Teaching whatever I want- HELP!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by historyteacher09, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. historyteacher09

    historyteacher09 New Member

    Jan 11, 2017
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    Jan 11, 2017

    I am a new 8th grade history teacher this year... just started on Monday. I love it!
    But, I have one class that I feel like is a trainwreck. I have this one class that I can essentially teach whatever I want. I am at a lost for what to teach and where to find content for daily use. I have a couple ideas but I thought I would throw it out there to see if anyone has any other ideas for me?
    This class is suppose to be more laid back and not as intense as other classes. Help! Any ideas for what subject to teach my 8th graders?
  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Jan 12, 2017

    I got a class like that a few years ago. I started with much of the same fears and pressure, and it was rocky the first year, because I tried to do what the previous teacher had done. But when I got down to it, the best thing I could have done was to do what I enjoy with the students.

    My class was loosely defined, and the previous teacher used it as a journalism class, since she was an English teacher and major. I am a science major who hates writing, so when I tried to do that, it was clear I didn't enjoy it and the kids didn't either, so I decided to do something I do enjoy, which was technology.

    I turned it into a STEM class where we dissected computers, learned how to code video games, created online newsletters, learned the basics of video editing to create newsreels, CAD modeling, and eventually got to the point where that class because the "IT Team" for the school's students and teachers, able to go into classrooms and help teachers and students with their tech problems.

    If you're a history teacher, you could go the route of analyzing news of the day, or even teach a class on something else you find interesting. For me, I have always been fascinated in Archaeology, and I think an archaeology class would be a blast as a middle schooler. You could teach primary and secondary historical sources, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating techniques, various native american cultures around your area and their techniques (pottery or basketry, recipes, dances, etc.).

    In the end, I really enjoyed having that one free-for-all class because I got to really get creative with my teaching and do things I wanted to do that I knew would be enjoyable for both me and the students.
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Jan 12, 2017

    Being a history teacher you could turn it into a reading class, read novels that cover historical periods (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Anne Frank, and there are a lot of others.) you can choose lower grade level novels if you want. In juvenile hall our history teacher teaches an elective and they read novels like this.
    You can also cover geography, play a lot of interesting videos as well, there are are so much to cover, location, culture (music, food, language, art, customs, etc), climate, economy, etc.
  5. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Rookie

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Jan 12, 2017

    When I was in college, I designed a course that was US cultural history via music for my ethnomusicology final project. It was stuff like teaching the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance with jazz music, 60's events with political music (Peace Train, Fortunate Son, Abraham, Martin, and John etc.), and globalization with world pop music. Something like that might be "fun" enough.
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Fanatic

    Jul 27, 2009
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    Jan 13, 2017

    Do they have a "high school survival" course of some sort? You could cover study skills, graduation requirements, how to compute GPA, etc. So many of my freshmen don't know that their GPA counts for college starting freshman year. You could also include career information, etc. You could also have them read inspirational or motivational books, like "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" or whatever. Maybe include some group projects and public speaking opportunities?
    2ndTimeAround likes this.
  7. ChristinaV

    ChristinaV New Member

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    Jan 20, 2017 at 8:06 AM

    I would say that making the class like a current events class mixed with study skills would be cool. You could even give the students options and have them choose what interests them.

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