When you think Thomas Jefferson, Monticello can’t be too far from your thoughts. In American History, few places have a status as significant as Thomas Jefferson’s “essay in architecture.”
The plantation is cemented as a monument in US history, and lucky for us, its website offers resources and function that’s almost as awesome as being there in person!
Today I want to tell you all about the ultimate resource for teaching your students about Thomas Jefferson: monticello.org
Monticello.org is an absolute treasure trove for busy teachers. Use the search function to find videos, lessons, and other content related to your history or social studies classroom. Just a few of the resources offered include:
Virtual Field Trip
Too far away to visit? Monticello offers on-site tours and field trips, but if that’s out of your budget (or far away from your zip code!) you can take your class on a Virtual Field Trip! Monticello.org uses Skype to bring Monticello to you. Your class can talk with a Monticello educator, who will give an online virtual tour. The best part? It’s free!
Monticello Digital Classroom
The Monticello Digital Classroom provides articles, documents, videos, images, and lesson plans on all things Jefferson, ranging from the American Revolution to the Louisiana Purchase (speaking of, don’t forget to check out the freebie below!). Use these resources to provide a new perspective and show primary sources. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an already-written lesson plan?!
Hamilton vs. Jefferson
“You simply must meet Thomas! Thomas!” Monticello.org contains an entire section on all the ways Hamilton: An American Musical includes Thomas Jefferson. See how the site tells the story here.
Save time with pre-made Kahoot Quizzes about Jefferson, written by Monticello educators. Fun, easy, and free!
Did someone say freebie?
And hey, speaking of lessons and the Louisiana Purchase, how about a freebie?
Pair this Louisiana Purchase Map with info from the site, including an awesome timeline chronicling the Louisiana Purchase!
On a bit of a more sensitive subject, let’s talk presidential misdeeds.
We’re at a point in history when wrongdoings of the past are no longer swept under the rug. Today, aspects of Thomas Jefferson’s life can be polarizing. His involvement with slavery, including the consensus among many historians that Jefferson had a long-standing relationship with his slave Sally Hemmings, is one example.
At a time when students have immediate access to information at their fingertips, we don’t do any favors by skipping over these difficult subjects. Instead, it’s important to foster meaningful conversations, honoring the legacy and service of past presidents while honestly acknowledging shortcomings.
After all, how can we learn from history if we don’t learn all of history?