Improve the reading of your students by helping them to develop background knowledge. Share an event with your students based on each day in history. Check out the links to related free resources to help with your lesson.
Included May 9-17: Crown Jewels, FBI, Euro, Donner Party, Louis Armstrong, US Constitution, Gasoline Rationing, China Cultural Revolution
May 9–Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman attempts to steal the Crown Jewels on May 9, 1671.
The Historic Royal Palaces website has a section with impressive photos of the Crown Jewels.
May 10–J Edgar Hoover is appointed the first Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation on May 10, 1924
fbi.gov has a website which includes a brief history of the bureau, information about past and present directors, famous cases and criminals, a timeline, the history of the FBI headquarters, and more.
May 11–The French mint produced the first batch of Euro coins on May 11, 1998.
A lesson from fte.org (Foundation for Teaching Economics) offers an engaging lesson on the Euro. The activity requires some prep and accumulating some things such as candy, soda, pencils, stickers, extra credit points, free test questions, homework excuse, currency (blackened masters supplied), and tent signs.
Students are given one of the three colors of currency. No student should have more than one color for the first two rounds. Using the rules outlined in the lesson plan, students will explore the concept of transaction costs. In the second round, a bank exchange is added. The third round contains a common currency. Discussion and debriefing guidelines are included.
May 12–The Donner Party left Independence on May 12, 1846.
A map of the Donner party may be found here. Click on the icons and a short description will appear. A timeline may be found here. Excerpts from the diary of Patrick Green, a Donner party member, can be found here.
May 13–Louis Armstrong recorded When the Saints Go Marching In” on May 13, 1838.
National Museum of American History has a Louis’ Education Kit. Clicking on Louis’ Music Class provides audio recordings of several of his famous recordings. An outline of each recording explaining what the students should look for when listening to the audio is included. (The 4th song, “What A Wonderful World” includes a writing prompt based on the student describing their “Wonderful World.”
May 14–Delegates gather in Philadelphia to draw up the US Constitution on May 14, 1787.
A lesson from PBS Newshour Extra provides a good introduction for a study of the constitution. The teacher deceives students by telling them she has something critical to do and she cannot be bothered for 15 minutes. While she is “not to be interrupted” the students are supposed to come up with six classroom rules the students and teacher must abide by. As students work, the teacher takes notes of the process. Debrief by discussing the process of making their constitution.
The lesson includes background handouts, a TED Ed video clip, another video lesson and discussion questions.
May 15–Seventeen states put gasoline rationing into effect on May 15, 1942.
The Ames History Museum has an online exhibit on World War II rationing. It includes pictures of rationing books, explanations of rationing for food, fuel, and products. A set of instructions that came with ration books will help explain the rules of the restrictions.
May 16–The Communist Party of China issues the May 16 notification marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
The BBC has a short (2 min 45 second) video explaining the cultural revolution which led to the Red Guards, persecuting the “old” way of thought.
May 17– The US Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education on On May 17, 1954.
A 5 minute video explains the history of the Brown v Board of Education by PBS. NPR offers an audio interview (8 min) with Dale Cushinberry who was a student an an all-black school in Topeka during the 1950s.