What works to help 7th graders understand the US Constitution? Former HS teacher Lauren S. Brown got a crash course in teaching the document as she returned to full-time teaching this fall. Slowing the pace, using the primary source, and blending in current events all helped.
Category: Future of History
The debate about whether to teach history thematically or chronologically still captivates & frustrates Sarah Cooper. As she considers her time-hopping unit on federalism, she wonders which approach can best inspire students to apply more history to their lives.
“I’m just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwing away my shot,” sings Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway show on his part in American history. Jody Passanisi & Shara Peters are enthusiastically sharing “Hamilton” with their 8th graders.
Song parodies can help students in history class create connections for themselves as they write their own lyrics about important events. As it turns out, writing songs in groups can also invoke 8th grade social machinations, teacher Jody Passanisi reports.
FDR’s “Four Freedoms” speech in 1941 versus Donald Trump’s debate performances this year: meaningful connection or unfair comparison? Sarah Cooper describes her recent lesson and presents her new ground rules for history and current event mashups.
In earlier years Jody Passanisi provided sources to her 8th grade history students. More recently, as they look to the Internet for information, she finds they need to understand not only how to cite sources they uncover but also why they need to credit ideas.
Wondering how – with enough learning time – she could reach individual 8th grade U.S. history students where they are “most curious & invested,” teacher Sarah Cooper considers the breadth of current events resources and connections she could suggest.
Teaching about Judaism, Christianity and Islam is a staple in many middle school world history and culture classes. To help counter students’ frequent confusion about these religions, Lauren Brown points out misconceptions and offers resource ideas.
If you could design your ideal social studies curriculum for middle school, what would it look like? After surveying area high schools, Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters decide to focus on skills development. Here’s their draft scope & sequence for grades 6-8.
Whether a tragedy is recent or ancient, death is an unfortunate staple in social studies classes, writes history educator Lauren Brown. The challenge for MS teachers is to treat tragic events sensitively while helping students grasp the historical import.