Sunday, December 14, 2008
Click on the comments to learn the answer.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
One of our members requested information about good family friendly films that could bring the Space Race alive. We whole heartily recommend the following award-winning, entertaining, and wonderfully accurate films...
Apollo 13 tells the story of Commander James A. Lovell, Command Module pilot John L. "Jack" Swigert, and Lunar Module pilot Fred W. Haise, who launched from earth on April 11, 1970 in the ill-fated Apollo 13. Two days after the launch, an explosion caused by an electrical fault in an oxygen tank crippled the Apollo spacecraft. Despite great hardship caused by severe constraints on power, the crew successfully returned to Earth. The mission was thus called a "Successful Failure." This wonderful film certainly brings that moment to life.
The Right Stuff tells the story of NASA’s Mercury Program, and the seven men chosen to lead the missions, Malcolm Scott Carpenter, “Gordo” Cooper, Jr., John Glenn, “Gus” Grissom, “Wally” Schirra, Alan Shepard, and “Deke” Slayton. Full of brilliant performances, this film will keep you riveted while it educates.
Wonderfully kid friendly, October Sky tells the story of Homer Hickam, son of a West Virginia coal miner who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry, eventually becoming a NASA engineer. While attending Big Creek High School in 1960, he led a group of boys who built rockets. They called themselves the Big Creek Missile Agency and went on to win the National Science Fair and full college scholarships. Perhaps the best historical element of this film is its combination of Space Race dreams with West Virginia coal town reality. This film introduces kids to the concept of company towns in which everyone lived in a company house, sent their kids to a company school, and shopped in a company store. It also gently introduces them to the union movements who objected to so much company contol, and the powerful draw space flight had on everyday Americans at the time.
From Earth to the Moon is a Golden Globe winning twelve episode miniseries that relates the entire space race, from the Mercury and Gemini projects to the legendary Apollo missions. It may not be star studded, but it tells the full story and entertains at the same time.
In the Shadow of the Moon is a wonderful award-winning documentary that brought together the surviving members of NASA's Apollo missions and allowed them to tell their story in their own words. Mixed with archival footage, we get to meet the men who lived the experience and actually walked on the moon.
All of these films are family friendly, and Historybusters Members may download a Historybusters curriculum full of background and fun facts from their members' drop box to make the Space Race Story even more accessible.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
by William Shakespeare
A star-studded production of a literary classic, which also happens to be based on Plutarch and quite historically accurate. For those members who are bored by Shakespeare, we can only add, perhaps you were introduced to him incorrectly. He wrote plays not novel. He is meant to be seen, not read. This production may get your kids hooked on him before they have to read his plays in class.
Although the characters in this History Channel recreation are a bit one dimensional, Desperate Crossing is an effective and entertaining depiction of the journey of the pilgrims, their settlement at Plymouth, and the first Thanksgiving. I did not care for the one sided and overly simplified view of King James, or the politics that first made the Pilgrims flee England. Nor did I care for their cliff note explanation of why the people of the Netherlands developed tolerance. However, they handled the crossing well, and did a find job explaining some of the reasons the Pilgrims were able to develop good relations with the indigenous peoples about to become their new neighbors. I particularly liked their depiction of Squanto and how important he was to the colony’s survival. All in all, I can recommend it for any young person studying the first Thanksgiving. It is very family friendly, and if you happen to have the History Channel, you might want to keep your eye out for it this Thursday with your VCR ready.
1. Start turning you kids into bookworms early. Get them a library pass as soon as they have started school, introduce them to their local children’s librarian, and try to take them there at least once every two weeks. Your local librarian is the best source for recommending age appropriate books that will intrigue your child. Make the library and event and tradition. When I started the seventh grade, my mom began having me walk over to the local library after school. She would pick me up after I had spent an hour finishing up my homework and pouring through their books.
2. Set up a reward system for independent reading. The best age to begin this is approximately ten. By this time, kids read words effectively, but still have difficulty comprehending what they have read. What they need is lots and lots of practice on age appropriate books that they actually find interesting. Give them three months to read five books, and be sure to keep a record of each book as they have finished it. Let them choose the books, but be sure they are age appropriate and just a little challenging. Again, your local children’s librarian should be able to help them chose. If they accomplish their goal of five books, let them have a little family party to celebrate.
3. Keep bed times early, but buy them a bedside light and tell them that they can stay up reading quietly as long as they want.
