“Doing History”

As I am preparing for the end of the semester, I can’t not help but think about how much of a challenge and joy it will be to teach a new group of students to enjoy history. All too often history teachers rely on textbooks, test scores, maps, and routine memorization to teach history.When students are not engaged they become bored and passive in the classroom.

I think it is more important to teach our students to think critically and reflect about the past. We want our students to analyze social institutions, ask who benefits, who suffers, and how our country got this way. My last project of the semester was the final realization when I stepped back and realized my students were asking other students critical questions about our recent president’s. No standardized test scores or multiple choice questions could measure that amount of interest and intrinsic motivation for learning.

To get students motivated and keep their interest, I design student centered lessons that are engaging and reflective. On my end of the semester evaluation, many (if not most) of my students reflected their favorite lessons were not the ones where they were learning history but the lessons where they were “doing history.” Project based learning has so many benefits and is often undervalued in education.

For more information: Here is some more information about project based learning: Seymour Papert, a distinguished professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is among a growing group of scholars who support project-based learning. Read a short introductory article or watch a brief introductory video.

Video from Project-Based Learning: An Overview

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Embrace Technology

The first semester is winding down and I would like to create an interesting and engaging lesson to integrate technology into the first week of school. I found a video called a A vision of students today. This is a video organized by Professor Wesch from the Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University.

My first glace at this video made me reflect on my own teaching and how the teaching profession is not the same as when I went to school. Our students are immersed in technology and we as teachers need to use the “beast” to our advantage. All too often teachers fall stray to reading and teaching from the textbook and the chalk board. We as teachers need to embrace technology and find creative ways to bring it into the classroom. I have been following a few blogs that have been soo helpful in creating and advancing my own career (listed below).

1. Free Technology for Teachers (my life line to technology the past year).

2. Technology Tidbits

3. Teachpaperless (creative ideas and interesting ways to help the environment; all while being a creative and engaging teacher)

I plan on using a A vision of students today in my classroom on the second day of school. I am going to use this video as an activator to start the idea of how students learn and ways to use successfully use technology within the classroom. I am going to create a google doc form and have all my students reflect and discuss ways we can make our classroom, our school. and our society integrated with technology.

My hope is through a few technology programs like Edmodo, Google Docs, Wiki’s and Blogs I can engage my students to see the value of technology beyond facebook, twitter, and youtube.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What’s Next for America?

Great video organized by CBS where they ask What’s Next in 2011? It asks a lot of great questions like what’s next for America? Are we no longer the dominant world power? Will America’s future be brighter?

Application to Education: I used this video in my class to introduce the idea of the American Dream and the idea of public policy with my Advanced Placement Class. It was an interesting conversation starter especially since the current recession has impacted so many of our families.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email