Showing posts from October, 2015

November is Gratitude Month


Teaching the American Revolution using Music

I really enjoy incorporating music into my classroom on a daily basis. I play classical music while my History students are working on group activities, Motown hits for my Effective Teens when they are planning their Genius Hour projects, U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)" to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and analyze his impact on the Civil Rights Movement, and relaxation music when I sense student stress levels are high. 
Yesterday I utilized music in a different way--to help students deeply review the American Revolution.
The piece I used was the main theme to the movie "The Patriot", composed by John Williams. This piece is brilliant, in my opinion, because it so clearly takes the listener through the history of the American Revolution. One can hear life before British taxation in the colonies, the impact of events like the Boston Massacre and Intolerable Acts, the early, middle, and turning point battles of the wa…

"Make a Good Decision"

My historians turned in their first assessment for me today. It was a graphic organizer outline (I am a huge proponent of graphic organizers--they're a terrific tool to organize thinking and writing) and an analytical writing piece. 
The first assessment is always a stressful time for my students--most want to make sure they follow all guidelines and complete it "perfectly". This is also usually the first time one of my favorite teacher phrases is spoken:
Discussion of the assignment specifics usually goes along these lines: 
Students: "Should we print or use cursive?" Me: "Make a good decision." Students: "Would you like us to use pen or pencil?" Me: "Make a good decision." Students: "May we submit it online?" Me: "Make a good decision."
My poor students usually get increasingly confused by my statement. I want them to decide for themselves how to complete the details (I do have writing guidelines and factual …