the Most Challenges?

    Stephenville, Houston and Irving school districts reported the most challenges for the 2008-2009 school year. Stephenville ISD led the charge this year with 11

    challenges, all of which resulted in bans. Houston ISD and Irving ISD tied for the second most this year with six challenges each. This marks quite the improvement

    for HISD, as the district reported 20 challenges last year. Unfortunately, only one of HISD's six challenges resulted in the book being retained without restriction.

    While Irving ISD experienced just as many challenges, five of the six books challenged were retained without restriction: a sole book was restricted to the reference library. Tying for third was Seguin ISD and Klein ISD, each with four challenges."


    National Banned Books Week September 26 – October 3, 2009

    Luke and the Van Zandt County War - Alter

    Luke and the Van Zandt County War by Judith MacBain Alter tells a  story from a 14-year-old girl's eyes and her brother's, both children of a doctor.  She sees the Ku Klux Klan in East Texas.  There are objections.
    Reviewed at

    Jack Rabbit Moon - Darden

    Jack Rabbit Moon   Jack Rabbit Moon by Dorraine Darden is reviewed at

    11-year-old Marnie lives in SW Texas, and life is, well, just not perfect.


    Juan Seguin lesson plans - Harris

    Charlie Harris, formerly of Brooklyn and now of El Paso, has prepared a several page long background and lesson plan on Juan Seguin, the prominent Tejano whose life wrapped around the 1830's and beyond.  His family had been a pillar of Bexar for some time before.  Try the plan, available via UTEP's Center for History Teaching and Learning, at http://academics.utep.edu/Portals/1719/Publications/Seguin.pdf 


    Why Study History?

    The American Historical Association's website has a useful essay on "Why Study History?" by Peter N. Stearns.  Teachers and parents may wish to read the brief article to help their children find their value and identity within the historical stream.  Among the reasons is that history "harbors beauty."


    Young Adult Texana from Austin Public Library

    The Austin Public Library has a nice variety of lists for their teenage readers.  One of those lists features Texas authors which also includes titles about Texas.



    TEKS Texas History at TEA

    From the Texas Administrative Code, read and learn

    4th grade
    7th grade

    Bullock Texas State History Museum Teaching Aids

    Educators may visit the Bullock Museum for assistance.



    K - 12th Grade Teachers
    Please click here for educator guides, and multimedia resources as well as information on distance learning, professional development, and how to plan your next field trip.

    Home School Teachers
    Please click here for educator guides and multimedia resources, as well as information on upcoming events for home school groups.

    Adult ESL Educators
    Please click here for information about the Museum's new adult ESL program.

    Star Educator E-newsletter
    Click here to subscribe to the Star Educator E-Newsletter.


    LC American Memory Collections

    American Memories is a section of webpage by the Library of Congress.
    Searching for "Texas" one finds 250 pages of items, each page with 15 items, and 250 is the maximum number of pages retrievable.  So Texas likely has far in excess of 5,000 items.  Can so be useful for schools.
    What items?  Photographs, maps, sheet music, architecture, books, laws, just all sorts of things - graphically depicted !!!
    The items are mostly from the LC, but other institutions contribute, e.g., UT-Austin.
    In all probability your town has material there, maybe dozens, maybe hundreds.
    Topics are broad.  American Memories has bluebonnets, armadillos, longhorns, etc.
    You can search by place - lotsa hits for Dallas, Galveston, Houston, and of course my hometown of Marshall, and my places of education Jacksonville, Nacogodoches, Kingsville, and Austin.  You can browse by time period..
    You can also browse by topic


    Texas History (with Primary Sources 1997) Marrou

    ERIC at http://www.eric.ed.gov/ notes this decade old introduction (ERIC 428996).  Somebody should find it interesting to obtain a copy and compare it to opportunities today.
    Texas History:  Teaching with Primary Source Series.  By Judy Marrou and Patti Woolery-Price.  Peterborough, NH:  Cobblestone Publishing Company, 1997. 192 pages.
    It's abstract reads: "Intended to be used by teachers of grades 5 and up, this unit deals with Texas. The unit is built around the seven standards of the new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), an outcome-based social studies curriculum guide for teaching Texas history. The guide includes the following standards: citizenship, economics, geography, history, government, culture, and science/technology. The activities in the unit are designed around the social studies skills outlined in TEKS. Looking at old photographs, letters, maps, and census records students learn the stories of real people. Students are asked to collect information from several sources and to create visual materials that include maps, timelines, and graphs. The focus is on cooperative problem-solving and decision-making as processes for learning. Activities are provided that allow students to practice the following skills and strategies: collecting, organizing, interpreting, and weighing the significance of factual evidence to achieve a systematic document analysis; comparing and contrasting evidence from different sources; identifying factual information and separating it from opinion; identifying points of view and biases; and developing defensible inferences, conclusions, and generalizations from factual evidence practice. (BT) "

