Minecraft and Primary Sources at the National Council for Social Studies

Minecraft Presentation: NCSS Presentation

EdWeek Writeup on Minecraft: EdWeek Article


Where to start. Minecraft is the jewel in many a student eye and a nightmare to many a parent and teacher who know that students live for this tool. Harnessing the power of this tool and primary sources began a fruitful collaboration between the History Colorado Preservation Education Team and Hulstrom Options School in Adams 12 School District. 

Using historic places and National Register nominations, students researched historic places in their state of Colorado and put their research and building skills to use using Adobe and Minecraft.  the results continue to be worked on and samples are below. The project met state and national standards in Social Studies as well as ISTE(s) and ISTE(t) standards and resulted in student understandings around the significance of historic places, building architecture, and cultural heritage.

Resources for Supporting Minecraft in the Classroom: 

Presentation: NCSS Presentation
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/
Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/
National Trust for Historic Preservation: National Trust Website
Your Local State Historic Preservation Office: (SHPO) SHPO Offices

Examples of Using This Tool With Primary Sources:

Below are links to lesson plans, student examples and ideas for using Minecraft in your classroom with Primary Sources.  We focused on Colorado Historic Places!

Student Examples of Finished Projects Pinned on a Google Map


CAL Gets Geeky!

Colorado Association
of Libraries 
2015 Conference

We are excited to be part of the 2015 CAL Colorado Association of Libraries Conference in Loveland, Colorado!  Collaboration is our game, and as a teacher-librarian team we believe in sharing what works in the classroom and beyond.

Check out the links below for ideas using social media that can empower your programming, engage students and the public in the classroom and library, and build capacity in a staff while supporting critical outreach.

Resource Links: 

Want to engage with more technology ideas and collaborate? Check out the Teaching With Primary Sources Program Teacher Librarian Days here: 

Teaching Strategies: 


My Way: Curating Knowledge Through the Use of Authentic Primary Sources

Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration
Library of Congress Panoramic Photos

Connecting students to historic places, time, eras, and their world is easier using primary sources. Join in the inquiry and let students explore in the classroom! 

Resources for the use of primary sources in the classroom from today's presentation: 

Library Of Congress Primary Sources Panoramic Photographs: 

Other Primary Sources Ideas: 


USS Colorado: Honored Service

Teachers participated in a two day series of events studying the USS Colorado and preparing for the launch of the new USS Colorado Submarine which will be placed into service in 2016.

Members from the USS Colorado Commissioning Committee, Teaching with Primary Sources Colorado program, History Colorado, and the Denver Post Newspapers in Education program brought teachers together to study the history of the USS Colorado along with literacy strategies and technology strategies for the classroom. Along with this classroom instruction- scholars shared information about the USS Colorado in history through the use of Google Hangouts.

The Two Geeks were happy to support this effort and honor not only the legacy of the USS Colorado, but also the future of Colorado's namesake submarine.

Resources for the classroom can be found here:

Google Hangouts on the USS Colorado, literacy strategies, and other topics can be located here:

The USS Colorado website from our partners is located here:


Ludlow Teaching Resources: Examining Labor in Colorado History With Primary Sources and Historic Place

Historic Ludlow Resources
Teaching with Primary Sources and Historic Places

Denver Post Newspapers in Education, Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources, History Colorado 

Compilation of resources from the Ludlow teaching experience
(Almost all resources can be found on this site for reference):

Specific Resources:

Google Hangouts:

Ludlow Research (History Colorado  and Professor Thomas Andrews)

Ludlow Historic Site (United Mine Workers)

Ludlow Centennial Commission:

Teaching with Primary Sources Collaborative Wiki:

Partner Contact Information:

Denver Post NIE Program:

TPS Colorado Program:

History Colorado Educator Resources:


Colorado Education Initiative Showcase 2015

Two Geeky Teachers and the Colorado Education Association are proud to be part of the Colorado Education Initiative Showcase this summer. We are pleased to be able to share innovative ideas for teaching and learning that focus on meaningful learning, time to teach effectively, and the integration of technology and literacy strategies to allow students to reach their true potential in an authentic learning environment.

We are all about the sharing so here are some more resources to use in your classroom:

250 Ways to Use Primary Sources in the Classroom

21st Century Learning Livebinder

20 Technology Tool SLAM

Presentation CEI Showcase 2015


Kahoot and Primary Sources! It's a Hoot!