4. Find a book that is not in the children’s section, which contains a story and character that you think you child will find interesting. Spend some time reading it to them. When you are well into the book and you are pretty sure that your child want to know how it ends, hand them the book ask them to finish it on their own. My mom did this with me. The book was Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave, and it is still one of my all time favorites.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Why do we use November 11 to celebrate our veterans? It was on November 11, 1918 that the Armistice ending WWI officially took effect, beginning on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Celebrated as the war to end all wars, WWI was the first global conflict. Nearly a hundred years and several wars later, Historybusters would like to recommend a few Historybusting gems…
In Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O'Toole gives a star-making performance as T.E. Lawrence, the eccentric British officer who united the desert tribes of Arabia against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. Director David Lean delivers sweeping battle sequences and breathtaking images, but the film is really about the adventures and trials that transform one man into a legend. This film is mature, but family friendly.
Set during World War I, this brutally honest movie was co-written by director Peter Weir. It tells the story of two fictionalized best friends who put aside their hopes and dreams to join the war effort. This film eventually follows them as they enlist and are sent to Gallipoli to fight the Turks. The first half of the film is devoted to their lives and their strong friendship. The second half details the doomed war efforts of the Aussies, who are no match for the powerful and aggressive Turkish army. This film is family friendly, but with mature content.
Produced in 1941, partly as an American call to arms in WWII, Sergeant York is a surprisingly accurate retelling of the life of Sgt. Alvin York, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Much of the script is taken directly from Sgt. York's diary, and York himself served as an advisor throughout the filming. York even chose Gary Cooper to play his character; Cooper returned the favor by giving one of the strongest performances of his career. The story begins before America’s involvement in the war. We meet York in his home state of Tennessee and quickly learn that this world-class sharpshooter is a pacifist. Drafted to fight, he is blocked from killing by his beliefs. The underlying theme of this memorable film concerns how a self-effacing and peaceful man managed to capture a German position single-handedly and save the lives of his fellow soldiers. It contains some mature content.
Behind the Lines
Based upon Pat Barker’s suburb psychological 1991 war novel Regeneration, this extraordinary World War I film is based on true events. It is set in 1917 at a British Army hospital in Craiglockart, Scotland. There we meet a pioneering psychiatrist named Dr. William Rivers and the many soldiers he must heal and send back to the front. It is a unique story about the invisible wounds of war, two visionary poets, and one visionary physician. Family friendly, but with mature content.
Paths to Glory
Based on the semi-fictional novel by Humphrey Cobb, Paths to Glory stars Kirk Douglas in one of his finest roles—Colonel Dax, commander of a battle-worn regiment of the French army serving along the western front during World War I. Held in their trenches under the threat of German artillery, the regiment is ordered on a suicidal mission to capture an enemy stronghold. This suicidal attack is loosely based upon the battle for Fort Douamont during the Battle of Verdun, where over 300,000 French soldiers lost their lives. When the mission inevitably fails, French generals order the selection of three soldiers to be tried and executed on the charge of cowardice. Colonel Dax is chosen to defend them. Paths to Glory contains moderately mature content.
The lost Battalion
This 2001 A&E production starring Rick Schroder, Jamie Harris, Phil McKey, Jay Rodan and Adam James II, tells the true World War I story of an American unit that was surrounded by German troops and bombarded mercilessly by both sides. It portrays the surreal brutalities of a war where carrier pigeons and machine guns were the tools of victory, and creates memorable characters well worth knowing. This is a wonderful depiction of a horrific time; it contains mature content.
If you have never seen Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1943 production of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, get ready for a treat. The main character is based on a popular comic strip character of the time, but the amazing performance of Roger Livesey as the General Clive Wynne-Candy is much more than comic. We first meet the imposingly rotund General as a blustering old duffer serving in WWII. He oozes stuffy, pompous, and outmoded values. However, traveling back 40 years to the beginning of Crimean War, we see a different man altogether: a young and dashing officer nicknamed "Sugar" Candy. Through a series of relationships set against the events of three wars, we come to understand how difficult it is for him to adapt his sense of military honor to modern notions of "total war." Incidentally, this is the film that Winston Churchill tried to have banned because of its sympathetic portrayal of a German officer. Charming in every way, the film is family friendly, with mildly mature content.
To see a complete list of our WWI recommendations, visit Historybusters Store of Knowledge…
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thanks and happy historybusters...
Monday, September 29, 2008
The world’s many Stone Age archeological sites:
Venus figures from the Stone Age:
Paintings, engravings, and sculptures from the Stone Age
Stone Age plants, animals, people, and geography
Stone Age tools and decorative objects
Archeological forgeries, hoaxes and curiosities
Maps of the Earth Children’s Series showing the extent of the last Ice Age and more
Modern Paintings depicting Stone Age life
Thanks and Happy Historybusting...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
We are posting an one-line version of the extended timeline...
You can access it at the following link http://www.navigatinglife.org/historybusters/id75.html
Have fun and happy Historybusting
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Pointing out moments...
On a 74.3 yard Timeline!