    Texas Slavery Project

    Texas Slavery Project Logo
    What is it?  Self-description:  "The Texas Slavery Project takes a deep look at the expansion of slavery in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico in the years between 1837 and 1845. Based at the Virginia Center for Digital History, the project offers a number of digital tools that allow users to explore the changing face of slavery in early Texas ...."
    Need a some statistics, by area within early Texas, need direction to some primary sources (letters, laws, documents, etc.),  need some maps that show distribution of slaves and slave-holders across the years?  This is a notable place to come.
    Torget's self-description: "Andrew J. Torget is the project's founder and director. Andrew is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Texas, where he is completing a book titled Cotton Empire: Slavery, the Texas Borderlands, and the Origins of the Mexican-American War. Andrew received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia while serving as the founding director of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. He is also the co-editor of two books, Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration (University of Virginia Press, 2006) and Two Communities in the Civil War (W. W. Norton, 2007)."
    An excellent website substantially derived from the work at the University of Virginia.
    Does not address slavery among Native Texas tribes or the previous military system or peonage systems among the Spanish and Mexican elite, or the slavery in post-annexation Texas, or the prison labor system conducted by the state in subsequent years..


    Antique Maps of Texas - Charlton


               Antique Maps of Texas, 4th edition.  Compiled by Pete Charlton.  Fort Worth:  Lectric Books, 2009.  325 pages,  index.  1 CD-ROM (not Mac compatible), $20.00 http://www.lectricbooks.com/ 


    Well, pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee because when you get your copy, you'll be looking and clicking for a spell.  This 4th edition of Antique Maps of Texas has over 300 maps.  Yessireebob.  


    CONTENTS:  And its arranged into "Great Maps of Texas" 1777-1931, Special Maps (cattle, exploration, military and forts, county, geologic, minerals)  US historic 1803-1907, and 9 sections of grouped USGS selected topographic maps.  Accompanying each map, Charlton has written a 200-word text on the map, the topic, and / or the cartographer.


    NAVIGATION;  You can flip through the pages as you would a paper book; you can zoom in for a closer look; you can pan by grab and drag; you can bookmark, you can click the 17 tabs set on the right-hand edge, you can use the find button to search the maps' supplementary text Charlton provided.  And, hey, look, there's a date and place index in the back.  And for those accustomed to passive viewing, you can set the presentation on an auto-flip and watch the page spreads at a variable time span.  If you prefer to opt out of the "page" presentation, a side-show option can be invoked.  To top it off, Charlton has added period graphics between the sections.


    Sure enough, the 1902 (the year before my father was born) Century Atlas railroad map shows my father's hometown of Harleton, my mother's hometown of Jefferson, and my hometown of Marshall, all snuggled up together.


    Charlton's near decade long project is admirable.  And while you can certainly use and benefit from this electronic map collection, Charlton also offers you the opportunity to have him supply printed versions.  There're fairly good prices.


    This is a worthy acquisition for citizens, libraries, and social studies teachers.



    Texas history classroom videos - Jank Williams on Veoh

    Jank Williams teaches Texas history to a flock of youngsters.  He is an active user of the Veoh video website to load his classroom videos there.  The 18 videos (3 - 25 minutes) often feature Williams beside a power point presentation on the day's topic.
    He joined Veoh about three months ago during the summer.  These 18 seem to be his videos to date.  His additions across the year will make an intersting and useful source for folks.  Certainly his students find it helpful, and others wishing an survey of Texas history will also.
    Some samples include


