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Eric Sandweiss
Editor, Indiana Magazine of History

Last modified: Thursday, November 15, 2007

New online resource for teaching Indiana history available

Indiana Magazine of History brings history to life for teachers and students

Nov. 15, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana Magazine of History has recorded and archived hundreds of voices from the past in the form of diaries, letters, memoirs, photos and other historical documents. Now, journal editors have added an "IMH for Teachers" tab to the magazine's Web site to give Indiana teachers and their students access to those materials along with a series of original lesson plans, geared for both primary- and secondary-school classrooms.

Indiana Magazine of History

"The IMH has been publishing research on Indiana's history for more than a century," said Eric Sandweiss, the Carmony Chair of History at Indiana University Bloomington and editor of Indiana Magazine of History. "With this program we're able to get lesson plans directly into the hands of Hoosier teachers, who want primary materials that can make history come alive for their students."

The lesson plans examine Indiana events, experiences and personalities through a variety of activities. Each lesson plan is downloadable and is keyed to Indiana state teaching standards for specific grade levels. They include a historical summary of provided material, a list of learning objectives, instructions, all necessary texts, photos and work sheets, and links to other sources.

For example, fourth-grade teachers of social studies can access a complete lesson plan on the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley by choosing the link titled "Modern Period (1920-Present)" at the Web site and selecting the appropriate grade level. There, along with the text for Riley's "The Old Swimmin' Hole," they will find historical material to place into context for that era the role of poets and writers as entertainers who often presented pubic recitations. Follow up questions relating Riley to that social studies aspect reside along side those that focus on teaching English -- his identity as the "Hoosier Poet," and his use of rural dialect and experiences to describe the images of childhood and the memories of adulthood.

A Civil War lesson plan, found under the "Civil War Era and Reconstruction" link, introduces eighth-grade social studies students to the realities of camp life and the challenges soldiers faced in a lesson plan titled, "The Life of a Hoosier Soldier." Among the lesson materials are letters written by a Hoosier soldier, Lt. John V. Hadley, to his sweetheart in Indiana's Owen county. "Alvan Montgomery was the one killed in our Company," Hadley wrote in one letter. "Receiving the ball he turned round to me and said, 'Here goes' -- laid gently down -- rested his head on his left arm -- laid his gun by his right side & without speaking a word or moving a limb he shut his eyes & died." Twelfth graders, instead, might study "The Underground Railroad" or "Civil War Political Cartoons."

The lesson plans, divided by historical periods representing pre-1770 to the present and grade levels, can be found at In addition to the modern era and that of the Civil War, historical periods from which teachers can choose lesson plans include: "Native Americans and European Arrival," "American Revolution and Territorial Period," "Statehood and Development," and "Growth and Development."

The lesson plans were developed by Indiana teachers in consultation with the staff of the IMH. More content will be added to the site as it becomes available. Questions and comments can be directed to the IMH editorial offices at 812-855-4139 or to