American Popular Music Responds to Pearl Harbor

» 10 May 2016 » In History / DBQ's » No Comments

Remember Pearl HarborMy Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook - Exploring History: Vol III (free iTunes). It features thirteen engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of multi-touch iBook and pdf versions click here. To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post. (Seventh of 13)

A date of Infamy by Mollie Carter
Download lesson as 1.4MB pdf

It's Dec 10, 1941 you are listening to the radio and hear a song about Pearl Harbor.

Imagine that you were in Hawaii at the time of the attack. Hawaii is not yet a state but America is dazzled by its island beauty; you might even think of it as part of America, your home.

Now picture that you are seeing these images in person, maybe you even saw and heard the planes flying overhead as the attack commenced.

What about the images sticks out to you that might leave a lasting impression? What are you feeling as you see the smoke billowing over the battleships? As the bomb explodes when it hits the ship? You know there is a war going on in Europe and in Asia, but now it’s come to you. What might your thoughts be about the people who attacked you? What ideas or values lead you to these thoughts?   


Reflection by Mollie Carter

I have rather enjoyed creating this lesson. The idea was something I became interested in while in college and have not had the space to develop since then. When this project was introduced to me I knew immediately what I would do.

It became more interesting, unfortunately, in the middle of November as Paris was attacked and hateful rhetoric began to come from the republican presidential candidates. It reminded me of some of the rhetoric after the attacks on the twin towers, which as a 12 year old then I clearly remember. As I started my venture into teaching, I realized that many of my students would be born near or after this day that so scarred my memory. I was reminded of my own age as well as my place in the greater timeline of history. It is this realization that directed me to think of another generations “day of infamy” and the ways we teach it to students who have little context for it.

I also find myself wanting to emphasize on historical empathy, or perspective taking. Often times when looking at history, we may look at it with our modern day perspectives and judge the people of the past without seeing things through their eyes. The purpose of this is not to justify their actions but realize that it could still happen to us; that if we forget the past or believe we are above it, we are bound to repeat it.

Creating this document based lesson allowed me to combine both of these ideas of mine into one, ideally powerful, lesson. I am not a Mac person so learning to use the book design software was a bit of a learning curve but in the end I found it worth it to create this easy to access lesson. I hope that whoever may find this will have some deep discussions both about our history and the nature of humans themselves.

Image credit: "Remember Pearl Harbor"
Words by Don Reid. Music by Don Reid and Sammy Kaye. Republic Music Corp., NYC, 1941.
From the Popular American Sheet Music Collection, Department of Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library.

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Music and the Vietnam Anti-War Movement

» 30 December 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Projects » No Comments


One of my University of Portland pre-service teachers showcases his online DBQ “The Vietnam War.” It explores the relationship between the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war as reflected in the music videos of the era.

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Illuminating the Beauty, Humanity, Intrigue in Mathematics

» 29 November 2011 » In Ed Tech, Events, Guest post, How To, Students » No Comments


Is our goal to have students performing better on standardized tests or to be prepared for what they are going to encounter in college and life? The ideal would be that they would be prepared for both. So the questions become, what do we want to leave the students with? How are we going to prepare them for the real world? What do we want them to learn about themselves? And how do we do it? To clear the air, I don’t believe that students are taking my calculus class because they need help doubling a recipe or balancing their checkbook. I believe it is because we want to expose students to the poetry of numbers, to have a new outlook on how to solve problems, to be able to think outside of the box, and to see how the unbreakable human spirit has conquered problems that once mystified the greatest of thinkers. Like any great symphony, mathematics represents a pinnacle of human creativity. We teach math to enrich the lives of our students in a way akin to reading poetry or composing music. This is the story of a student-created exhibit showcasing the beauty, humanity and intrigue behind math in history, philosophy and the applied arts.

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Visualize the Twitter Feed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest

» 13 June 2011 » In Events, Social Web » No Comments

jazz fest featured

This is our 10th year at the Jazz Fest. Amazing lineup – with the “club pass” you can see it all. Here’s a visualizer of the Twitter feed following the hashtags #xrijf and #rocjazz.

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Solve This Problem, You’ll Learn the Skills Along the Way

» 12 June 2011 » In Strategies, Students » No Comments


Students explore their world with an expectation of choice and control that redefines traditional notions of learning and literacy. Educators are discovering that they can motivate students with a PBL approach that engages their students with the opportunity to behave like STEM professionals while solving real-world problems. I’m in the Wisconsin Dells to deliver a four-hour training session for CESA 6. It’s entitled “21st Century Skills in Action: Project Based Learning in the STEM Classroom.” We’ll be using a Turning Point ARS and lots of activities so that participants experience the why, what, and how of PBL in the STEM curriculum.

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Innovations in Teaching and Learning: Top Down or Bottom Up?

» 14 March 2011 » In Commentary, Web 2.0 » 3 Comments

Corporate music, publishing and film were transformed from below. Do we expect education to be spared the forces of the digital revolution? Unlike the vanishing local newspaper, schools won’t disappear entirely. After all, someone has to watch the kids. While it may be difficult to replace the custodial function of schools, I suspect that education’s “top-down” approach will eventually be breached. Or perhaps life will just become an “open book test” and we’ll no longer notice how our information moves through it.

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Blogging from ITSC 2011

» 30 January 2011 » In Events » No Comments

I'm pleased to be invited as a guest blogger to the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference 2/20-22 in Portland, Oregon. More on the conference. ITSC 2011 (twitter/ITSCPDX) is hands-on conference with a clear focus on the practical use of technology in the classroom – workshops are small sessions led by facilitators, not presenters. The facilitator roster includes […]

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9 Questions for Reflective School Reform Leaders

» 22 November 2010 » In Commentary, Ed Policy, Leadership, Reflection » 8 Comments

national blog featured

Schools will need to become places that create engaging and relevant learning experiences, provoke student reflection, and help students apply the learning to life. Here’s nine reflective questions for school leaders to consider. They’re organized around three themes and a concluding recommendation.

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Test Prep – The Steroids of Student Achievement

» 17 October 2010 » In Commentary, Ed Policy » 6 Comments

Unless we institute more genuine assessments, our measures of student achievement will be as inspiring as a steroid-tarnished home run record.

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Analyzing the History of the Bicycle: A Prezi DBQ

» 29 September 2010 » In History / DBQ's, Reflection, Strategies, Visualizations » 2 Comments


I’m pleased to have been invited by the educators at the Smithsonian Institution to do a guest blog post using museum resources. I was attracted to the Smithsonian Bicycle collection because the images could be analyzed by students without a great deal of background knowledge. Students can use historic photographs of bicycles to answer critical thinking questions focused on the theme of continuity and change.
Analysis – What patterns do I see in the bicycles – construction, design, features, uses? What elements do they share in common? How do they differ?
Evaluation – In my own judgment, what elements are changing? Which are staying the same? 
Creating – What have I learned about continuity and change in the history of the bicycle? How can I represent what I’ve learned to share with others?

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