We finished a unit where students studied one person who was influential in the founding of our colorful Colorado!  The students studied and dressed up to represent their Coloradoan.  Parents came to celebrate with us and listen to these wonderful wax museum presentations.  At the end of the evening, we challenged the parents to a Kahoot about these important Colorado people.  It was the most successful event ever and parents were very engaged and even commented on social media about how fun it was.  Here are a few screenshots of the game, primary sources and how we utilized it.   Parents just went to the website Kahoot.it and typed in the code and a nickname.  After every question, the top scorers are listed on the screen.  It makes for an exciting game show style quiz format.  Try Kahoot!   Here is a link to their Blog for a few more ideas!


Geeking It Out With the Colorado Wyoming Museum Association

When you are a geek
You tend to find a geek,
And end up brainstorming with a geek,
Because geeks love tech and historic places...

But it doesn't end there because then you have to ....
Hit the road with a geek,
All to share what we love with museums and historic sites at CWAM!

To learn more about the tools we are sharing at the Colorado Wyoming Museum Association click here:

Power Point Presentation

And access our resource page here:

CWAM 2015 Resources and Tools

Contact Information: 

Shannon Haltiwanger:   Shannon.haltiwanger@state.co.us @shahalti
Michelle Pearson: Michelle.pearson@state.co.us @tchpreservation



We are tickled pink to once again join one of our favorite Geeky crowds at #TLD2015!  

Follow #TLD2015 for great conversations on #edchat #techchat #sschat

Well we started with 10 ideas and once we multiplied it with primary sources we loved, and great tools to use, we ended up with over 250 ideas for using primary sources in the classroom! History, Art, Historic Preservation, Science...it's all there!

We are deeply proud to be part of the team from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Regional Center in Colorado who are presenting in Boston and will be tweeting out resources this week (and next) to showcase ideas on how to merge Web 2.0 and Social Media tools with the rich collections and digital resources from the Library of Congress.

If you don't know about the Library of Congress TPS program check out their links here: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/tps/

Here's a list of great tools and ideas! Check some of them out and bring non-fiction, primary sources, critical thinking, and 21st century skills into your classroom!Check out the links below for social studies, literacy, student engagement, science, math, art, architecture, and historic preservation ideas using primary sources from the Library of Congress (LOC.gov )

Enjoy...and ask questions and contribute your thoughts at #psgeek and todaysmeet.com/psgeek. We will be answering and continuing to share! 

Teaching Strategies: 

We brainstormed, piloted, tried them out, and worked together on harnessing the power of Web 2.0 Tools and Social Media to bring learning alive with primary sources! Each link will take you to a page filled with resources and ideas using that particular tool and primary sources you select. 


A Day of Remembrance : Executive Order 9066

Today is a day to remember for many reasons.

Feb 19, 1942 was the day Executive Order 9066 was issued ~ changing the lives of many Coloradans and Americans nationwide and setting the stage for the establishment of Japanese American Internment Camps. Although views differ on the issue, it is critical to discuss. Primary sources and resources from many education and preservation  entities can assist in your delivery of instruction around the topic.  An annotated list of resources is here as a beginning list of sources, not as an inclusive list. Check out the following for primary sources and resources as you work with your students:

History Colorado offers an Amache online interactive badge and exhibit for students and educators including a view of the events leading up to the order, after the order, and internment at Amache in Colorado. Check out the resources here: http://exhibits.historycolorado.org/amache/amache_home.html

As you discuss WWII and the affects on Colorado and national history, check out these resources from the Colorado Virtual Library to bring a view of this event to your students through a Colorado lens: http://coloradovirtuallibrary.org/blog/executive-order-9066

The Department of Anthropology at University of Denver supports research programming around Amache and the research is ongoing. Their portfolio page has great resources for anthropology and archaeology discussions: https://portfolio.du.edu/amache

Collaborative groups in Colorado work to preserve and protect the historical resources at Amache and the stories associated with this time in history. For more information on this critical work visit: http://www.amache.org/project-team/

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program and our nation's library offer great resources on teaching about this time in history:

Internment Lesson
Internment During WWII Primary Source Set

The National Park Service preserves and protects our resources in Colorado and the western states regarding Japanese Internment. Their work is outstanding! Find resources about their projects here: http://www.nps.gov/jacs/


Real World Meets Virtual: 25 Tools to Share Your Story

Two Geeky Teachers, the History Colorado Communications team, and State Historic Fund staff are pleased to join Colorado Preservation Inc. at the Saving Places Conference to discuss sharing your preservation and education message with the community through the use of social media and Web 2.0 tools.

To access our interactive spreadsheet click here: Tools and More Tools! 

For a link to our presentation slides click here: Presentation

To contact us email us at:

SHF Preservation Education:  michelle.pearson@state.co.us
SHF Communications: shannon.haltiwanger@state.co.us
History Colorado Digital Media:  todd.wolfe@stat.co.us

We would love to support your work! Drop us a line and let us know how to help!