Texas Insights - May 2012

Volume II, Issue 5

What’s New?

The spring semester is in so many ways the culmination of many efforts both inside and outside the classroom. It is also the season for a variety of contest and the recognition of the very hard work demonstrated by numerous students and the teachers who guide them. Numerous organizations offer opportunities for elementary and secondary students to be creative and share their knowledge of Texas history, geography, civics, economics and other areas which comprise Texas studies. Please join us in commending the quality efforts demonstrated by our young people and their mentors in the programs listed below and please consider these valuable programs as a way to strengthen and enrich your classroom and school programs next year. Simply click on the links below to see more about the winners and programs.

The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) offers a variety of programs with classroom and extracurricular connections. This year’s Texas Quiz Show program winner was Baker Middle School from Corpus Christi who beat out teams from Round Rock, El Paso, Denton, Mineola, Brownsville, Fairview, and College Station, to be the 2012 State Champions! On May 5, results of this year’s Texas History Day state contest were announced as nearly 1,200 students presented their various projects to see who would represent Texas at National History Day in June. Earlier this spring, TSHA’s Junior Historians program announced the results of its annual writing contest, history fair and chapter achievement awards. Last but not least, on March 3, Susan Locklear was announced as the 2011 Mary Jon and J. P. Bryan Leadership in Education Award recipient.

Other organizations also work equally hard to provide engaging educational activities for our youth. The Texas Council on Economic Education offers a variety of programs including the Stock Market Game which is open to students in 4th through 12th grades. Ben Sartor and his students from Haltom High school in Birdville ISD were named the Top Stock Market State Winner, and the Texas Legislative Challenge winners are Barbara Grounds and her students from Jay High School in Northside ISD. The Texas Alliance for Geographic Education and various other organizations make the National Geographic Geography Bee available to students in 4th-8th grade, with Rahul Nagvekara from Quail Valley Middle school in Missouri City, who will represent Texas at this summer’s national contest.

Several organizations make writing and art award opportunities available including the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT), the Texas General Land Office and Celebrate Texas. The DRT recently named Landon Brock Crews from Spring Hill Intermediate School in Longview as their 4th grade essay winner. Julie Wong from Hillwood Middle School in Fort Worth and Hemma Uzoh from New Braunfels were named the DRT’s 7th grade essay winners. The DRT’s Outstanding Teacher of the year, for 4th grade is Terry McNiel from Leakey ISD and the 7th grade Teacher of the year is Brenda Wolston from Mesquite ISD.

Of course, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has local opportunities for middle school students and a state level structure for high school students. Law-Related Education sponsors, We The People, to promote civic competence and responsibility in Texas students. State champions, Lamar Academy from McAllen represented Texas in the national finals. A number of other opportunities are also available for high school students from organizations like the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation. You can find information about most of the above opportunities on TeachingTexas.org. Congratulations to all the students and their teachers for a job well done! 

Region XIII Texas History Conference

The Region XIII Education Service Center and the Texas State Historical Association are proud to present the Region XIII Texas History Conference as a part of the Exploring Texas Workshop Series on August 9-10, 2012, in Austin. This workshop will feature breakout sessions on historical content, geography, economics, civics, and classroom teaching strategies, as well as feature the museums and primary sources from the Bob Bullock State History Museum, the Texas General Land Office, and the Blanton Museum of Art. Workshop presenters will include, Forensic Artist, Amanda Danning, Caroline Castillo Crimm, Art Martinez de Vara, and Santiago Escobedo as well as representitives from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, The Portal to Texas History, Texas Alliance for Geographic Education, The Alamo, and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. For additional information visit TeachingTexas.org. 


Economics Extravaganza

The Texas Council on Economic Education presents their summer Economics Extravaganza.  The first workshop, Where Did My $ Go, will be held at the Children’s Museum of Houston, on June 19, 2012, and is open to K-5 grade educators. Teachers will explore the Kidtropolis exhibit, which teaches students how to make sound financial decisions. Lesson plans and skills will be taught, so that the same skills can be taught in the classroom. For more information on Where did my $ go, visit TeachingTexas.org. The second workshop, the Lone STAAR State in a Global Economy, will be held at the Bob Bullock State History Museum, June 11-12, 2012, and is open to K-12 social studies educators.  Conference speakers will discuss the current state of Texas economics and explore the Museum’s historical artifacts which portray Texas’s role as king of cotton and oil. For more information on the Lone STAAR State in a Global Exonomy, visit TeachingTexas.org.    For

Featured Institution

Humanities Texas

Humanities Texas offers a number of exciting programs that recognize and encourage outstanding teaching in Texas schools. We place special emphasis on providing teachers with the rigorous, content-intensive training that they need to ensure student success.

