Showing posts from 2012

Name That Executive Role!

Students today learned about the many roles of the head of the Executive Branch, the President of the United States. I found several images of former Presidents in these roles--can you guess which is which? Post your answers below or email them to me.


Commander-In-ChiefChief ExecutivePolitical Party HeadChief Diplomat

1.  President Eisenhower

2. President George HW Bush (on the right side of the picture)
3. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
4. President Reagan meeting with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (this one's a bit of a giveaway!)

Legislative Branch Color, Symbol, Image

Students are creating a Color, Symbol, Image poster about the Legislative Branch. This type of thinking routine will help to deepen their understanding of the Legislative Branch and the role it plays in American Government by choosing a color, a symbol and an image or scene that the branch represents. I'm looking forward to student presentations tomorrow!

Congressional Leadership Research

Students will be researching the leaders of the House and Senate in class tomorrow. It is very important for those of us living in America to know who the high-ranking members of the Legislative Branch are. The committees of both houses are also note-worthy and students will be investigating those, as well.

My students and I have discussed Congress quite a bit lately and they are aware of the looming "fiscal cliff". I feel that this research will help students better understand the role this branch of government plays in America today and will help them to recognize the political leaders they see on the internet and television.

Federalist/AntiFederalist "Facebook" Pages

The decision to ratify the US Constitution after the Constitutional Convention was crucial to our country's history. Most people in the 1780s were either for ratification or against it and debate raged in the thirteen states for many months. The Federalists and Anti Federalists used many methods, including writing The Federalist Papers, to try to persuade citizens to accept their view points. Students in my History classes have the same challenge as the Federalists and Anti Federalists had, with a modern twist. Small groups will be creating "Facebook" pages (on paper, not the actual website) for the Federalist party or the Anti Federalist party and their main task will be writing a dialogue illustrating the main arguments for and against ratification. Even though history sided with the Federalists the Anti Federalists had one extremely powerful counter-argument: the Constitution had to include a Bill of Rights. How different would America be today without this comprom…

Compass Points

Students today analyzed the need to change the Articles of Confederation by completing an activity called Compass Points. Students listed the worries of the A of C, anything that would excite them about the A of C (or changing the government), topics that they would need more information on in order to make a final decision and then groups finally took a stance on the issue. Analyzing material with activities like this allows students to delve deeply into a problem in order to make a solid decision.

Saratoga "Twitter" Post

George Washington wasn't at the battle of Saratoga but the American victory there was still a huge boost for the Continental Army he led. My students are writing a Twitter post (no more than 140 characters!) as if they are Washington and are announcing the victory. This is a great way for students to summarize information and they are having fun doing it.
I will be posting some of their "Tweets" on my new Twitter account, @Mrsslaviero.

Presidential Debate Tonight

Tonight's Presidential Debate will allow viewers to see both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama discuss issues that are of importance to voters. This is the first of three debates scheduled in October.

The Vice Presidential Candidates, Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, will debate next week.

We will discuss the debate tomorrow in class.

Goal Setting for the New School Year

This post has little to do with US History but everything to do with starting the new school year on a strong note. The link below will take you to an AT & T Commerical that ran during the 2012 Summer Olympics and reminds us all to never stop setting goals.

What do you want to accomplish this year?

War of 1812 Celebration in Detroit

This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812, also known as "The Second War of Independence". Michigan played an important role in this war and the US Navy will be commemorating the anniversary with several special events from September 4th-10th on the Detroit River. There will be tours of several ships, including an historic tall ship. I plan on viewing the ships--maybe I'll see you there!

Here is a link for more information:

 Detroit Free Press Photo

National Conventions

Today is the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. One of the reasons for the convention is to gather members of the Republican Party together to formally nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to represent them in the November Election. The Democratic Party will hold their convention September 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina and re-nominate Barack Obama and Joe Biden to represent them. Watching even a few minutes of the conventions is a very good way to see democracy in action!

Underground Railroad in Michigan

Students have been studying the time before the Civil War and analyzing the impact the Fugitive Slave Act had on the institution of slavery. When this law was passed the need for the Underground Railroad increased and so did the need to deliver slaves to Canada because they risked recapture in the North. Michigan became a major stop on the Railroad because of its proximity to Canada. The website below is full of links with more information, including interactive sites and maps:

Manifest Destiny Metaphor Poster

Students will be creating a metaphor poster in class linking Manifest Destiny to either the Internet or the Universe (student group choice). Thinking metaphorically is thinking deeply about the subject matter and this is a great way for students to prove that they understand the concepts related to the growth of the United States. It doesn't hurt that it's a fun activity, as well!

I'm very interested in seeing how they create this project and make it their own!

National Archives Resource

One of the educational blogs I subscribe to sent me a link to an amazing site for History educators, This site was created by the National Archives in conjunction with the National Council for the Social Studies. embeds the National History Standards in their lessons and the site is free to teachers. There is not only a digital vault with thousands of cataloged primary sources but also many tools for educators to use these sources to bring investigative activities to students. Classes will be able to, among other activities, weigh evidence and understand the main concepts and ideas in history. I have just briefly started to explore this site and am so excited by the possibilities! My students will be delving into these activities and lessons starting this week!
 Here is the link:

Persuasive Writing

Students have been learning about the presidency of Andrew Jackson and are creating a persuasive essay about him, much like historians do. Persuasive writing is a necessary life skill and a challenging activity. Many students would rather not take a side, but give examples of both his good and not-so-good moments. Choosing one focus is valuable, though, because they will have to really study Jackson's actions and weigh the impact these actions had not only during the 1800s but throughout history. I will be interested in seeing how my classes ultimately decide whether they felt he was a hero or villain and I look forward to their examples and viewpoints.

Troybery Read-Aloud

We are currently doing a read-aloud of the historical fiction selection in this year's Troybery program, Ok for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. I like the fact that it's set in the summer of 1968 and therefore allows us to discuss modern history.
Completing the read-aloud is not only a great way to start class but, after we finish the book, all of my students will have taken part in the Troybery program by at least reading this selection. (My Effective Teens students are reading another Troybery book, The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, a very moving and powerful story.)

The Louisiana Purchase

Students began learning about the Louisiana Purchase and I am using a terrific resource from the National Archives with my students to help them understand this topic better.

The "Our Documents" site lists 100 of the most influential documents in US History and the interesting thing about this project was the the American people voted on which documents made the list. Today students started viewing the actual Treaty that sold the Louisiana Purchase to America. Students will view the artifact and analyze it, as well. Working with primary sources is interesting for students and greatly increases their knowledge and understanding of history.

Here is the site with the treaty, please let me know what you think of it!

The New Nation and Political Parties

The most popular topic my History students want to know about every year is the American political party system. My students are fascinated with it and want to know how it got its start and if our modern-day parties are the same as the ones in History.
Starting this week students will be studying George Washington's administration and how the differences between two of his Cabinet members, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, led to the creation of the two party system of the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. They will also be deciding which party they would have chosen to belong to and giving reasons why.
(As for answering the question about today's parties being the same as the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans? The answer is yes and no--there have been many twists and turns throughout American political history and neither the ideas of the Republican nor Democratic parties today perfectly match the ideas of the Fede…