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

Texas, Social Studies, and the Wall Street Journal

Texas' neighbors are watching  and have noticed the initial script lines of "Texas All in the Family" being tried out on the Texas Education Commission's  front porch by actors of yet obscured faces.  Exactly who is acting the roles of Archie Bunker and Meat Head are yet to be defined.
Of all news sources the Wall Street Journal considers the current Texas leaders' special approach to defining appropriateness or inclusiveness for our children's learning.  Texas revisits various parts of the curriculum about once every 10 years.  This year, social studies is one of those being visited for revision.  Stephanie Simon wrote a July 14 article entitled "The Culture Wars' New Frontier:  U.S. History Classes in Texas."
The article begins:  "The fight over school curriculum in Texas, recently focused on biology, has entered a new arena, with a brewing debate over how much faith belongs in American history classrooms.
The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state's social studies curriculum. In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history."
By July 16 morning there were 242 comments, read more at http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB124753078523935615-lMyQjAxMDI5NDE3NDUxMzQwWj.html
If it weren't for the fact that millions of school children will be affected for the rest of their lives by the eventual decisions, the tragi-comic episodes to come could be viewed as simply entertainment of the "Family Guy" groundling level, not even constructive enough to be "King of the Hill."
At the outset, the oddest thing I find is that somebody wants to exclude from the American history textbook Anne Hutchinson, the famous 1600's woman religious dissenter/teacher who was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for refusing to accept the gummit line on the REQUIRED religious formula and not to be confused (I suppose, but maybe not) with the current Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who'll run in a primary against Governor Rick Perry who controls the commission's appointments. 
Anyway, this current Texas ban of Anne Hutchinson brings to memory the recent attempt by some Texans to censor the book "Fahreheit 451," a novel against book censoring.  Connected to that memory is Louis Sachar's book "Holes," a Newbery-winning novel set in modern Texas where nonconformist children are condemned to endlessly dig holes for greedy adults looking for buried treasure.


TSHA Texas Histsory Day Special Awards

The Texas State Historical Association's Texas History Day special awards include
Oral History Award
The C. M. Caldwell Memorial Award for Texas History
The Colonial Dames Award
The Willie Lee Gay Award for African-American History
The Jewish History Award
The Hispanic Heritage Award
The UT Austin Liberal Arts Scholarship
The Descendents of Austin's Old Three Hundred History Award
The Jane McCallum Women in Texas History Award
The Institute of Texan Cultures Award
The Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP Legal History Award
The Texas Old Missions and Forts Restoration Association Award
The Students' Choice Exhibit Awards
The Outstanding Entry Awards
The David C. DeBoe Texas History Day Teacher Award


El dia de los ninos

El dia de los ninos website at http://www.texasdia.org/ is being updated via a grant from the Texas Library Association.  Check back before next April's celebration.
For a while the 100 page "Toolkit" can be found at

Tomas and the Library Lady - Mora

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora is reviewed in Multicultural Lit for Children and Young Adults
The review begins "Tomas and his family travel from Texas to Iowa to harvest crops. He carries out water to his family while they are busy farming. On breaks his grandfather has the children gather all around and tells them stories. He tells Tomas that he is now old enough to visit the library where there are many more stories. "