Monday, September 26, 2011

Columbus Day Resources

This year, Galesburg (IL) District #205 is holding school on Columbus Day. Locally, this has been a somewhat controversial move, but the controversies surrounding an observance or “celebration” of Columbus Day have been around for a great many years. Here are just a few that my classes of 7th graders have struggled with on Social Studies writing assignments and debates:
  • Should we observe the accomplishments of a man who might be considered one of the most successful failures in world history? After all, he never did reach the <East> Indies at all.
  • Should we celebrate the man responsible for bringing slavery and diseases that are responsible for wiping out millions of Native Americans in North and South America?
  • Is it appropriate to lay the blame of genocide, accidental or otherwise, which undeniably followed as a part of the Columbian Exchange, on the shoulders of this one man? Was it instead the entire European society during the Age of Discovery that should bear this responsibility?
All that aside, since many of us are going to be in classrooms this Columbus Day – not just our District, but nation- and world-wide – I thought I’d look for some electronic resources that can help you with your classroom activities. Unfortunately, many perpetuate the old-school promotion of Columbus-the-Hero, but a few take the revisionist Columbus-the-Villain stance. Many would help set up a lively debate amongst your students, expand their world-view, and help them participate in a discussion about global citizenship.
Many of these resources and more can be found on Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day blog, under The Best Online Resources About Christopher Columbus!
Once again, most of these resources and more can be found on Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day blog, under The Best Online Resources About Christopher Columbus! I highly encourage readers to bookmark his site or subscribe to his blog's RSS feed for lots of great links, resources, and ideas!

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