New History Elective!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Soccer Dad, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Soccer Dad

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    Sep 10, 2010

    So I've been trying for years to get a new elective at my high school based on Long Island's history. Finally, I got my union to agree to let me teach an additional period / day since we're under contract for 6 periods only. Anyway, I talked to my director and as much as I disagree with her on most things, she agreed to let me plan the course to run for the second semester of this school year as a "test run."

    The basic premise of the course is the history of Long Island from the Indian Tribes to its current problems (from overdevelopment to political scandals).

    I've organized it (so far) as:

    Unit 1 - Geography and Early History (Native Americans)
    Unit 2 - Long Island during the Rev War thru 1900
    Unit 3 - The Foundation of the "Gold Coast"
    Unit 4 - LI During the Wars
    Unit 5 - LI: The Epitome of Suburbia
    Unit 6 - Dealing with Post-War Issues

    The course will probably run every other day since it's an elective, which means I'll be working with 45 days.

    If you were learning about your region, what would spike your interest? What would you like to learn about? I know what I like, but I'm also fascinated with the LI parkway system--something most people could care less about.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    What a fun class!!

    I would particularly enjoy the unit on geography and early history. I don't really know enough about LI to say what other things might interest me. Did it play any special/unusual/mysterious part in the development of our government, like being a secret base for conspirators or something? I always like mysteries, and I think a lot of students do too.
     
  4. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I'd love to teach a class on the history of Boston. I'm jealous and want to sit on your class. I'm guessing you don't have a textbook for the course...not that it matters to you anyways.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I would love to take your course!!!

    The Parkway thing wouldn't exist in a void, since William Floyd was also instrumental in building Jones Beach and a bunch of other stuff.

    You can include the occasional calls for LI to become the 51st state.

    And how about "Long Island in the News"-- everything from Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafucco to the Amityville Horror to the Long Island Express hurricane in (about) 1938.

    And LI in pop culture-- all the Billy Joel songs that refer to LI, the references to "Amity Island" in Jaws, the whole Hamptons scene...
     
  6. Special-t

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    Sep 10, 2010

    We have a tour bus that drives past our apartment every day called Graveyard Tours. Marylin Monroe and Shelly Winters were roommates in our building AND Sal Mineo was murdered in our alley. People are fascinated by this.

    I'll bet Long Island has some interesting historical spots with a little mystery and legend lurking around. Ghosts from the past.

    I think your idea about studying the parkways is AMAZING. I think your parkways are like our freeways here in LA? They are such a big part of our life AND your kids are going to be driving soon, so they might enjoy knowing more about it.

    Also, here in LA we had a famous controversy over our water system development. Have there been famous trials or controversies over land development or political control? Any famous corporations that control area politics?
     
  7. Chrissteeena

    Chrissteeena Companion

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I grew up on Long Island; I would have loved to take a class in H.S. about the history of Long Island. I believe I would find the unit on the Geography and Early History (Native Americans) to be the most fascinating.

    Good Luck with the course. I kind of wish I could take the class!
     
  8. Soccer Dad

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    Sep 11, 2010

    I'm definitely doing the 51st state idea as a debate! Thanks for reminding me!! :)

    I can't wait to teach this class, it's amazing how little students know about LI--and yet it's so interesting!

    ...Oh, and Billy Joel will definitely be played!
     
  9. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Sep 11, 2010

    This sounds fantastic! I definitely agree about collecting pop culture references to Long Island. Also books that take place there. Local issues about growth, development, water, changes--it might be a great way to get kids involved with current events, politics, making a difference as concerned citizens.

    When I was a kid, we studied our town's beginnings, with an extended re-enactment kind of thing, including being assigned identities as some of the early residents, researching activities, what school was like, what laws there were, dressing up, eating traditional dishes, etc.

    I think you could have a lot of fun with this.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2010

    Oh, and don't forget Grumman and the LM!!
     
  11. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Sep 11, 2010

    what is the LM?
     
  12. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    There was just a Jeopardy question about the only Long Islander to sign the declaration of independence....i dont remember how it was worded...but I shamefully didn't know the answer, now I won't forget it!

