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Teaching about the American West: Vaqueros

May 6, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Cowboys are found in many countries around the world. In Chile, they are called huasos, in Argentina gauchos, in Australia jackeroos, and in Venezuela llaneros. The original cowboys in North America were Spanish and were called vaqueros. They were very skilled in driving and handling the long-horned cattle that they introduced to on the continent in the seventeenth century. As with the black cowboys, Mexican cowboys also faced discrimination, earning less pay and being prevented from advancing to foreman or trail boss.

Teaching about the American West: Cowgirls

May 4, 2021 By Kay Gandy

While their urban counterparts were restricted to more traditional female roles in the late 1800’s, women of the American West were roping and riding broncs. The term “cowgirl” first appeared in print by the early 1890s. Daughters of pioneer ranchers grew up riding and roping along with their brothers because on small ranches, everyone helped with the cattle. Attitudes of the day deemed it improper for a woman to dress and ride like a man, so many women wore full skirts and rode sidesaddle. During the Wild West shows, women first appeared as competitors with women like sharpshooter Annie Oakley, bronc rider Bertha Blancett, and steer-roper Mabel Strickland.

Teaching about the American West: Native Americans as Cowboys

April 29, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Dime-store novels and Wild West television shows helped construct the stereotypical images of the “white” cowboy and the red-skinned Indian “savages.” As the West was often portrayed as a battlefield between these two groups, it may be difficult for students to understand that so-called Indians were often also cowboys. However, this narrative of the Wild West is incomplete, and teachers can easily rectify this by teaching about the indigenous experience during this westward expansion period. Early Spanish missionaries actually trained Native Americans as cattle herders, leading many indigenous peoples to adopt ranching into their economies.

Teaching about the American West: Black Cowboys

April 27, 2021 By Kay Gandy

The cowboy is viewed as an American icon: rugged rider of the range; champion of the good. Yet our understanding of cowboys has, for the most part, been informed by movies and television shows. Cowboy culture and history are a product of diverse men and women of all backgrounds; therefore, it is important for teachers to expose students to the varied cultures that influenced the American West.

How Congressional COVID Funding Could Impact Your District

April 19, 2021 By Monet Hendricks

Billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 recovery funds are flowing to American schools.

Teaching History through Ceramic Tiles

April 5, 2021 By Kay Gandy

Clay has been used for many things throughout history, including writing surfaces, money, cooking vessels, and building materials. Archaeologists use ceramics as a tool for dating cultures, which can be impactful to note in the social studies classroom. Teaching the evolution of tiles, ceramics, and clay throughout various cultures can inform students about how civilizations utilized these materials and advanced throughout history.

Supporting Students with Social Emotional Initiatives during COVID-19

March 30, 2021 By Sheree Turner, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how we have approached educating children.

3 Concepts to Consider When Analyzing Primary Source Photographs

March 25, 2021 By Cynthia Resor

“The camera doesn’t lie” is often assumed to be true about historical photographs, even though we know that maxim is certainly not true in the twenty-first century. This phrase first began to be used in the late nineteenth century when new technology allowed photographs to be printed in books, magazines, and newspapers.

How Big Data Will Transform Social Studies in the Future

March 18, 2021 By Melina Casey

In the era of big data, social studies classrooms are being transformed in different ways. For starters big data is blurring the lines between the social sciences, the humanities, and higher mathematics. By unlocking the deep data on civics, history, sociology, and other areas, the field of big data is enabling streamlined data processing and analytics in modern social studies classrooms. But before we dive deeper into that, let’s take a closer look at the growing field of big data itself.

25 Trailblazers to Celebrate This Women's History Month

March 15, 2021 By Monet Hendricks

March marks Women’s History Month, which is a whole month to celebrate the specific achievements made by women throughout history.