March 2016 - History Gal

What Happened Today in April?

April 1, 1923

The Beer Hall Putsch helped Hitler rise to power in Germany. Read a primary account of the coup.

April 2, 1513

Ponce de Leon discovered Florida. Go to the Mariner's Museum to learn more about Ponce de Leon and the age of exploration. 

April 3, 1882

Jesse James was killed. Go to the Biography Channel  to read or watch a video about about his life and his death.

April 4, 1968

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Visit the National Archives to read primary sources from the Report of the Select Committee on the Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives.

April 5, 1951

The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death for spying. Read the FBI article about the Atom Spy Case or visit this site about their trial.


April 6, 1917

The United Stated entered World War I. Read Wilson's message to Congress.

April 7, 1994

Rwandan Genocide began. Read the BBC report that explains how 800,000 people were killed in 100 days.

April 8, 1935

WPA was established by Congress. Download this PDF from the FDR Presidential Library about the WPA.

April 9, 1865

Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Read a primary account of the surrender.

April 10, 1970

The Beatles break up. Read the Rolling Stones article about why the band broke up. Don't know who the Beatles are? Go to their site and listen to some of their music.

April 11, 1814

Napoleon was exiled to Elba. Read 6 reasons why exile to Elba isn't that bad.

April 12, 1864

Fort Pillow Massacre occurred. Watch this video to learn more.

April 13, 1919

Amritsar Massacre occurred. Read an article from The Telegraph about the massacre and why it is such a low point in British history.

April 14, 1912

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and later sinks in the icy North Atlantic. Visit National Geographic to view pictures of the sunken ship, see the crash scene, and more.

April 15, 1947

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Visit PBS to learn more.

April 16, 1917

Lenin returned to Russia. Visit a timeline of Lenin's life. Be sure to click on some of the primary source documents!

April 17, 1970

Apollo 13 returned to earth. Go to the National Air and Space Museum to learn about this successful failure.

April 18, 1906

A massive earthquake shook San Francisco. Just how big was the quake? Visit USGS' site about the destructive quake.

April 19, 1775

The American Revolution began. Go to the Library of Congress and investigate what happened.


April 20, 1999

Mass shooting at Columbine High School rocked the nation. Listen to a NPR story with Sue Klebold.

April 21, 1918

The Red Baron was killed in action. Who was he and how did he die? Click here to learn!

April 22, 1970

The first Earth Day was held. How can you help the environment? The EPA has some suggestions for you!

April 23, 1954

Hank Aaron hit his first career home run. Go to the Biography Channel and watch a short video about this amazing baseball player.

April 24, 1916

Easter Rising in Dublin began. Go to the BBC to learn about this movement.

April 25, 1719

The novel, Robinson Crusoe was published. You can read the ebook here or watch this video.

April 26, 1986

Nuclear accident at Chernobyl made the area a ghost town. Click here for some background on the disaster and then watch this video with footage from 2014.

April 27, 1773

The British Parliament passed the Tea Act. Look over the primary sources at the Library of Congress.

April 28, 1967

Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted. Read this New York Times article to learn why.

April 29, 1992

Police officers were acquitted in the Rodney King case and riots break out. Go to Frontline and read their interviews with key people from the case.

April 30, 1945

Hitler committed suicide. Read the Time magazine article about his death.

If you enjoyed this post, you should sign up for my monthly newsletter for more great ideas, tips, and exclusive freebies!

Want more Today in History posts? Check out these!

4 Ways to Incorporate the Men's College Basketball Tournament into Your Social Studies Class

by History Gal

I live in the middle of a college basketball mecca. People around here go crazy for their favorite college team and students are no exception. The men's college basketball tournament kicks off today at noon. Students will sneak out their cell phones and even teachers will have the games streaming on their computers to see if UNC Wilmington knocks off the either loved or hated Duke University. Instead of ignoring the elephant in the room, I decided to embrace the tournament.

Here are some things that you might like to try:

#1 - Make copies of a printable bracket and let students fill out their brackets with a pen or something not erasable. I do not allow cross-outs. If they mess up, they have to re-do the bracket. As the tournament progresses, take a few minutes at the beginning of class to update and tally student brackets.

How to Score:
1st Round: 1 point for each correct pick
2nd Round: 2 points for each correct pick
3rd Round: 4 points for each correct pick
4th Round: 8 points for each correct pick
5th Round: 16 points for each correct pick
Final Game: 32 points for correct pick

#2 - Graph Making -  Use the student choices to create graphs showing how many students picked each school in each round. Place the number tallies on the board.  Each round students are challenged to create different types of graphs to show the data.

#3 - Use the tournament as an excuse to squeeze in a geography lesson. Have students label a map of the United States with the states, important bodies of water, and the sites of the tournament games.