Humanities Texas’s teacher enrichment workshops offer participants the opportunity to work closely with leading humanities scholars exploring topics central to the state’s social studies and language arts curricula. These free, content-rich programs combine scholarly lectures with small-group primary source workshops, providing participants with not only a deeper understanding of the subjects they teach, but also a wealth of classroom resources and effective instructional strategies.

Through its Outstanding Teaching Award program, Humanities Texas honors exemplary Texas teachers. Each year, twelve teachers receive the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award, and one Texas history teacher receives the Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching of Texas History Award. In 2013, Humanities Texas will present two new awards recognizing outstanding humanities teachers in their first three years of classroom service. Each winner receives a $5,000 cash award and an additional $500 for their respective schools to purchase instructional materials.

The Humanities Texas poster series A President’s Vision examines the aspirations of notable U.S. presidents and the programs and initiatives that advanced each man’s vision. Through documents, photographs, and works of art, each poster explores the particular vision that guided that president’s actions and decisions while in office. With the launch of its new website, Humanities Texas has made the posters and all related materials available online in an extensive digital repository, along with worksheets and suggestions for activities and assignments.

In the website’s digital repository, Humanities Texas also posts videos of lectures from its teacher enrichment workshops, as well as the PowerPoint presentations and primary source documents used by each scholar. In this way, teachers who are unable to attend Humanities Texas programs have access to the engaging presentations and valuable resources. Audio recordings and transcripts of Humanities Texas’s radio program, Texas Originals, which spotlights individuals who have had a profound influence upon Texas history and culture, are also accessible through the digital repository.

Humanities Texas’s exhibitions program provides high-quality, affordable exhibitions to schools throughout Texas and the nation. The program circulates more than sixty exhibitions that cover a wide range of TEKS-aligned subjects, such as César Chávez, the Bill of Rights, and the Texas Declaration of Independence. Schools may apply to Humanities Texas’s streamlined mini-grants program to cover the rental fee. Mini-grants may also support cultural and educational programs developed by teachers and schools for their respective communities.

For more information about Humanities Texas’s extensive resources and programs for educators, please visit www.humanitiestexas.org. 

Historian's Corner

Teaching Tejano
By Emilio Zamora
Professor, Department of History
University of Texas at Austin

The Board of Directors of the Tejano Monument Project contributed significantly to public history and historical memory by leading a 12-year campaign to raise the necessary funds, secure official support, and guide the construction of a statue commemorating Tejano history, prominently displayed on the southeastern section of the Capitol grounds. The statue, built with the same Marble Falls granite used to construct the Capitol building, displays several Tejano and Tejana figures from the early colonial and Mexican periods in Texas history.

The unveiling ceremonies were as magnificent as the artistic renderings, especially when Dr. Andrés Tijerina, the keynote speaker, a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), and a member of the Tejano Monument Board, announced that descendants of early Tejano pioneers were still with us and then extended to the representatives of the Ballí, Guerra, De León, and Navarro families of colonial times the honor of undraping the statues of the explorer, the vaquero, a longhorn bull and cow, a couple, a boy and a girl. The well-attended festivities as well as a scholarly conference and downtown parade that followed must rate as one of the most impressive displays of Texas history that we have seen in a long time, made all the more striking by the recovery of Tejano history with a permanent memorial next to the other seventeen monuments on the twenty-two acres surrounding the Capitol building.

With all the joyous celebration, the public may have overlooked a less dramatic, yet equally significant, initiative by the members of the Executive Board to recover and memorialize Tejano history. They secured generous financial support from the Walmart Foundation of Texas, the International Bank of Commerce, and R&P LTD from Zapata, Texas to establish the Tejano History Curriculum Project (THCP). The project seeks to develop Tejano history curriculum and apply it in six, fourth- and fifth- grade classrooms in the Austin Independent School District (AISD). The THCP is a Tejano Monument project that is administered by the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with the AISD and the City of Austin’s Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESBMACC). 

Although the focus is on approximately 120 elementary school children, the project is not limited to introducing novel lesson plans that can encourage the joy of learning. It is also dedicated to advancing necessary skills in reading, writing and comprehension and improving the knowledge of history that is required by official educational standards and the developmental needs of the mostly Tejano students.

The learning experience began with approximately 40 undergraduate students enrolled in the bilingual teacher preparation program at the University of Texas at Austin. Cinthia Salinas, Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, supervised the development of the curriculum in undergraduate courses offered in the Fall and Spring semesters of 2011-2012. Each of the students were responsible for selecting a topic from a list of about seventy prominent historical figures, events, and places spanning the period between the late 1700s and early 1900s. They were also responsible for developing “journey boxes”, each containing a themed set of primary documents (e.g., letters, articles, speeches, maps, drawings, treaties, etc.) and a corresponding instructional guide in the form of a context-and-significance narrative.

