The title of this blog comes from a sports related analogy. Much like basketball players who hang around a gym all the time are called gym rats, my entire life has been spent hanging around history. Whether it be books, educational films, board games, toy soldiers, or historical sites, I am a history rat.

My credentials –

I teach 8th grade US history and 6th grade World History in a small town in northern Illinois and have done so for almost 20 years at my current school. My students participate in the History Fair (National History Day) program yearly. I feel it is  a worthy program for all students as they learn how to investigate history hands-on.  I try to design lessons that use a variety of primary sources and make students think about using evidence to establish a point of view or to examine multiple points of view about an event or person in history.

I designed a teaching model using primary documents which I have spoken about at the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference as well as the Illinois Council for the Social Studies and Northern Illinois University.

In July 2012, I completed my doctoral dissertation about how students search for and evaluate online primary sources for use in their history fair projects.

The summer of 2015 will find me spending most of my days watching the Cubs and affiliates on YV and MiLB.TV and writing for my other blog: http://cubdom.wordpress.com/.

To contact me, send me an email at historyrat@yahoo.com

This is my buddy Zeus, my eleven year old terrier.


  1. It’s some sort of shame you don’t employ a give money button! I’d definitely give money for this brilliant web page! When i suppose at the moment i’ll be satisfied with bookmarking in addition to using ones Feed to help the The search engines bank account.

  2. Gosh, this is fantastic. Being a fellow history buff and someone you graduated with…I had no idea you turned out to be such an insightful guy. Keep it up! I bookmarked your blog!

  3. My writing partner Bob Boone and I have been working on a new creative writing/history textbook, based on 40 events in Chicago history, entitled WRITE THROUGH CHICAGO. Amika Press (http://www.amikapress.com) plans to publish the book upon completion, hopefully as early as September 2013. Each of our units includes a photo, but we’ve been having trouble finding anything in the public domain for DISCO DEMOLITION NIGHT. Our search led us to the pictures on your website. Can you help us contact whomever has the copyrights to any of the Disco Demolition Night pics? We’d just need one.

    I see that you’re an 8th grade teacher in the northern Illinois area. Bob and I both live in Lake County. Maybe you’d be interested in having us visit your class sometime and conducting some history based creative writing activities?

    Although I didn’t attend the event, I was only a few weeks into my career, teaching summer school at Highland Park High School to kids who had flunked English during the year. A number of my students were at Comiskey that night.

    Mark H. Larson

  4. While looking for any information on a relative of mine, Robert Card, an Illinois State Police motorcycle cop who was killed during the Prohibition Era, I came across your blog. Will be reading this daily, thanks for being here.

  5. I have an uncle who played baseball in the minor leagues during the 1920’s. I have several team photos of that time period but know nothing about them. On the front of the team jerseys are the letters NSH. Any idea which team that could be? I also have a players ticket book for the Nashville league and a contract unsigned for him to play for $75 a month. I have been checking online to find out anything without any luck.

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