By History Gal

 #4 - Use the tournament to reinforce cardinal and ordinal directions by having students write sentences about the locations of the schools in the tournament and where the students live.
By History Gal

I hope you enjoy these activities and enjoy the craziness of the men's college basketball tournament!

 If you enjoyed this post, you should sign up for my monthly newsletter for more great ideas, tips, and exclusive freebies!


Today in History: March Part 2

Musings of a History Gal

March 16, 1850

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter was published. Read the book for free from The Project Gutenberg or just watch this 3 1/2 minute video.


March 17, 461

St. Patrick died. Watch this short video to learn more about him.

March 18, 1766

Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. Visit the Massachusetts Historical Society learn about the Stamp Act, the Stamp Act Crisis, and its repeal and to view primary sources.

March 19, 2003

The War in Iraq began. The National Archives has a wealth of information to examine about the war.

March 20, 1965

President Lyndon Johnson sent troops to Alabama. Why? Visit this NPS site and the National Archives.

March 21, 1980

President Carter announced the U.S. would boycott the Olympics being held in Moscow. Read an article from 1980.  Click here to learn more about why the U.S. boycotted.

March 22, 1933

President Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act signaling an end to Prohibition. Read FDR's letter to Congress.

March 23, 1919

Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party. At the Biography Channel, read his biography or watch the video.


March 24, 1989

The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska triggering a massive oil spill. Go here to learn more.

March 25, 1911

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 145. Visit Cornell University's site or watch a PBS video to learn more about the fire.

March 26, 1953

Jonas Salk announced he had a polio vaccine. Read about it here.

March 27, 1912

Japanese Cherry trees were planted along the Potomac River. Click here to learn the history behind the trees.

March 28, 1979

Nuclear accident occurred at Three Mile Island. The U.S. NRC explains the accident and PBS explains how a nuclear reactor works.


March 29, 1929

President Hoover had the first telephone installed in the Oval Office. There had been a phone in the  White House since 1878, but this was the first time the president could make a call from his own desk. Visit Elon University's history of the phone from 1870s - 1940s.


March 30, 1867

The United States purchased Alaska in what was known as Seward's Folly. Visit the Library of Congress to learn more about the purchase from Russia.


March 31, 1889

The Eiffel Tower opened in Paris. Discover more at the Eiffel Tower's official site.
Click here to view Today in History for March 1- March 15 and to download a FREE worksheet for your students.
If you enjoyed this post, you should sign up for my monthly newsletter for more great ideas, tips, and exclusive freebies!

Today in History: March Part 1

March Today in History Part 1

I admit it. I am a history nerd and I love learning about history. When I taught, I'd love to start the class with a little lesson on what happened this day in history. I'd often pick events that were topics that we didn't necessarily have time to cover during our race to cover the curriculum. I thought others might like to do this too so each month, I'll have a list of events that occurred "Today in History" along with links to great sites you send your students to. I hope you like this new series!


March 1, 1932

Charles Lindbergh III, son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped. Read the FBI file about the case here.

 March 2, 1904

Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born. Check out some of his political cartoons from the World War II era or this video about some of his training videos like Private SNAFU.

March 3, 1820

Congress passes the Missouri Compromise.Visit the Library of Congress for some great primary source material regarding the debates and the passage of the compromise.

March 4, 1944

The execution of Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, the head of Murder, Inc., is carried out. Read about this 1920s and 1930s crime syndicate and then read about the 10 most terrifying members. Want more information? Here's a 45 minute documentary about the syndicate.

March 5, 1770

Boston Massacre occurred. Click here to watch a short History Channel video.
Today in History: March Part 1

March 6, 1475

Italian Renaissance painter, Michelangelo Buonarroti, was born. Read a PBS article about him and view his works.

March 7, 1936

Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. Check out the British National Archives to learn what the British wanted to do.

March 8, 1950

Volkswagen began production of the VW bus. Watch a commercial for it.

March 9, 1841

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Amistad mutiny. Click here, to see what the court ruled. Don't remember what happened? Here's a short article to help you out.

March 10, 1970

Army Captain Ernest Medina and 4 other soldiers were charged with the 1968 My Lai Massacre. Digital History has a summary of the events and lots of primary sources.

March 11, 1818

Mary Shelley published Frankenstein. Haven't read the book? The Project Gutenberg has the ebook just for you! Or just watch this video.

March 12, 2003

Backlash against the Dixie Chicks began. Don't remember that? Here's a little background.

March 13, 1781

Uranus was discovered. Click here to find out why it took so long.

March 14, 1950

The FBI debuted its 10 Most Wanted List. Visit the FBI's anniversary site to learn more.

March 15, 44 BC

Julius Caesar was stabbed to death. Read an account of his death.
Click here for Today in History March 16 - March 31.
If you enjoyed this post, you should sign up for my monthly newsletter for more great ideas, tips, and exclusive freebies!

Back to Top