Professor María Fránquiz, also a member of the Curriculum and Instruction faculty, along with Patricia Nuñez, a teacher training specialist, served as liaisons with six teachers, each with about 20 fourth- and fifth- grade students at Brentwood, Dawson, Galindo, and Wooten elementary schools. The second phase of the project involved the classroom use of the journey boxes and the development of lesson plans that emerged from the implementation of the curriculum and a series of workshops where the teachers shared their experiences and drafted new lesson plans. The teachers also made use of history publications and lesson plans on Texas history they located in educational web sites managed by the Texas Land Office, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas State Historical Association. The lesson plans included various learning activities around topics such as the popular self-referent Tejano, Native Americans, Spanish Missions, the Texas War for Independence, the Mexican American War, Tejano music, Tejano newspapers, mutual aid societies, and the Tejano Monument. 

The lesson on the Tejano Monument offered the children one of the most comprehensive treatments of Tejano history.  Learning activities included a classroom visit by three historians (including Emilio Zamora, the principal investigator of the project and a Fellow of the TSHA) who used an audiovisual presentation, a miniature replica of the vaquero statue, and a collection of historic flags to promote the understanding and appreciation of Tejano history. The children also studied copies of the narratives and images that appear on the plaques of the Tejano Monument and participated in the unveiling ceremonies and parade. The teachers used a number of learning activities throughout the process, including group discussions, writing and drawing activities, and show-and-tell presentations. When asked to share their views and feelings, the children almost overwhelmingly responded that they had enjoyed the learning activities and were especially pleased to have participated in the unveiling ceremonies which they understood to have been a historic event.

Another module focused on the popular term, “Tejano.” One teacher reported that she had used an “anticipatory set of activities” that included a short popular definition of the term that is based on nativity and the images and narratives on the monument plaques. The teacher asked the students to share their impressions on what “Tejano” meant to them. The lively discussion included observations on “Tejano” as a state of mind, including feelings of identification with an inclusive meaning defined by residency or the personal choice of the individual. Writing and drawing assignments gave the children an opportunity to translate what they saw and felt into coherent statements of understanding.

The project will begin to come to a close by preparing a web site that will share with the public graphic and narrative accounts, as well as copies of the journey boxes and lesson plans. A workshop involving participants took place at the ESBMACC in Austin, Texas, and included a series of educational activities, including a tour of the facilities, a presentation by a descendant of Gregorio Esparza, a martyr of the Battle of the Alamo, and a show-and-tell performance by professional musicians on two key instruments in Tejano music, the Bajo Sexto and the three-button accordion. The focus, however, was on the journey boxes. At least 30 of the undergraduate students who constructed them initiated group discussions with the children. This will provide the teachers and undergraduate students with opportunities to review selected educational activities and to evaluate the learning outcomes among the children.

To sum things up, THCP seeks to provide teacher preparation and instructional materials supporting effective inclusion of Tejano history in the Fourth and Fifth Grade Texas social studies curriculum and to offer the curricular model to a wider audience of parents, teachers, and youth in a summer camp setting at the ESBMACC. The THCP highlights significant historical topics and related primary records, as well as the Tejano Monument—now the most important site of Tejano historical and cultural memory. Our hope is to secure funding to collaborate with the Texas Education Agency in hosting teacher preparation workshops throughout the state to encourage the use of our lesson plans that are to be posted electronically. This partnership involving the City of Austin, the University of Texas, and the Tejano Monument Board has already proven to be fruitful with improvements to curricula that promise to extend the significance of the monument for generations to come. 

Featured Lesson

As you plan instruction on the early colonial period of Texas history, consider searching available lesson plans on TeachingTexas.org. There you will find a unit of study, containing three lessons and information on Martin De Leon  and a variety of more modern figures from the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies at Austin College. This unit introduces you to Martin De Leon, the only Mexican empresario to settle Texas, and provides lessons on the formation of early Texas communities, ethnic studies and the effort put forth to be a community member during colonization, and cattle ranching as a part of the Texas industry and what Martin De Leon did to make it successful. The unit includes links to many valuable resources for both teachers and students in the classroom. Available on TeachingTexas.org.  Av

Texas History News

Several opportunities for Texas history educators and students are available or are on the near horizon:

Humanities Texas will hold a series of
institutes for teaches throughout summer 2012.  Workshops in Dallas and Houston will focus on The Making of Modern America, 1877 to present; and the Brownsville and San Antonio workshops will focus on Shaping the American Republic to 1877. Though the series targets U. S. history teachers, there is a correlation to the new Texas TEKS and would be useful for any social studies teacher. See TeachingTexas.org for more information.   


The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum presents the Primarily Teaching Workshop, from July 23 -27, 2012 in the Reading Room of the LBJ Library and Museum. Teachers will learn how to do research in historical records, create classroom material, and learn how to present documents in ways that sharpen student’s skills and enthusiasm for history and the humanities. Space is limited to the first 10 teachers who apply and submit the registration fee. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.  