    Will's Texana Youtube Channel

    I've developed a Youtube channel, Will's Texana Youtube Channel.  It's free, It's easy.  An account is called a channel.
    Yes, I know and groan about the junk and ephemera that's there, but this last summer I wondered, just what IS there?  So I looked.  It took a while to get the hang of it all, but using a very undisciplined method which was also very unconsistent, I cobbled together 1,000 videos from other folks' channels and centralized them into 100 topical playlists
    There are some drawbacks (e.g., Youtube doesn't allow for alphabetizing the 100 playlists, so you'll find them in a jumble of 100.)  I working on a means where by they can be alphabetizing on somebody's separate page, and this alternative would also enable the addition of other folks' playlists on other channels.
    I'm issuing a report on Will's Texana Youtube Channel as a special issue of my Will's Texana Monthly.  If you'd like a free copy just let me know.  That report also includes a list of the 50 or so Youtube channels to which I subscribe, some rather professionally done - historical, contemporary, nature, gardening, media, etc - and some casually produced by individuals but worthy of notice and maybe your own subscription.
    The WT Channel was first intended just as a device to record what I found.  Now it serves as a repository (if temporary) to nudge librarians, archivists, historians, teachers, and other interested folks to further explore Youtube and other video repositories for their long-term value.  Already one WT channel viewer, Joan Hood, has since begun her own channel, Joan's Texas Women Channel, to collect videos exclusively on that topic which I wouldn't be able to do as well at http://www.youtube.com/user/JoanHood1 .
    Actually, I encourage you to start your own channel, if not so much to produce your own videos, but to collect along special lines.
    And tell me where to go and what to do when I get there!  It's a broad prairie with only slow rolling hills.  I could use some talk and thought.
    See the whole shebang at http://www.youtube.com/willstexana


    TEKSWatch site for TEKS

    Center for History Teaching & Learning
    CHTL, the University of Texas at El Paso's Department of History's Center for History Teaching and Learning at http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=58084 has added a new component to their website, a TEKSWatch.
    The CHTL focuses broadly on history, but at this time there is considerable to draw the attention of those interested in Texas, for example the below are sample entries from their website:
    "U.S.History to 1877 (8th grade)
    Texas History (7th grade)
    3rd grade

    Lesson Plans


    Secondary Level
    U.S. History
    • Why Things Change: Great Man or Many People? - In the proposed TEKS, treatment of the civil rights movement moves from a "great man" to "organized Americans"
    • Why did Texas Secede from the Union in 1861? - The proposed TEKS enumerate reasons for Texas secession. In this lesson, students use primary sources to explain the reasons Texans gave in 1861 and then contrast those findings with the proposed emphasis of the twenty-first century curriculum.
    • Why did Texas Secede from the Union in 1861? - The proposed TEKS enumerate reasons for Texas secession. In this lesson, students use primary sources to explain the reasons Texans gave in 1861 and then contrast those findings with the proposed emphasis of the twenty-first century curriculum.

    Middle School

    Texas History
    • Why did Texas Secede from the Union in 1861? - The proposed TEKS enumerate reasons for Texas secession. In this lesson, students use primary sources to explain the reasons Texans gave in 1861 and then contrast those findings with the proposed emphasis of the twenty-first century curriculum."


    Draft Recommendations for Revisions to Social Studies TEKS

    Per TEA's Social Studies listserv:


    The first draft recommendations for revisions to the social studies TEKS are now posted on the TEA website at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/teks/socialstudiesTEKS.html.


    Instructions for providing informal feedback will be posted in the next few days on the same website.


    UT Arlington Maps and Teachers


    Improving Teaching through the Use of Historic Maps


    The University of Texas at Arlington's map collection is widely recognized as is their association with the Texas Map Society.  A considerable effort, with some funding from the Houston Endowment, has enabled their mounting of a special program especially amenable to teachers - Cartographic Connections.
    It's self-description reads:
    "The University of Texas at Arlington is conducting a project entitled Cartographic Connections: Improving Teaching through the Use of Historic Maps. Funded by a grant from the Houston Endowment, Inc., Cartographic Connections is a three-year, interactive electronic pilot project. Its goal is to connect secondary school students and teachers to a primary source--historic maps of Texas, the Southwest and beyond, dating from the 1500s through the 1900s. Through the use of maps, students gain a better understanding of history and the sources that reveal it. The social studies and other programs in Texas schools can also benefit from the use of these historic maps.

    The project involves UTA faculty, library staff, and selected teachers from across the state. The teachers and UTA staff and faculty are identifying curriculum needs and devising strategies that meet those needs through the use of historic maps. The project's objectives include:
    • determining curriculum needs in light of local, regional, and statewide requirements
    • selecting appropriate maps from among UTA's large collection of historic maps to help meet these needs
    • developing strategies and lesson plans to integrate the use of maps into the curriculum
    • sharing with other educators the techniques learned in the project
    • creating a website that incorporates historic maps, text, and ideas/strategies on how best to use maps in the classroom "
    The sidebar clicks include