To make history even more accessible, every Wednesday I dedicate most of class to discussing current events.I find it worrisome when students can explain the finer points of lesser-known historical events, like the Teapot Dome scandal, but then have little clue about major world events happening in the present.
To make history even more accessible, every Wednesday I dedicate most of class to discussing current events.
At the same time, I cultivate a deeper, more accessible understanding of federalism by covering the topic as it exists today.
Students consider how California’s more relaxed marijuana policy stands in contrast to stricter federal laws.
I allow and encourage students to retake assessments.
I don’t penalize failure or missed deadlines severely.
It’s not news that for over 100 years, history has been taught as little more than a callous exercise in regurgitation and rote memorization, with teachers rewarding how much information students can cram into their already stuffed heads.
But as we go farther into the 21st century, with changes almost too numerous to fathom, I find it mindboggling that any teacher would still treat history class as boring preparation for a quiz show.In my experience, nothing grabs student interest like pointing out not only human folly, but also how, to varying degrees, history repeats itself.I then assign students to investigate America’s recent financial troubles, and the role greed played in causing the recession.Next year, I plan to show scenes from From there on I have most students hooked.They want to learn more about Cortés, and why and how he went to such lengths.You can implement these strategies with any academic content.Students clarify aspects of their identity or the identity of a historical or literary figure by writing poems that focus on deeper elements of personal makeup like experiences, relationships, hopes, and interests.Depending on your student's abilities, you may also want to explore middle school lesson plans.Use our student-centered teaching strategies to strengthen your students’ literacy skills, nurture critical thinking, and create a respectful classroom climate.But I think the vast majority say copy this down, fill in the blank—that sort of thing.” , he offers an array of lessons and case studies, like how to introduce historical thinking through Nat Turner’s Rebellion, chronological thinking and causality through the Railroad Strike of 1877, and historical empathy through the Truman-Mac Arthur Debate. “I’m preparing you to make a presentation to a client as to why your proposal to build their building is the best one. Arguments are based on the application of evidence, and evidence is gained through analysis of information. We teach you ways to use evidence to support your argument.”More than most others’, Lesh’s work has urged me to reexamine how I teach history.Throughout, Lesh places a premium not on one’s ability to recall cold facts (which most will eventually forget, anyway), but on whether students can read critically, reference appropriate sources, and support an argument with evidence.“I'm not preparing you to go work in the archives,” Lesh says, noting that in his 21 years in the classroom, he’s taught only one student who went on to earn a Ph. In seven years on the job, most recently also as a Teacher of the Future for the National Association of Independent Schools, I’ve often revisited how I approach three of my biggest concerns: In American history, I start each unit by making obvious the connections to today.