Out of ideas for history class

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by magister, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. magister

    magister Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2009

    I've been reviewing the 1930s with my class this week, but I'm at a point where I've run out of ideas, and I don't want to give them a boring reading assignment and worksheets. What classroom games can I use to keep them motivated?

    Thank you.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 14, 2009

    I don't have any great ideas. I mostly came in here to read the thread because I like your screen name. (Magister = Teacher in Latin)

    I am of the belief that not everything needs to be a game or super exciting all the time. Sometimes students just need to read or take notes or do whatever boring thing it is that they don't want to do. They need to get over it and do it. :p That's my opinion, though. I'm sure others here will disagree with me.

    Whatever activity you decide on, good luck to you! :)
     
  4. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2009

    What have you done so far? I can probably think of lots of ideas, but for it to be meaningful I'd need to know what you have done (teaching strategies and topics) on the 30s so far and what material you have left to teach.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 14, 2009

    Well, for starters, you could play War of the Worlds for them and try to have them imagine the terror it caused.

    You can talk about FDR and all the programs he initiated, and draw parallels to the current economic crisis-- talk about creating jobs and whether they really strengthen the economy.

    You can talk about the founding of AA and all the changes it's brought to so many people. And about the passing of the 21st amendment and about whether the 2 were linked.

    You can talk about the death of John Dillinger and about the culture that made him larger than life.

    You can talk about the Indian Reorganization Act and about the effects Native Americans are still feeling.

    You can talk about the Dust Bowl and look at the ecological factors that contributed to it. Is another Dust Bowl possible today?

    You can talk about the start of Social Security, why it was implemented, how it works, and about how it's NOT a savings account in a safety deposit box in DC with their names on it.

    And, of course, you can talk about the factors that allowed WWII to start.

    It sounds like such a fascinating time... I need to learn more about it now that you've got me started!
     
  6. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Oct 14, 2009

    Perhaps I'm just too "traditional", but my history classes run through a fairly set structure, regardless of topic. The students come in and complete a reading assignment (not enough books to take home, and we're on a block, so I have the time) for about 20 minutes. Then I lecture with PowerPoint notes and discussion questions for about 30-40 minutes. Then we end class with some sort of review, enrichment, or homework. Typically these are: primary source documents, map assignments, graphic organizers, etc.

    I'll throw in a simulation, review game, or something like that about once per unit. Otherwise, it's a solid routine. I gave up on trying to find clever and fun activities during my first year after A. it nearly killed me, time wise. and B. kids started flat out complaining... "why do we have to make a poster and color it in when we can have a group discussion instead?" -- etc, etc.

    Since then, I've generally abandoned those sort of activties in favor of reading, lecture, and discussion... and that's about all. Is it always thrilling? Probably not, but I try to make the discussions lively, and keep the kids engaged...
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I attempt to tie the history lesson, in this case the 1930's, to today's world. How decisions and events back then might affect what might be happening today, and more importantly, how it affects the student.

    Hopefully the student can try to place themselves in that period by considering what is or can happen to them today.
     
  8. genevezamora

    genevezamora New Member

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Hi! I'm an education student in the Philippines and a Social Studies major as well. I think your problem about keeping your students to be motivated about your lesson in 1930's is really hard because we all know that most students do not appreciate History. It requires more of the story-telling that keeps them boring. But, I think you can share with them a simulation game that will arouse their interest like the Picture Perfect. Here, you can give them an specific scenario about the events during that time and ask them to present it to the class in the form of a tableau. You can also ask them to read first the information about the lesson and then after that have a quizbee wherein there will be a prize for the winner. I know that it's too childish to give prizes but sometimes it is more effective because it becomes a proof that you, as a teacher really appreciate their efforts in your class.

    Well, that's all I can share for now but I hope my ideas could help you in discussing 1930's. Goodluck!



    Geneve
    Student
    Manila, Philippines
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  9. mrivett

    mrivett New Member

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I’m new to these forums and I’m not even a teacher yet but I saw this thread and I wanted to reply because I had a history lesson I never forgot. I decided that if I were to ever become a history teacher that I would teach history in the same way because it was so effective at teaching me not ONLY the things that happened but understanding WHY they happened.

    For the 1930’s the teacher created a role-playing exercise that lasted a couple weeks. One student was the President of the U.S. A handful of students were congress/senate. All the other students were the citizenry of the United States. (we actually had mock elections for the representatives)

    My teacher then presented the issues of the time – but took care to use a “looking ahead” perspective instead of a “looking behind” perspective.

    “The economy is in dire shape. One quarter of you are unemployed and struggling to feed your families. How should America deal with this issue? Should the government get involved? Should the government stay out and let things fix themselves?”

    “There’s this zealous leader over in Europe gobbling up some innocent countries. Should the U.S get involved? Can we afford to get involved considering the depression?”

    “There’s this really aggressive country in East Asia that’s attacking other east Asian countries. We supply 90% of their oil – should we continue to do this?”

    Every day there was a new updated world event that the students had to figure out how to address. The teachers roll was primarily as an arbitrator and in guiding the students to choose paths that corresponded to what actually occurred in history.

    At the end of the “era” we had a test to evaluate how much we understood about the events we had just “experienced”.

    It was awesome. I learned so much.
     
  10. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2009

    I guess I'm somewhere between Ron and the last teacher described. I think it is important to be engaging, but the standards are very important so it doesn't make sense to do posters just so kids can be "engaged."
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Oct 17, 2009

    Engaged kids are learning kids - but that's an argument for another time. :)

    To answer the original topic, I've posted 45 different assignment types for history on my website at mrroughton.com. Many of them will work great for a review.
     
  12. magister

    magister Rookie

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    Oct 18, 2009

    Thank you all for your answers! I'm glad to know I can post here and get some solutions to my problems.
     
  13. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Oct 18, 2009

    I am not sure how easy they would be to find, but maybe listen to some of FDR's "Fireside" chats??? I also agree on what many of the other posters have said, particularly the one about how students do not appreciate history. Some do...but many do not...They don't have the maturity for it.
     

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