March 10, 2003

Health & safety

“Emergency Planning” is a one-stop website offering information that can help school leaders plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent incidents, & terrorist acts. Excerpts from a soon-to-be-published model “emergency response” crisis management plan" are also available. (ED, HS)

Language arts

“Middle English Texts” offers lyrics, tales, & other Middle English works (1350-1485) that occupy an important place in the literary & cultural canon but that are not readily available in student editions. More than 250 texts are online, including The Greene Knight, The Prophecy of Merlin, The Death of Robin Hood, Robyn Hod the Shryff off Notyngham. Each text is supplemented with an introduction & notes. (NEH)

Social studies

“American Revolutionary War: Morristown National Historic Park” describes the mansion and environs where General Washington & his aides were headquartered for 200 days. It was here in the Ford Mansion that he met with officers, scouts, spies, statesmen, and foreign diplomats. His troops — the Continental Army of over 10,000 soldiers — were encamped on the windswept hills & farmland nearby, where they built a log-house cityof more than 1,000 structures. Washington had selected this site in Morristown, NJ, for strategic reasons. From here, he could keep an eye on the British wintering in & around Manhattan sland. He could guard roads that connected New England with Philadelphia (the Revolutionary capital) & move troops swiftly to any threatened point. Also, Morristown’s rugged hills & mountains & broad swamps provided a defensive advantage. (NPS,MMP)

"The Battle of Midway: Turning the Tide in the Pacific examines a pivotal World War II battle. In the spring of 1942, after victories in the Pacific & southeast Asia, Japan was preparing to establish a toehold in the Aleutian Islands, occupy & convert Midway into an air base for invading Hawaii, & lure the U.S. Pacific Fleet into a final battle & finish it off. The Japanese fleet depended on radio codes that codebreakers in Hawaii & Washington, D.C., worked around the clock to interpret. This website tells how they broke the code & how the U.S. Pacific Fleet ended Japan’s seemingly< unstoppable advance across the Pacific. (NPS,NRHP)

“The Battle of Glorieta Pass: A Shattered Dream” examines the Civil War battle known as the "Gettysburg of the West.& Texans invaded this mountain valley, intent on conquering New Mexico. Victory here would be a necessary prelude to detaching the western states from the Union & expanding the Confederacy to the Pacific Ocean. They were met along the canyon & ridge on March 26, 1862, by volunteers from Colorado. A three-day battle ensued, culminating with the Confederates retreating to Texas &a Confederacy hopes of expanding west shattered. (NPS,NRHP)

"The Emerald Necklace: Boston’s Green Connection" recounts the creation of a series of parks in Boston in the 1880s. At that time, Boston was crammed with buildings & people. It was overcrowded, noisy, & dirty. City officials, concerned about the health & well-being of Bostonians, hired Frederick Law Olmsted, who had designed Central Park in New York, to create a park system. He developed & wove together a series of small parks — gardens, waterways, meadows, tree museums, & others — into what became known as Boston’s Emerald Necklace. (NPS,NRHP)

“Mount Auburn Cemetery: A New American Landscape” describes the country’s first large-scale designed landscape open to the public. The cemetery, established four miles outside Boston in 1831, stood in stark contrast to the barren, crowded burial grounds in the city. Providing ample space in a tranquil, natural setting, Mount Auburn attracted not only mourners, but city dwellers wanting to experience nature, as well as tourists & students. It inspired many offspring — other rural cemeteries, the first public parks, & the first designed suburbs in the 19th century. It marked a major shift in the way we bury our dead. (NPS,NRHP)

“Papers of Jefferson Davis” features more than 40 letters & speeches written by the man best known as president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Davis was also a Mexican War hero, member of the Senate & House of Representatives, & secretary of war under Franklin Pierce. After the Civil War he became a symbol of the Lost Cause. The website provides extensive information on Davis & his family & numerous images. (NEH)

“Saratoga: The Tide Turns on the Frontier” examines the turning point in the American Revolution: two battles that demonstrated to France that the ragtag Continental Army could win against Britain’s better trained, disciplined troops. Within months of the Battles of Saratoga, France signed accords with Ben Franklin & other American envoys in Paris recognizing America’s Declaration of inndependence & pledging full military & financial support. France’s allies, Spain & Holland, also entered the conflict in support of the U.S. The victory at Saratoga turned the American Revolution into a global war that Britain could not win. (NPS,NRHP)

“Savannah, Georgia: The Lasting Legacy of Colonial City Planning” describes the establishing of Georgia as a colony in America & the design of the settlement. When a friend in jail for debt died there, General James Oglethorpe, a member of the House of Commons, asked Parliament for an investigation into the suffering of debtors in London jails. A committee concluded that a colony should be established in America for the poor. Oglethorpe led a sea voyage of 114 men, women, & children who< hoped for a better opportunity in America. He also designed the settlement layout to reflect both egalitarian principles & classical standards of fortress construction. Savannah remains one of the few surviving colonial city plans in the U.S. (NPS,NRHP)

“Thomas Jefferson’s Plan for the University of Virginia: Lessons from the Lawn” tells the story of the creation of the University of Virginia. After serving as President, Jefferson continued advocating for a statewide system of education in Virginia, hoping to extend education beyond the elite to the common man. Although the Virginia legislature refused to fund a plan for primary & secondary education, when it approved funding in 1818 to establish a state university, Jefferson immediately drew architectural plans for his ideal university. It would be "an academical village" where professors would have their own separate houses (“pavilions”). The curriculum would focus on scientific knowledge, unlike at other universities, where preparation of clergy for the church was the focus. The library would be located at the center of the university — a revolutionary concept because libraries were not important features of other institutions where learning was based on students’ recitation of facts memorized from professors’ lectures. When construction at the site in the countryside west of Charlottesville began, Jefferson made the four-mile trip on horseback from his home, Monticello, almost every day to oversee the work. The importance Jefferson attached to this work was reflected in the epitaph he wrote for his grave marker. He omitted the fact that he’d served as President of the U.S., noting instead that he was author of the Declaration of Independence, author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, & father of the University of Virginia.


“Thurmond: A Town Born from Coal Mines & Railroads” recounts the story of the New River Gorge area in West Virginia. It is mountainous & remained sparsely populated & largely inaccessible until 1873, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company laid track through the gorge. Coal mining companies, towns, & camps appeared almost overnight to mine the coal deposits. One of these towns, the railroading town of Thurmond, reached its peak as the major revenue producer for the C&O Railroad during the early 1900s — a time when coal was king.


“Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site: Monument to the Gilded Age” describes this Hyde Park estate that includes a palatial Beaux-Arts mansion, stunning views of the Hudson River & Catskill Mountains, & over 600 acres of landscaped property. The mansion was built in 1895-8 by Frederick Vanderbilt, an heir of the fortune created by Cornelius & Commodore" Vanderbilt. Cornelius, at the age of 16, borrowed $100 from his parents, purchased a periauger (a flat-bottomed sailing barge), & began a ferry service now known as the Staten Island Ferry. Cornelius built a shipping empire, bought up small railroads, & at his death in 1877, was worth $105 million, a larger sum than in the U.S. Treasury at the time. Heirs to his fortune, including grandson Frederick, lived like European royalty, redefining what it meant to be rich in America. The Hyde Park estate came to symbolize the enormous wealth accumulated by a privileged few during the Gilded Age.



ED — Department of Education

HS — Department of Homeland Security

NEH — National Endowment for the Humanities

NPS,MMP — National Park Service, Museum Management Program NPS,NRHP — National

Park Service, Nat. Register of Historic Places NSF — National Science Foundation