Texas Insights - May 2013

Volume III, Issue 5

What’s New?

The spring semester is in so many ways the culmination of numerous efforts both inside and outside the classroom. It is also the season for a variety of contest and the recognition of very hard work demonstrated by thousands of 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 from Holy Family Catholic School in Austin. They beat out teams from Fort Hancock, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, Baytown, Mineola, Brownsville, and Keller to be the 2013 State Champions! On May 4, 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 2, Garna Christian of the University of Houston – Downtown, was announced as the 2012 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. Bob Duckworth and his students from Klein Oak High School were named the Top Stock Market State Winner, and the Texas Legislative Challenge winners are Dan Schluter and his students from Ponder High School. The Texas Alliance for Geographic Education and various other organizations make the National Geographic Geography Bee available to students in 4th-8th grade, with 5th grader, Chinmay Murthy of Paragon Preparatory Middle School in Austin, representing 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), and the Texas General Land Office.

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, Granbury High School represented Texas in the national finals. A number of other opportunities are also available for high school students from organizations across the state. The Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, offers a high school history contest and congratulate winners, Kylee Mayfield and Shelby Schilling from Panhandle High School as the best overall group, Erin Mitchell from Linden-Kildare High School as the best overall individual, Gracie Huddleston from Tide haven High School as best audio, Maricela Coronado from Honey Grove High School for Best Images, Hunter Tallon from Saint Jo High School for best research, and Krysha Jesko from Hereford High School as the best text winner. 

The Sons of the Republic of Texas offers a Texas History Essay and have named Sam Giuffre from Houston in first place, Veronica Busa of Austin in second, and Lauren Voigt of Pflugerville in third place. 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!


Toy Time Exhibit and Workshopbit 

The Star of the Republic Museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos would like you to join them for The Science and History of Fun, a teacher workshop that revolves around, Toy Time, an interactive exhibit of fifteen life-sized versions of the most popular action folk toys from around the world. This event will take place on June 13th, 2013, during which, participants will design lessons and activities within and across disciplines that teach strategies for nurturing creative and critical thinking in students through project-based learning. Participants will also visit Barrington Living History Farm and Independence Hall, the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Teachers may elect to receive 6 GT or CPE credit hours. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.


Exploring Texas Workshop Series

The Region 4 Education Service Center and the Texas State Historical Association are proud to present the Encountering Texas History Conference, August 12-13, 2013 at the Region 4 Education Service Center in Houston. This event for 4th and 7th grade Texas history educators will focus on the history of Texas from European colonization through Anglo settlement.  Teachers will be able to choose from a variety of breakout sessions addressing historical content, geography, economics, civics, teaching strategies, and resources. For more information on this event, visit TeachingTexas.org. Dates and locations for the 2013-2014 series also include HArlingen, October 12; Dallas, November 7-8; and Austin, January 23-24, 2014. For more information on the Exploring Texas Workshop Series, visit TeachingTexas.org.

Featured Institution

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Digital JFK: Bringing President Kennedy out of the Museum and into the Classroom

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza interprets the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Open since February 1989, the Museum welcomes 350,000 guests a year, making it one of the most popular historic sites in all of Texas. A significant part of the Museum’s audience is made up of school-age visitors. Nearly 53,000 students and youth toured the exhibits or participated in education programs via videoconference in 2012. Visitors come from all over the world to consider the circumstances of President Kennedy’s death, mourn the tragic loss, remember where they were the day it happened, and debate the ongoing legacy of the event.

Part of what makes a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum so memorable is the fact that it is a place of authenticity. Events that changed American history happened here. The Museum’s permanent exhibit is located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository building where investigators found a rifle and shells shortly after shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade on November 22, 1963.

Many people may not know that, in addition to being part of a National Historic Landmark District site, The Sixth Floor Museum is has one of the world’s largest and most significant sources of materials documenting the assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. This actively-growing collection of approximately 40,000 items includes home movies, news footage, photographs, newspapers, artifacts, radio broadcasts, magazines, oral histories, toys, collectibles, presidential campaign and political ephemera, film props, textiles, works of art and other material.

Here are some of the ways these unique resources can be incorporated into classrooms in Dallas and beyond:

The Sixth Floor Museum’s Online Collections Database – Teachers and students can access primary sources related to the 1960 presidential campaign, Dallas in the 1960s, the assassination, subsequent investigations and conspiracy theories, the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, the Cold War and even the Kennedys in pop culture by visit the Museum’s Online Collection Database http://emuseum.jfk.org/ Home movie footage, documents, artifacts and oral history excerpts are just a click away! Teachers are encouraged to use the database’s “My Collections” feature to organize the materials you want your students to explore.

Reading Room – The Reading Room is a research facility overlooking Dealey Plaza that is available by appointment to researchers of all ages seeking information and understanding about the assassination and President Kennedy’s legacy.  The Reading Room provides access to more than 4,000 books, magazines, newspapers and videos. Visit the Reading Room online to schedule an appointment, ask questions of the Museum’s Librarian/Archivist, learn about other Kennedy material in repositories throughout Texas or to explore downloadable Resource Guides with list of resources about topics from Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby to the Warren Commission and the Zapruder Film: http://www.jfk.org/go/reading-room.

