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Teaching history

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon September 15th, 2008, 10:15 pm

As a former history teacher I"ll tell you that I tried to make my lessons as interesting as possible. HOWEVER, there is only so many days to get so much crammed into their heads so they can pass those tests.

Lecture is what mos tof us can do because it covers the most information in the quickest time. I dont like it. I never did, but it is what it is. If the state and goverment would give us some more leadway and stop breathing down our necks "No child left behind " and all that crap I think we could make hisotry more itneresting.
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princess garnet
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Post by princess garnet » Mon September 15th, 2008, 11:20 pm

I remember learning South Carolina history in grades 3 and 8 along with US and world history while in my parochial K-8 grade school. In high school, it was the same. It's hard to get everything in one semester. (We had block scheduling) For AP US History, we made it up to Vietnam.

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Amanda
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Post by Amanda » Mon September 15th, 2008, 11:27 pm

My perspective comes from Australia (New South Wales - the different states do their education differently).

I remember doing some historical topics in primary school (ages 8-12). I remember doing projects on Ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, Explorers, the colonisation of Australia, bushrangers, the Gold Rush.

In high school, history was a core subject in years 7 and 8. I clearly remember the first history class in year 7, as it was our first high school class, and we started with Neanderthal man, which the teacher demonstrated by jumping up on the tables walking up and down gorilla style! He was a good teacher! I think after that we progressed in a linear fashion doing a bit of (and some just a little bit), Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China (I think this was very brief though I do remember doing some kind of small project on it), a bit of English Monarchy (I remember haveing a debate about Richard III and the Princes in the Tower). I think we did a bit of the explorers again, in the lead up to the "discovery" of Australia and then the First Fleet.

In years 9 and 10, history was an elective (you had to choose between history or geography). I can't remember all that much about what we covered though, but I think it was mainly Australian history in year 9, with more about the First Fleet, explorers (I know we did this - I remember an excursion to Sydney and the Blue Mountains), Gold Rush, the Eureka Stockade and possibly up to Federation (1901).

I think in year 10 we did WWI and WWII, mostly about the causes and when the different countries joined or left the war rather than specific battles. I know we did a bit of Cold War stuff too. I remember doing projects on the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis/Bay of Pigs (don't remember any of it now!).

In the senior years (11 and 12) you could do Ancient or Modern History, but I didn't do theses as they didn't fit in my timetable (I was a bit upset about it!).

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Tue September 16th, 2008, 8:43 pm

I can never recall ever teaching or any other teacher making it to the Vietnam War. Which isvery very sad because it is so interesting, and tragic.
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Post by donroc » Tue September 16th, 2008, 9:34 pm

[quote=""Divia""]I can never recall ever teaching or any other teacher making it to the Vietnam War. Which isvery very sad because it is so interesting, and tragic.[/quote]

Which is why U.S. History should be taught in the 10th and 11th grades in high school.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Tue September 16th, 2008, 9:46 pm

We have NY state tests so our set up is different than others.

7th and 8th is US history

9th & 10th is World

11th & 12th American & Gov. Though 12th is mostly gov if I remember correctly.
Last edited by Divia on Wed September 17th, 2008, 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed September 17th, 2008, 4:34 am

I was very fortunate in that my mom had a teaching degree in ancient history. She had a set of books by Olive Miller called 'A Picturesque Tale of Progress' which had pictures of artifacts from various civilizations on every page. Mom read them aloud to us; I started on those (Sumer and Egypt were the first ones) before I hit kindergarten, and had finished the set of 9 books by fourth grade. We all re-read them often -- they were as good as a novel. I do hope she got most of the facts right!

School history, especially US history, was a crashing bore, with two exceptions: in 4th grade, California schools teach the History of California, and in the LA school district (otherwise dismal, I agree with you Donroc, I went to Eagle Rock High in the '60's) it was centered around field trips and activities. We ground wheat and baked bread in a brick oven on the playground, made Spanish mantillas and sombreros, visited a mission and a Mi-wok village mockup and the Casa de Adobe and Olivera street (an kind of open-air museum-cum-market), panned for gold, made a bear flag, and generally had a blast. In this case, it really was the curriculum, because the teacher is completely forgotten.
The second great experience with history in education was my first year in college. We had a professor -- Dr. Ewing-- whose US history lectures were standing-room-only. He taught history as a sequence of cause and effect, and he was fascinating.

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Wed September 17th, 2008, 5:38 am

I remember a real emphasis on the so-boring dates and events throughout most of high school, and a burning desire to get out of there as quickly as possible -- history I had always been interested in, but I tended to be one of those troublesome students who always asked questions, and finally, they just started shoving books at me. As I was a voracious reader, it wasn't hard to study on my own.

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Post by Carine » Wed September 17th, 2008, 5:53 am

In primary school we were taught Belgian history from the tribes and the times of Ambiorix and Clovis to WW2. In secondary school we practically repeated all that (!!) + some Euopean history, the kings and queens of Britain, Napoleon, you know the most important people in European history. The rest of the world was only shortly mentioned, I discovered for instance American history by my own interest, not because I was taught in school.
Whether I thought it was interesting at the time or not depended a lot on the teachers and there were a variety of them through the years ofcourse.
In general I remember my history lessons as mostly quite interesting. So can't complain.

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donroc
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Post by donroc » Wed September 17th, 2008, 11:54 am

I neglected to mention how I organized the short one year of U.S. History I taught.

Each semester the student had to do 4 approved book reports (cultural, bios, even certain fiction) to qualify for a final grade of A, 3 for a B, two for a C, 1 for a D, 0=F

Also, each had to do one oral presentation/semester available from a list designed for the academic to the uninterested -- biolgraphical cultural, etc to supplement the text and fill in the blanks for minority and women's history.

In the A.P classes, I added research papers.

In all classes I gave essay exams with a choice of topics; plus questions that required paragraph answers also were included.

Critical thinking was essential in all endeavors.

I also designed an independent study course with critical thinking as the goal based on the games in Strategy and Tactics Magazine that became so popular, I filled two classes each semester under the aegis of Georaphy I&II.

The students would play, before the era of computers, a war game of choice --tactical such as Battle of Waterloo or strategic, Napoleon's Campaign in Russia (logistics required) or WWII (having to decide what to produce in 1942 to be effective for 1943-45).

The outline of their research papers was this:

1. Describe origins of the conflict.
2. Could diplomacy better applied have prevented the conflict?
3. Compare and contrast the course of your game with the real conflict including # of lives lost.
4. Compare and contrast your military "stupidity" with that of the generals andleaders.
5. Was the peace that came afterwards better than the peace that existed before? Was the war worth it?
6. What you learned most.

It was not designed to be a pro war course but as another opportunity for students to research deeply into areas not taught or their favorite areas.

I even allowed game design. A Russian immigrant student designed the Battle of the Alamo; another student designed Caesar's invasion of Britain.

A pacifist girl of the Ba'hai faith said her anti-war beliefs were strenghthened afte playing Napoleon in Russia.

I would catch them saying, "Mr. Platt, the first time I played I lost 75,000 men, but the second time I lost only 15,000. I would then show them they had just acquired the mentality of generals.

One year, my best gamer was a girl, also a chess wizard, who never lost, even when she played the historical loser.

I can say in all truth several students faked residence in L.A. so they could attend where I taught and take the class.

For music fans, two of the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the year course. Tony Kiedis was a solid A student, Balzary/ Flea was rather lazy and did the minimum.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

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