I have yet to make it through a school year without finding at least one or more teachers that do a “this day in history” lesson in their classroom. Usually most of these “lessons” are a simple 5 minutes at the beginning of the day as a student, or the teacher, reads from one of those page-a-day calendars or an e-mail the teacher receives. While I’m a bit of a history buff myself, I decided to see what I could find online about the history of the upcoming holiday on the 4th, Independence Day.
Helpfully enough, I came across the History Channel’s website and a nice little feature they have entitled……yup, you guessed it, “This Day in History.” This isn’t you usual, run of the mill “day in history” feature though. The History Channel’s site allows you to search not only by the specific date (so you don’t have to wait until the day arrives), it also allows you to search by subject of interest. If you’re a racing fan, or just interested in automobile history you can search for any significant automotive events that happened on a particular day. In other words, searching for Automotive history on July 4th will return an article and an image about Richard Petty (a driving legend in the NASCAR world) winning his 200th race at the Firecracker 400, an annual 4th of July NASCAR race.
Likewise, if you’re in a World History class and you want to share with your students significant events about World War II that happened on the first day of school you’d find that on September 8th, 1943 the Italian surrender to the Allies was announced. Other areas of interest ranging from the Old West to Literary history can be found on the site, making it an easy database to navigate. Not interested in a particular area of history? There’s a General Interest category that will give you some general information as well as provide links to each of the other categories and short descriptions of what news can be found in that category from that day in history. There’s even a fantastic daily video broadcast from the History Channel that provides video and audio clips from other events of the day (just have to see a brief commercial to get to the content). An excellent resource for teachers looking for archival footage of 20th century events.
Today’s noteworthy event? Video about Mozart’s lost symphony being played in Washington D.C. For President Reagan in 1981.