    I would have loved this when I was in HS...SS was def. not my favorite, I only liked economics, the rest seemed so far off and irrelevant to me at the time.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Grumman built the Lunar Module that landed the Apollo astronauts on the moon.

    In the movie Apollo 13, they don't paint the Grumman guy in the best light, but they do make the point that it was built by Grumman.

    There's one of the Modules that was never used (when budget cuts ended the Apollo missions) on display at the Cradle of Aviation museum in Garden City on Long Island. It's remarkable to see-- pretty much all that stood between those men and death was a few sheets of mylar.
     
  14. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Interesting! Thanks Alice! Another thing I should probably know! I have been to the Cradle of Aviation, but not as an "adult"
     
  15. LITeachTeach

    LITeachTeach Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2010

    When you talk about Long Island as the "epitome" of suburbia, I hope you talk a lot about racial imbalance. In 1953, when Levittown had a population of 70,000 people it was the largest community without a single white person. I'm doing my Master's curriculum project on Long Island school segregation and it's very fascinating. I can share some of my research with you if you want.
     
  16. Soccer Dad

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    Sep 12, 2010

    That certainly is an interesting topic. I'd love to hear anything about it. I know that LI is one of the most de facto segregated places in the East--especially Suffolk County and the North Shore in both counties.

    I live and work in Suffolk and at my school, it's about 93% white but as soon as you move 5 minutes northward on practically the same road, is 45% African American and 35% Hispanic or Latino.
     
  17. Special-t

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    Sep 12, 2010

    It's interesting to me, how excited we all are about your new class. I think it's because the possibilities for motivating student interest in learning are so high. This kind of local history unit would be a great idea to teach in homeroom (which is often wasted time).
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 13, 2010

    It's no secret that Bill Levit wanted a lily white community.

    From: http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1993/4/1993_4_62.shtml

    "But this American idyll was not for everyone. In 1949, after Gene Burnett, like his fellow veteran Jim Tolley, saw advertisements for Levittown in several New York papers, he drove to Long Island with his fiancée. The Levittown salesman he met refused to give him an application form. “It’s not me,” the agent said. “The builders have not at this time decided to sell to Negroes.” This pattern of racial exclusion was set in 1947, when rental contracts prohibited 'the premises to be used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race.' ...."


    Not exactly our finest hour...
     
  19. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Sep 13, 2010

    You meant the opposite right?
     
  20. LITeachTeach

    LITeachTeach Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2010

    yes, i did mean the opposite PCDiva. Sorry.

    And, Alice, it wasn't our finest hour, but as I was discussing with the OP over PM it really hasn't changed at all on Long Island in terms of public school segregation.
     
  21. JackTrader

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    Sep 15, 2010

    You'll want to also have a mention about Robert Moses, the master public works builder of the NYC region, including Long Island - and the consequences of his designs/plans/projects. "The Power Broker" is a fascinating study of the man.
     
  22. Navigator

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    Sep 15, 2010

    What a cool idea, SoccerDad. I teach American history too, and since I live in Williamsburg, VA and teach in Newport News, EVERY U.S. history teacher covers some of our local history in the first weeks of their course. Then, they revisit us for the Civil War.

    I enjoy adding anecdotes about our area in the other portions of the course, however. The restoration of Colonial Williamsburg is a lot of fun to share with students, many of whom have no idea that Williamsburg didn't always look the way it did. They laugh out loud when they see a photograph from the 1920s that shows a gas station and a store on Duke of Gloucester Street--the one that makes up the heart of the historic area today.

    They also enjoy learning about the construction of the Newport News shipyard, and they're impressed by the fact that "their" naval base is the largest in the world.
    Fun stuff!
     
  23. Soccer Dad

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    Sep 17, 2010

    I really find local history to be so interesting. I cannot wait to teach this class! The only problem is financing the many, many ideas I have for field trips... I need to be more picky but there's just so much to see on LI.... :p
     
  24. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    Sep 17, 2010

    I think I would have paid more attention in history class if it was about the area I lived in.
     

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