New Ideas in History and Social Studies:

Local History in the Classroom

May 3, 2018


Registration Form 

Every community has its own unique history, but how do you bring that history into the classroom? Join local and public history experts as they present fresh ideas and on how to integrate your own local history into your curriculum.


 “The Community as Classroom: Local History in the 21st Century”

Stanley Arnold, Ph.D., Associate Professor, NIU Department of History

Dr. Arnold introduces the notion of the community as a primary source. He will focus on different approaches to local history while covering oral history, historic preservation, and institutional collaborations. He will also discuss project ideas for K-12 classes.

 “Including American Indian History in the Classroom”

Natalie Joy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, NIU Department of History

Local history often ignores the presence and persistence of Native Americans. This presentation offers ideas for how to integrate American Indian history into U.S. history classes, with a particular emphasis on the Midwest. Participants will be provided with a list of primary and secondary sources for use in their classrooms.

 “History Detectives: Where to Find Local Primary Source Materials and How to Connect Them to the Curriculum”

Michelle Donahoe, Director of the DeKalb County History Center, and Carol Meeks, 4th Grade Teacher at North Elementary School, Sycamore

Getting students excited about local history opens the door to making connections at the state and even global level. But where do you find those primary sources that engage students with their community? Michelle and Carol will talk about three different local history projects that use primary sources, meet curriculum goals, and generate enthusiasm in the classroom.

 “Going Beyond History: Using Innovation in Local History to Develop Critical Skills”

Rob Glover, Director of the Glidden Homestead, DeKalb

We can use instances of innovation to look at the past as a sequence of solutions. Rob Glover will discuss the four-step framework for understanding innovation, simple ways to structure lessons across historical areas and fields, and educational partnerships that have been successful at Glidden Homestead. He will also show how teachers can build developmentally appropriate and flexible lesson plans that span the Illinois Social Science Standards.

Spotlight on NIU Student Research

Amanda Helfers, NIU graduate-student-at-large

Amanda has a BA in history from NIU and is a graduate-student-at-large pursuing a concentration in public history. She has worked at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum and will discuss her current internship at the St. Charles History Museum.