We will be posting video on U-Tube.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In order to facilitate discussions between members, we have set up a Groups Page on Facebook. You can start a discussion topic, reply to questions, post pictures, post videos, invite your friends, and even post links to site you think other members can use. Take a look at
Hope you find this new tool helpful and happy historybusting...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Killing Fields tells the true story of New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian assistant Dith Pran, who was left to the mercy of the Khmer Rouge after Schanberg was evacuated. Filmmaker Roland Joffé, previously a documentary producer, made his feature film debut with this account of Dith's survival in the ensuing madness of the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign. This film has violent and mature content. Click here to preview a video download of The Killing Fields
Swimming To Cambodia: Humorist Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film, recounting his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film 'The Killing Fields'. While making us laugh, Gray manages to give one of the clearest explanations of the events leading up to the Cambodian killing fields that I’ve ever viewed on film, allowing his audience to understand why such an atrocity happened. This film has mature content.
The Flute Player is a profound one-hour documentary about the life and work of Cambodian genocide survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Arn was just a boy when Cambodia's Khmer Rouge military regime took power in 1975. For four long years, Arn followed the strict orders of the Khmer Rouge — doing whatever it took to save his own life amidst torture, murder, starvation and brainwashing. While imprisoned in a labor camp, Arn participated in the execution of others in order to survive, and he played propaganda songs on his flute for his captors' entertainment. At fourteen, Arn was forced by the Khmer Rouge to fight against the Vietnamese when they invaded Cambodia in 1979. After seeing his friends killed on the front lines, he escaped to the jungle, eventually finding his way to a Thai refugee camp. Two years later, an American refugee worker adopted Arn and brought him to the United States. Today at the age of 38, Arn has taken his very tragic past and turned it into something inspirational. A true must see for anyone wanting to understand the impact of the Cambodian Killing Fields on the future, this documentary is family friendly. Click here for a complete study guide for grades 9-12.
To purchase a copy of "The Flute Player" contact:
Center for Asian American Media
145 Ninth Street, Suite 350
San Francisco, CA 94103-2641
Phone: (415) 552-9550
Fax: (415) 863-7428
Note: Center for Asian American Media is formerly NAATA.
For additional information, or if you would like to schedule director Jocelyn Glatzer or Arn Chorn-Pond for a speaking engagement please see: http://www.thefluteplayer.net/ or contact email@example.com
If you are interested in learning more about Arn's programs in Cambodia please visit: www.cambodianmasters.org/index.htm or contact:
Cambodian Living Arts
44 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210 USA
Phone: (617) 482-9485
Fax: (617) 482-0617
The anniversary of September 11 is almost upon us. In honor of that fateful day, Historybusters would like to recommend any or all of the following:
On the morning of September 11, 2001, two French brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, were working on a documentary about a rookie New York City firefighter. Hearing a roar in the sky, Jules turned his camera upward--just in time to film the only existing image of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. In a fateful instant, Jules and Gedeon became eyewitnesses to the most shocking and defining incident of our time. With cameras rolling, the Naudets followed NYC firefighters into the heart of what would be known as Ground Zero. What emerged is an unforgettably powerful visual document and a stirring tribute to real-life heroes who, in their city's darkest hour, rose to extraordinary acts of courage and compassion. This film is family friendly. It is perhaps the most powerful and honest production of this day recorded.
An incredibly moving documentary about one man's search for his brother in the aftermath of 9/11. Family friendly, but with mature content.
Flight 93 is an intense made for TV movie about the events that took place on Flight 93 on the morning of September 11, 2001. Originally broadcast on the A & E Network, the drama focuses on the passengers who attempted to take back the plane from the terrorists – they include Tom Burnett, Todd Beamer, and Mark Bingham. However, the action also reveals the chaotic nature of the ground response, from the White House bunker to the offices of the Federal Aviation Agency. Director Peter Markle and screenwriter Nevin Schreiner stay rooted in the facts as we know them. Speculation is necessary for some of the dramatic details, but Flight 93 has the unmistakable ring of truth. Produced with the cooperation of the family members of those who perished on Flight 93, this well-crafted Television movie handles difficult material with respect. This film is family friendly, but with mature conflict.
An extremely informative documentary about the life, works, and philosophy of Osama Bin Laden. If the saying is true, “know thy enemy as thyself,” then this important documentary tracing Bin Laden’s life is a must see. Family friendly, but with mature content.
An exceptional Frontline episode examining the birth, religion, extremism, and politics of Al Qeada.
The 50 Years War examines the conflict between Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors. Using archival footage and extensive interviews with participants, this two-video set produced by PBS begins by explaining the conditions in Palestine at the end of World War II and the crisis created by the exodus of European Jews immigrating to the Middle East after the Holocaust. It explains the withdrawal of the British, the formation of Israel, the local struggles intensified by the cold war, the Six Day War, and more. This skillful, dramatic, and balanced production is a must see for any young person studying the history of today. Family friendly, but with mature content.