Education Resources – Interested in learning about all of The Sixth Floor Museum’s TEKS-aligned education programs, including our award-winning distance learning offerings that bring the Museum to your classrooms? Check out our Educator’s Guide 2012-2013!  In it you will find information about our distance learning programs, tours and onsite programs, outreach offerings and teacher training opportunities!  Download it here: http://www.jfk.org/go/education/teacher-resources

Beginning summer 2013, The Sixth Floor Museum will be asking teachers all over the world to participate in our Lesson Plan Challenge. This effort encourages teachers to use the Museum’s Online Collections Database as inspiration for creating creative, innovative primary source-based lesson plans that help students understand President Kennedy’s ongoing legacy. Resulting lesson plans will be shared on the Museum’s website to assist educators as they teach this transformational historic event.

Contact us!  To participate in the Lesson Plan Challenge or to find out more about the Museum’s educational, research and collections resources, contact the Education Department at 214-747-6660, ext. 5520 or email education@jfk.org


Featured Lesson

As you plan instruction on President John F. Kennedy, make sure to include the lesson, JFK and the Citizens of Fort Worth, developed by the John F. Kennedy Tribute in Fort Worth. In this lesson, students will define and identify leaders who inspire people and analyze photographs of President Kennedy’s visit to Fort Worth on the morning of November 22, 1963. This lesson is one of a unit of lessons available from the JFK Tribute and includes a short biography of JFK, speech and photograph analysis, and requires students to use critical thinking skills to understand the significance of the last two speeches given by the President.

Texas History News

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

Join the Fort Lancaster State Historic Site on May 17-18, 2013 for their Frontier Jubilee. Enjoy free admission to the fort, tours, and access to their interactive exhibits. A barbeque lunch will be provided for a donation by the Friends of Fort Lancaster. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org.


Law-Related Education would like to invite you to attend one of six Institutes on the Founding Documents. Though these institutes are designed for US government and history teachers, there is a correlation to the Texas history TEKS. Institutes will be held over the summer in Rockwall and San Antonio. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.

Join the Institute of Texan Cultures for the 42nd Annual Texas Folk life Festival, June 7-9, 2013.  Experience the delicious cuisine, traditional dances, fine-crafted keepsakes, storytelling, and music of more than 40 ethnic groups at the biggest three-day celebration in Texas. The Texas Folk life Festival is held on the grounds of HemisFair Park in San Antonio. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.


The Texas Council on Economic Education is proud to present the 2013 TCEE Smarter Texas Conference.  This two day event will be held on June 20-21, 2013 at the Hotel Contessa on the San Antonio Riverwalk. K-12 educators will share ideas and learn teaching methods which will result in greater student understanding and success in personal financial literacy, economics, and entrepreneurship. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.

Humanities Texas is inviting teachers to submit a description of how they have incorporated the Texas originals radio series into a lesson or an end-of-year assignment for a chance to $100, a set of their limited edition mugs, and to be featured on the Humanities Texas website. For more information on the Texas Original radio series, visit TeachingTexas.org. For more information on the End of Year Project Competition, visit the Humanities Texas Website.


The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is proud to present the John F. Kennedy, Dallas and the Struggle for Civil Rights teacher training institute, July 29 – August 2, 2013. This institute is designed for Texas social studies teachers to expand their understanding of the Kennedy assassination by exploring the civil rights context for President Kennedy’s trip to Texas in November 1963. For more information on how to apply for this institute, visit TeachingTexas.org.

Join Law-Related Education at one of four two day teacher workshops, Being an American: Exploring the Ideals that Unite Us. This 12 credit hour workshop is for any secondary teacher who would like to explore materials which show the significance of America’s founding and civic values. Workshops will be held over the summer, in Edinburg, Waco, Amarillo, and Abilene. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.


The University of Texas at Austin is offering six - four day, AP Summer Institutes for social studies teachers at the Thompson Conference Center on the UT main campus.  Institutes begin on June 10 and will continue until August 1, 2013. Participants will earn 30 credit hours of training.  Visit TeachingTexas.org for additional information.

Join The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza for one of many presentations as a part of the 2013 Living History Series. This series commemorates the life, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy with stories from those who witnessed the assassination or other historic events, related to JFK, of the early 1960s. This monthly series links the past to the present though firsthand accounts from reporters, law enforcement officials, doctors, military personnel and everyday citizens who witnessed or, in some cases, made history. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.


Join the Institute of Texan Cultures for the Teaching through Music and Culture event, led by the University of Texas at San Antonio faculty and the Education Specialists at the ITC. This event will be held July 23-25, 2013 and will focus on the use of music to explore topics in Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Social Studies, Geography, and the Arts. The three day institute will provide participants with a variety of strategies, lessons, tools, and resources. Visit TeachingTexas.org for additional information.

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  


Bookmark and Share