Saturday, June 2, 2018

5 History Projects Ideas for the End of the School Year

1.      Board Games

Be inspired by Milton Bradley. Have students design, make, and play their own board games. Promote reflection on both the game play and level of history knowledge used.

2.      Way-Back Machine Videos

Follow in the footsteps of Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Encourage students to make a video that creates an alternate cartoon style explanation of a historical event and host a film festival.  Learn which team is the most creative and who gets the most laughs.

3.      History Idol

Challenge the students to a song writing competition. You can use simple pickers to assign topics. Task students with explaining a period in history with a popular genre of songs from that period.

 Students can record videos and you can host a listening party in class.

4.      Awards Show

Host a Historic Golden Globes.  Use award show nominations writing task to have students reflect on the contributions of historical figures. Create categories for awards and ask students to write nominations for those categories based on historical figures studied in class. 

Then host the awards show and let the audience vote for the winners of each award.

5.      History Yearbooks

Take a page from Mad Magazine and spoof a yearbook for a year in modern history. Challenge students to ask and answer questions that reflect knowledge of a specific year.

·        If America was a high school in 1950, who would have been most popular?

·        What would have been the most popular song of the year?

Use presentation software to produce yearbooks and let students share them. Each student can be assigned a historical figure and be challenged to sign a yearbook as that person might have done. Imagine what Fidel Castro would have written in JFK’s yearbook in 1962.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New (Free) Resources for your Classroom

Any teacher knows that the search for resources is never-ending. Finding and affording images, articles, and games to illustrate material and engage students is an endeavor that pushes the boundaries of creativity. Here are a few places with free material:

Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve produces resources for the class that address both historical and current economic topics. You can find lessons about the first and second Bank of the United States. You can also get kid friendly comic books that explain the currency system. When looking for resources you should visit all the branches of the Federal Reserve website as the branches produce different materials.

The US Mint

The US Mint produces curriculum that explores the symbolism in American currency. These unique materials provide students the opportunity to explore the history that inspires the design of American money. Learn about the commemorative Jefferson nickel series or investigate America's National Parks quarters.

Looking for interesting data resources?

Several federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations are making data that can be used in the classroom. 

  • The Federal Reserve has a data visualization tool that will let the user create unique graphs.
  • GeoFRED lets the user create geographical maps of economic data.

Sample Map from GeoFRED

  • The Population Reference Bureau provides access to a variety of datathat can be used for spatial analysis.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau share resources that can be used to investigate various topics.