I love teaching about the Renaissance. One way to get my students interested and STAY interested in this topic, is to take virtual field trips using Google Earth (Internet access required and only works on some devices like Chromebooks). If you cannot access Google Earth, use the Vatican's virtual tours link. Have students "wander" around in the museum for ten minutes and then have them write a short response of what it was like in the Sistine Chapel. They can also take screen shots of their favorite artwork and try to find the painter/ sculpture and write a brief biography.
Human sacrifice?! Have I got your attention? Students love to learn about the Aztecs and human sacrifice. Use this lesson to teach this remarkable civilization.
This DBQ reinforces the document analysis and writing process; this DBQ also introduces a new component: finding historical research to support their original thesis. Students will have to find a level 2 (secondary source) or level 3 (primary source) as evidence and explain how it can be used to answer the DBQ Question. Students will write a five paragraph essay answering the question: What was the purpose and role of human sacrifice in Aztec society?
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Not many people know about Mansa Musa. He was a remarkable leader and went on a remarkable journey. I am still waiting for Hollywood to make an epic Biopic about him. In this lesson students will be investigating whether he was the richest man to ever live (The answer is: we really don't have enough information to determine this, but the kids will find out for themselves!).
It is difficult for students to navigate the internet and find appropriate primary and secondary sources. In this lesson students will learn how to effectively research a historical question while simultaneously learning about West African Kingdoms during the Middle Ages. This is a fun lesson that students enjoy...for some reason kids love investigating "rich people."
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In this lesson students will evaluate why the time period under the Abbasid dynasty referred to as the Golden Age of Islam by developing a thesis and support their thesis by writing a historical essay with evidence. This is a great lesson to help teach historical thinking and historical writing while learning about a fascinating Civilization during the Middle Ages: The Abbasids!
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Teaching "Global Convergence" in 7th Grade?
In this lesson students will deconstruct the advantages that the Spanish had over the Aztec Empire. In the early 1800-1900’s (Western) Historical scholarship focused on the “Civilized” nature of the Spanish and their moral greatness which made them “superior men” and thereby able to defeat the mighty Aztec empire. But, really the Spanish had many advantages, not because they were “superior” but, rather- just lucky. Students will practice analyzing sources, finding corroborating sources and writing a historical analysis answering the question: How were the Spanish conquistadors able to defeat the mighty Aztec Empire with only 600 men?
This is a great lesson to examine how much of history and culture is shaped by luck and circumstance. It challenges the assumption of "Western Superiority" and rather uncovers the advantages European powers had.
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The purpose of this lesson is to show that the Renaissance covered a big period in European history and the concept is used to characterize the artistic and architectural advances of a select echelon of society and did not necessarily affect everyone across Europe in an equal manner. While, the purpose is not to underscore the accomplishments of the Renaissance (it is encouraged to teach the artistic advances and human accomplishment) but rather show a more complete picture of what life was like in Europe for all people not just the elite. Students will practice their close reading strategies as well as analysis strategies by answering the question: Is the “Renaissance” a Mischaracterization of an Age?
Students read five secondary sources, answer 10 comprehension questions, a handout how to quote, summarize, paraphrase and analyze historical evidence, an essay outline/planner (for students who need additional supports) and a rubric to help guide student's writing.
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I love teaching about the Columbian Exchange. Students are fascinated about how different foods, animals and diseases developed differently in the "Old" and "New World." In this lesson student examine the IMPACT of the Columbian Exchange on the "New" and "Old World" by examining secondary sources. Students will then practice searching for credible sources online that would explain the IMPACT of exchanging animals, diseases, plants and technology. My favorite part is when students find a recipe (I challenge them to ask a Grandparent or relative for a family recipe- I have kids calling their abuelitas in Mexico who they haven't talked to in ages!) and then they create a "Cooking Show" or "Cookbook" that shows other students how to make the recipe with historical details about that particular food time (Example: The potato comes from the "New World" and there are thousands of varieties of potatoes). Sometimes students will even bring a sample for other students to try (I got the Principal permission first!).
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Instead of a "physical interactive notebook" my students have Online Interactive Notebooks. I call these notebooks "Hidden Histories" in which I focus on people who are marginalized or not mentioned in history. For my first digital notebook of the year I have students learn about the basics of History and provide them many prompts for reflection. Use this free resource to help your students start thinking about where history comes from.
How to implement the Digital Notebook?
If you have access to technology students can complete a little at a time (or make it an independent assignment). If students do not have access to the internet these documents can be printed out display a question or prompt on the screen and students can write responses on paper.
If you click the image below it will take you to an online google document. Make a copy of the document and feel free to modify for your class.
Use this free handout in your history classes to teach how to "source" a document. Provide students with a primary or secondary source and they can answer all or some of the questions provided (they can write answers on lined paper or annotate a document on the margins or with sticky notes). These guided questions help students "interrogate" or "question" the source. This is what Historians do to make sure sources are credible or reliable. This worksheet helps students be critical consumers of information that will help develop their critical thinking abilities.
Click the Image below for the Link to a Free PDF.
I am passionate about history and am an education enthusiast.