Finding creative ways to bring the past alive for pupils today is something which many teachers of history strive to do to engage their pupils in connecting with events in history. One way to highlight the connections through time for pupils can simply be the use of links to specific days in the calendar – what happened on this same day in history.
While at first glance this can look like bringing together a seemingly disparate series of events, a judicious selection related to the historical era being studied in class can include reference to the birthdates of principal characters, or sequence of events, or highlights, or anniversary dates or deaths, or inventions which impact on the era of study (or indeed which contrast with the time in question). And if a fun fact or interesting historical anecdote provides a talking point it can be a means to introduce a topic.
So how do you find out what happened of note on this day in history?
Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries: Wikipedia provides a comprehensive calendar of events which happened on any day, whether notable events, births or deaths. Simply enter a date into a search engine and the likelihood is high that the first search result will be a Wikipedia entry for that day. You can also go direct to the Wkipedia main page for historical anniversaries and simply click on a calendar entry to bring up a description of that day, a list of births, deaths and notable events. And of course, in true Wikipedia form, each entry is linked to a more detailed entry for the subject of the birth, death or notable event (and these, in turn, link to more details on aspects of these with further references).
History in the News from ActiveHistory.co.uk – a site which displays in very visual magazine-style format selected events on any specific day in history, with links to the source of the information elsewhere online.
On This Day In History www.onthisdayinhistory.co.uk – one of several sites which lets you identify a notable event which happened on a previous year in history on the same date as one which may be being celebrated as a milestone today. This one has emphasis on UK history.
On this day groups events in categories so you can more readily see mainly US music events, sporting events, television, birthdays, deaths, inventions, and notable events by world region.
BBC On This Day 1950-2005 “On This Day is a showcase of some of the most significant as well as some of the quirkier stories broadcast by BBC News since 1950 and now including a new World War II section. Nearly all the stories contain video or audio and are written as if the event had only just occurred, drawing on archive media, old newspapers and historical reference books. All news reports finish with an “In Context” box. This gives a brief rundown on what happened next and could also reveal details such as what became of personalities who featured in a story long before they became household names.The timelines are intended to show you where you are within a long-running story and provide links to other related reports.”
BBC History On this Day provides events, with an emphasis on UK history, in the past. This is part of the wider BBC history website.
This Day in History is a magazine-style online site with videos and full articles as well as lists with links of events in history on specific dates (with a US emphasis). This is provided by The History Channel and Hisory Magazine.
New York Times Learning Network On This Day is a site aimed at learners with an easy to navigate search to any day in history, with categories to find areas of interest (with US emphasis). There are also links to suggestions and plans for teachers on how to make use of this site.
History Orb Today in History provides extensives links to events on any particular day in history (incluidng brithdays, weddings, divorces and deaths).
This Day in Music – provides information on facts and feats in music history in the past 100 years.
“This Day In History Is Updated Every Day. Research comes from 6 main sources: 1. Time spent in the Local Library checking old newspapers. 2. BBC News Archives 3. New York Time Archives 4. Wikipedia (double-checked) 5. Research from History books 6. The People History itself
Always uses at least 2 sources for verification before including a news story. The mix is generally slightly more news stories from around the world than America so for example if we have a total of 25 news stories we would expect 15 from around the world and 10 from the United States, but this can vary greatly for any one day.
In general we only feature natural and other disasters which would make the nightly news on our This Day In History, this does not mean the other natural disasters that may cause the loss of life of just a few poor souls is not important.”
Scottish Memories – On This Day in Scottish History – events in the history of Scotland brought by Scottish memories Magazine.
Beautiful Britain On This Day – events on the current day in the history of Britain.