In other words, if you want your child to know Geography, you need to get them a world map. My mother likes to tell me about the map puzzle she had as a child. I have put together a widget to get you started. I particularly like the map placemat and the wooden world map floor puzzle, but all of the products are good.
Please don't let this happen to your kids, make a point of showing them quality historical films from a young age. Make a point of showing them maps, pictures, and timelines. Don't force them to start history class without a basic understanding of history to build upon.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Pamela, not all of the movies I recommend can be downloaded, but all are available in DVD or VHS format. It depends on the movies. I have put together a widget of films that can be downloaded. If you click on an image, it will take you to the site and let you see a sample. I have also provided a link to PBS.org's Frontline. You can view any of the episodes for free at any time. I hope that gives you the samples you need. I've tried to select a few things that I think might interest a fifteen year old.
Here you go:
Turtles Can Fly: Too few films capture war from the point of view of the children who endure it--perhaps because it's awful to contemplate. But Turtles Can Fly manages to be both heartbreaking and galvanizing in its depiction of young Iraqis waiting for the U.S. Army to roll over their village on the border of Turkey. Since the U.S. has linked its fate with that troubled country, learning a little about the Iraqi people would be good for everyone involved; fortunately, Turtles Can Fly is more than just an educational opportunity. Rich humor helps balance the harrowing circumstances, making the movie a riveting experience. It is subtitled and family friendly with some mature content. Once you get to the site, look to the left for the link to the video download.
First Churchills: Here are the first two episodes, takes you back to the world and politics of 16th Century Britain
Battlefield Britain: Here are the first two episodes, features kid friendly documentaries about major British battles
In Search of the Trojan War: Here are the first two episodes, this documentary features ancient classical history
Enemy at the Gate: A film that takes you into the world of Stalingrad during WWII. It is an excellent movie to introduce the harshness of Stalin’s regime. It contains mature content, so be aware.
Flags of Our Fathers: A film that takes you to the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. It contains mature content, so be aware.
Auschwitz: Very nice documentary series about Auschwitz, this link is to the episode entitle escape from Auschwitz
Here is the link to Frontline: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I’ve been asked to provide a list of the movie curriculums that Historybusters will be providing this year. We will be focusing this year primarily on European and American History.
September will feature classical World History focusing on Greece and Egypt.
October will feature Roman History.
November will deal with the Dark ages and the Crusades.
December will look at the Renaissance.
January will explore the Reformation.
February will focus on the Age of Expansion and Exploration.
March will look at the American Revolution.
April will deal with the French Revolution and Napoleon.
May will focus on the Industrial Revolution and Colonialism.
June will focus on the Build up to WWI.
July will introduce the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.
August will deal with WWII.
September will deal with the Cold War.
World History will be our focus next year…
Hope that gives you some idea of what to expect. By the way, each curriculum will recommend more than one movie from the period to be watched either independently or as a set. For example: the complete Greek curriculum will provide background for several Greek myths, 300, Alexander the Great, a few Greek plays, and several documentaries, while the Roman curriculum will provide background on Julius Caesar, Caesar and Cleopatra, Cleopatra, Anthony and Cleopatra, I Claudius, The Warrior Queen, Attila, and several documentaries. Obviously, you won’t have time to get to them all, so pick and choose as you see fit.
Take care and happy historybusting...
I'm intrigued with your well-researched list of films and the opportunity that this provides for families wishing to do AP History at home without having to go through a virtual charter school. Question: When student are through going through this Kaplan program, how do they go about registering to take the AP History exam and get credit for it as other "regular" students?
Homeschooled students can still take the exams by arranging to test at a participating school.
§ Call AP Services no later than March 1 to get the names and telephone numbers of local AP Coordinators. Prepare a list of the exams you plan to take prior to calling so that the appropriate Coordinators can be identified
§ Contact the AP Coordinators identified by AP Services no later than March 15.
When calling Coordinators to arrange testing, make sure to tell them:
§ You are trying to locate a school willing to administer exams to homeschooled students or students from schools that do not offer AP.
§ You will use a different school code so your exam grade(s) will be reported separately from the school at which you test. (Homeschooled students will use the state homeschool code provided by the Coordinator on the day of the exam; students attending schools will use their school code.)
§ The exams you plan to take.
Once you locate a school willing to administer the exams, that school's AP Coordinator is responsible for ordering your exam materials, telling you when and where to appear for the exams, and collecting your fees, which he or she may negotiate to recover additional proctoring or administration costs. That school must administer the exams for you; it cannot forward them to you or your school for handling.
Hope that helps.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
A Corinthian helmet
The skull of the warrior was actually found inside
A picture of a Greek Phalanx
Bronze swords from the period
Urns depicting Greek Hopilite Warriors
There you go Ryan...hope it helps