Pope Urban II Orders the First Crusade

On this day in 1095, Pope Urban II called for Christian princes across Europe to launch a war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, promising to all those who went forgiveness of their sins and to all who died in the expedition immediate entry into heaven. Between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban's call to march on Jerusalem. After gaining control of the city in July 1099, the Crusaders set up several Latin Christian states. It was, however, a short victory. Less than fifty years later, Muslims once again conquered Jerusalem. All told, Europe launched a total of seven major Crusades over nearly 200 years.

For more information about the Middle Ages and the Crusades, try the following resources:


Howard Carter Enters King Tut's Tomb

On this day in 1922, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon looked into Egyptian king Tutankhamun’s for the first time in more than 3000 years. The sealed burial chambers were intact, and inside was a collection of several thousand priceless objects, including a gold coffin containing the mummy of the teenage king. The clearance of the tomb with its thousands of objects continued for nearly a decade, and sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt.

For more information on King Tutankhamun and ancient Egypt, try the following resources:


National Day of Listening

cc Licenced Flickr Photo shared by Matthew Clements

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the third annual the National Day of Listening. And while the observance is an unofficial one started by NPR's StoryCorps, it does serve as a reminder to take the time to record the stories of our families and friends. It is also the perfect opportunity for teachers to think about how to use oral histories in their classrooms.

There are a number of online teachers' guides for conducting an oral history project, including Using Oral History (Library of Congress), What Is Oral History (History Matters), and Gathering the Forgotten Voices (Tulane University). In addition, StoryCorps has also developed a list of Great Questions that can be adapted for a classroom oral history project.

To find oral history projects available on the internet, try the following resources:


Happy Thanksgiving

This seems to be the appropriate time to share information about one very peculiar American tradition, the presidential pardon of the Thanksgiving turkey. Earlier today, President Obama pardoned a pair 45 pound birds named "Liberty" and "Peace." They were chosen from a group of 30 turkeys raised by student members of the Future Farmers of America in Willmar, Minnesota. After the ceremony, the pair were retired to George Washington's historic home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia.

I couldn't resist adding this clip from The West Wing, just for fun. All in all, Martin Sheen's President Bartlet does a pretty good jump of summing up the unique event. And if your Thanksgiving needs more President Bartlet, watch him interrogate the operator at Butterball Hotline.

For more information Thanksgiving, as well as the actual presidential turkey, try the following resources:


2011 Edublog Award Nominations

I read a lot of blogs and would like to thank each and every one of the educators around the world who take the time to share their resources and to challenge my thinking every day. Here is the chance to get to know a few of them:

My nominations for The 2011 Edublog Awards are:


The Gettysburg Address

One hundred forty eight years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his now iconic Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Pennsylvania. Just four and a half month before, the site had been the scene of the battle with the largest number of casualties in the Civil War. And on that day, in just over two minutes, Lincoln was able to redefine the war as a struggle not merely for the Union, but also as a fight to ensure that the American "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

To learn more about Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, try the following resources:


The History of Veterans' Day


The Berlin Wall Opens

To learn more about the Berlin Wall, try the following resources:


7 Billion & Counting

To learn more about this population milestone & the challenges it presents, try the following resources:

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