New ideas can improve the curriculum and teaching strategies of history educators, but that doesn’t have to mean throwing out the old to experiment with the new. What to keep and what to add? Our history bloggers share some helpful criteria.
Category: Future of History
In Making History Mine, Sarah Cooper shows how teachers can help students answer the age-old question: Why should I care about all this stuff? Cooper’s pedagogical approach “leads us down a path that helps our students make these stories come alive.”
We want our students to read, comprehend, and analyze text. During the past school year, history educators Aaron Block and Jody Passanisi tried annotation as a learning strategy. Here they recount how it went in the two diverse schools where they teach.
Students in Jody Passanisi’s inquiry-driven Civil War technology unit see the value of grit firsthand as they attempt to build a simple telegraph. After some setbacks, the messages travel the wires, and the kids get a taste of self-efficacy. The teacher’s challenge: Letting them struggle.
While inner-city history teacher Aaron Brock agrees that lecture has been chronically abused in the middle grades, he uses short flexible lectures and image-heavy slides to help prepare students for deeper learning in his diverse classroom.
Can speculation about alternate history and “what-if” scenarios help students sharpen their critical thinking skills? Participants in a recent Twitter hashtag chat think so, as MiddleWeb history bloggers Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters report.
There’s no room in an adolescent’s world view for the loftier goals of history study, says Aaron Brock. So when teaching about American rights of assembly and petition, Brock has students write petitions about issues close to their own school lives.
Ever struggle to find a balance between crafting good lessons and staying spontaneous? History teachers Jody and Shara describe their well-honed four step process that begins with backward design and ends with reflections in their purple notebook.
In history class, experiential lessons have great potential to transport students to another time and place, says teacher Aaron Brock, but they are difficult to orchestrate and can present ethical dilemmas. Brock shares a hands-on lesson from his Civil War unit.
Students shouldn’t come away from a role play “having done something memorable and learned nothing valuable,” says history teacher Aaron Brock. “There should always be a core skill or concept guiding the activity.” He offers 2 examples to illustrate.