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Heroes Make History Come Alive, Teachers Told

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle (Bozeman, MT) , June 21, 2005


Kids are hungry for heroes, and telling stories like that about real heroes is a great way to make American history come alive, said Dennis Denenberg, author and retired education professor from Millersville University in Lancaster, Penn.

He spoke to two dozen Gallatin County school teachers who are learning how to use biography and storytelling to teach U.S. history.

Here's an example:

Two years after defeating the English army, George Washington faced a new danger -- his own Continental Army officers were threatening to revolt unless they received their long-promised pay from Congress.

Washington gathered his officers to read a letter from Congress. The men were shocked when the general, a man they adored and whom many wished to make a king, pulled out his glasses, which they had not seen before. "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles," Washington said, "for I have grown not only gray but almost blind in the service of my country."

Chastened and moved to tears, the officers agreed to give Congress more time to pay them.

Two projects are under way in Bozeman this summer to improve teaching of American history, both made possible by grants of nearly $1 million from the U.S. Education Department.

Subjects Covered: education

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