History Happens

Reviewed By: Jan Hodge

History Happens - Stories from American History on Music Video Creators: Arthur and Mary Rouse Publisher: Electron Farm Publications Copyright Date: 2001 Producers: Include Emmy Award winning television producers, Academy Award winning filmmakers and Gold Record recipients Accuracy: Supports Core Curriculum, Studies show 98% applicable to Curriculum; Knowledge base includes teachers, scholars and historians Authority: Endorsements of the Baker Children's Center in Boston and the National Council of the Social Studies Objectivity: Through the use of innovative technology, this site offers an effective way to teach American history to elementary and middle school age children through the use of music, rhythm and song lyrics, so that memorization of details and facts will be learned more easily, with greater recall and ultimately lead to a greater interest in the people, places and times of our rich cultural heritage. Currency: C2001, Updated continually via webmaster link Coverage: Music, History, Drama, Art, Language Arts My Opinion: This is a great website to bookmark and know. There are great songs to share to teach history, even some performed by All-State Choirs. These are fun activities that really teach, but the kids don't realize they are learning because they are so involved. Use this website to add that extra oomph for the Musical Intelligences. You won't regret it!

Reviewed By Sherrie Soland

History Happens: Cool Stories! About US History REVIEW By Sherrie Soland

History Happens is a web page with stories from American history told through contemporary music appealing to young people. Songs are dramatic and provoke an emotional reaction to historical events. Material on the website is not very in-depth. Thumbnail sketches of a few events in American history are included with links to the songs. Two of the songs include a video which visually enhances the history lesson. The website is a fun way for teachers to supplement their history lessons. History buffs browsing the web would also enjoy the historical accounts put to music. The clips are an entertaining avenue to helping students learn short history lessons, and could motivate and challenge students to compose their own original interpretations of American History.

The purpose of this site is to advertise an educational video product featuring lessons on history. The product is similar in nature to Scholastic's Magic School Bus or ABC's School House Rocks. The idea for the product originated with Arthur and Mary Rouse, parents who were concerned about the quality of the music their children listen to on the radio. Their idea is to set events in history to music thereby motivating students to learn and remember historical facts and events. The creator of the video series is Electron Farm Publications. When I did a search for this company on the web, no other product could be found. It is probably reputable based on the sponsors endorsing it. The website does not give information about the artists and scholars behind the making of the video series, but the information is included on the videos, which have to be purchased. There is a link to a page with educators endorsing the video collection for classroom use. Also, the site is endorsed by the “Educate the Children Network,” recommended by “The History Channel,” and there is a link to “Study Web” another product for sale that endorses this site. Based on my knowledge of history, the information appears to be error-free. However, one could always argue that the truth in history is dependent on the interpretation of the person telling it. Also, it is not known if the artists have taken creative license and fictionalized actual events, such as the love story about the soldier and his wife after the Pearl Harbor attack. While the song captures emotions felt by some people, I don’t know if the song is based on a real-life story.

The site is multicultural in its scope. Topics put to song and music include women’s history, African-American history, the Civil War, World War II, immigration, Native-American history, and the Revolutionary period.

The site was easy to navigate. The links to the videos and songs work very well. I had no trouble with any of them. There are technical instructions available if anyone has trouble listening to the songs. One of the website’s best features is the page that includes links to other history sites, making it a good beginning reference point The intended audience for this site is elementary and middle school students and teachers. The copyright for the site is 2001, and I did not see any updates listed.

I like this page. Even though it is selling a product, the examples of history put to music are well done, unique, and make history fun.