Join the Houston History Association for their 2nd annual Houston History Conference, on June 2, 2012 at the Hilton-University of Houston Hotel. This year’s conference theme is “Building Houston: From Allen’s Landing to the Moon.” Co-sponsors for this event include the Texas State Historical Association, University of Houston’s Center for Public History, and Houston History Magazine. For more information visit TeachingTexas.org. 

  The Texas Archive of the Moving Image is proud to announce the addition of the Texas Entertainment News Collection. The Texas Entertainment News was created in 1996, and was hosted by Tom McConnell and Lisa Hart. Its goal was to provide a weekly look into entertainment production and events throughout Texas. A total of 33 episodes were made before the show was canceled at the end of its first season. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.    VisV

The A. W. Perry Homestead Museum in Carrolton and the Texas Historical Commission would like to you join them at their Myth Busting at the Museum on June 2, 2012. Students and adults will discover the answers to some of the most common myths and questions of Texas history as they become detectives for the day.  Registration for the event ends on May 30, 2012. Visit TeachingTeaching.org for more information.   

  TeachingTexas.org welcomes new partner, Houston Arts and Media (HAM). HAM is dedicated to creating new and innovative ways to teach children and adults about history, science, literature and the world.  Visit the YouTube page of Houston Arts and Media, found on TeachingTexas.org, where you can view a sampling of their series, Slice of History. These short video clips include primary sources on topics useful in the classroom.  

Join the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site and the Texas Historical Commission as they host the event, Ike Returns to Denison, a celebration of the successful D-Day invasion with a free picnic lunch starting at noon, on June 9, 2012. Experience living history, as Bruce Hoff plays General Eisenhower during the event and is available for questions after his presentation. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org. 

  The Texas Council on Economic Education is proud to present a four-day, residential program on the Environment and the Economy. Teachers will learn how to use economic principles to analyze environmental issues. The program will run from July 30 to August 2, 2012, in San Antonio.  Applications must be turned in by June 24, 2012. For more information visit TeachingTexas.org.  
The Star of the Republic Museum at Washington on the Brazos is proud to present a one day teacher workshop, Dive into the Archives. This workshop is targeted for 4th – 8th grade educators, but all levels are welcomed.  Teachers will learn how to use primary sources and historical documents in the classroom, and is designed to enhance critical and creative thinking skills by asking learners to dig deeper to learn the rest of the story. Teachers may also elect to receive 6 hours credit towards the TAGT Awareness Certificate or 6 CPE hours credit from Blinn College. For more information visit TeachingTexas.org.  .  

TeachingTexas.org is happy to announce, Texas Beyond History as a new partner.  Texas Beyond History is a virtual museum of Texas’ Cultural Heritage. The site was created by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory and the University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University, and has partnered with a number of other organizations to provide valuable content. At Texas Beyond History, teachers will find information and images on the cultural heritage of Texas, which spans the last 13,500 years.  To see what is available from Texas Beyond History, visit TeachingTexas.org.  

TeachingTexas.org is happy to announce, Law-Related Education and the State Bar of Texas as a new partner to TeachingTexas.org. Law-Related Education has a number of educational games and staff development opportunities. This summer, join LRE at one of three workshops for secondary teacher, titled, Being an American: Exploring the ideals that Untie US. These two day workshops will occur in San Angelo, Wichita Falls, and Fort Worth. Visit TeachingTexas.org or more information. LRE also offers, New Social Studies TEKS Update – LRE Style. These workshops will be held in Fort Worth, Kilgore, and Austin, and will feature separate breakout sessions with innovative lessons for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org. The annual LRE’s Institutes on the Founding Documents would be useful to any social studies teacher. Workshops will be held in Lubbock, El Paso, and Arlington. Three levels of the workshops will be held and are free for teachers who are accepted. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org.  


Two new collections have been added to The Portal to Texas History. The first collection, The Texas Standard (1933 – 1966) was the official publication of the Colored Teachers' State Association of Texas that supported the work of the African American teachers of Texas. The motto for the publication was “The Best in Education for Every Negro Child-The Best Working Conditions for Every Negro Teacher” and each of its issues chronicles the work of the association to achieve its goals and bring quality education to the African American children of Texas. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org. The second collection, The Witte Museum’s Carpa Cubana Collection consists of photographs of circus performers based in San Antonio. Active in the early twentieth century, the “carpas” combined traditional circus acts such as acrobats and clowns with theatrical performances, such as singing, dancing, and comedy routines. More information can be found at TeachingTexas.org.

Texas Insights is a publication of the Texas State Historical Association
in cooperation with the University of North Texas.

Texas State Historical Association
1155 Union Circle #311580
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Stephen Cure - Editor
Kim White- Associate Editor
JoNeita Kelly- Associate Editor  


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