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The end goal is mastery, and I’m not nearly as concerned about when an individual masters a concept—just that it is in fact mastered.
In class, upon discussing similar atrocities in more recent history—and a long list of horrors that still haunt our world today—students wanted to make a difference.
To do that, they created websites dedicated to raising awareness of crimes against humanity.
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.
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.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 also introduce students to the No Child Left Behind Act, so that they can decide what role, if any, Washington should play in education.Two years ago, of their own volition, several of my United States government students put their knowledge (and opinions) to good use while learning about blogging: They launched a website titled Making a Difference: Give a HOOT about Learning.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.I allow and encourage students to retake assessments.I don’t penalize failure or missed deadlines severely.I treat the subject of history as a conduit to teach important modern competencies like writing, critical thinking, reasoning, and technology skills.This makes the content more relatable, useful, and engaging.