Through the Doors of Stratford

On February 2, 1959, four African American students entered Stratford Junior High School in Arlington, Virginia becoming the first students to integrate a public school in Virginia. The event ended the Virginia government’s policy of “massive resistance” designed to preserve segregation in all public schools in the state.

Through the Doors of Stratford is a series of online modules funded by Arlington Public Schools to teach high school students in Arlington about school desegregation from a history and government perspective. The modules ask students to analyze a variety of sources including photographs, maps, charts of data, editorial cartoons, court decisions, and video interviews with participants and scholars. Students learn historical and critical thinking skills as well as content — the “how” of history and government in addition to the “what.”

In Through the Doors of Stratford, students learn not only their own community’s past, but also how their local history can be understood in the context of Virginia and United States history and government.

Teaching Hidden History

Teaching Hidden History, a hybrid graduate history course co-taught across multiple universities, was taught in the summer of 2015 and 2017. In the course, students created online learning modules similar to those in Hidden in Plain Sight and Virginia Studies, based on the idea that hidden behind any artifact is a larger historical narrative.

Course objectives and activities encouraged students to think about how this narrative might take shape and, more broadly, how history can be presented online to multiple audiences. Students described the historical context surrounding their artifacts and modeled how historians consider historical significance, interpret evidence, and employed contextual elements and supporting resources to craft historical narratives.

Teaching Hidden History was made possible with funding from 4-VA, “a statewide initiative dedicated to fostering collaboration among Virginia universities with the goal of improving all Virginians’ access to higher education.”

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring American History is an online course for K–12 teachers that emphasizes iterative learning, primary source analysis, and an active approach to studying history.

More than 400 K-12 teachers from a wide geographic area have taken this online course with a 95% completion rate.

Through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education, RRCHNM researched and developed the course content, designed the visual interface, and built the site in Drupal, using CHNM-developed custom modules to enable instructors to interact with students, and students with each other, in near real-time.

Sea of Liberty

Sea of Liberty is an interactive online tool for teaching, exploring, and sharing the power of Thomas Jefferson’s ideas. Visitors can explore documents, letters, artwork, photographs, and videos related to the ideas of liberty, freedom, and self-governance. The core of the collection includes images and quotes from the Monticello exhibit, The Boisterous Sea of Liberty that traces the development and ongoing influence of Jefferson’s transformational ideas about liberty, particularly those expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Sea of Liberty expands on the exhibit, providing new relevant content and tools to explore it.

Registered users can build their own collections and then use the items to create activities and projects. A special teacher dashboard allows educators to create and assign activities, or “challenges,” that focus students on specific themes or objects in the collection. Students and the public respond to challenges by using items from their collection to create digital posters, word clouds, timelines, and digital stories. The projects can be shared to inspire others and promote dialogue. In addition, educators have access to resources related to teaching with primary sources, teaching historical thinking, and encouraging digital literacy. (National History Education Clearinghouse) is the central online location for accessing high-quality resources in K-12 U.S. history education. Explore the highlighted content on our homepage or visit individual sections for additional materials. Return often for new content and to join in the vibrant conversation about teaching history.