You Say You Want A Revolution?

Benjamin_Franklin_-_Join_or_Die

Well, you know…… I started my unit on the American Revolution in our social studies class this week. Now, I know some readers might think it’s strange to teach US history in South Korea to students who aren’t American, but I say it’s necessary. My students attend an international school that’s uses American curriculum. I also think it helps my students learn to broaden their perspective about global events.

I also challenge my students, encouraging them to think about what was happening here in East Asia during that time (one student is Korean, the other is Chinese).

How do I teach this??American-revolution

History is often a dull subject in school. Many students, like myself, often disliked it because they spend time memorizing key figures, dates, events, places, etc. It wasn’t until I finished school that I gained an appreciation for history, and after teaching it (at the elementary level), I found it can be fun. I enjoy learning new things and I look for ways to make learning enjoyable for my students.

 Here are some ways to make history fun:

  • Role plays – One way to engage students is to have them perform a “reader’s theater” or play. You can find scripts online or make your own. This activity helps students practice their speaking skills, as well as help them imagine what it would be like for the people during that time period.
  • Video Projects – Another way is to have groups or pairs of students make a video about a specific event, or person. The students can film a mock interview, recreate a battle, or find another way to depict the historical event or person.
  • Founding Father Trading Cards – The American Revolution is full of important people! One way to help students learn why those people were important, is to have them design a trading card (similar to the old baseball cards you collected as a kid). Each card would have a picture of the person and his/her name on the front. The back of the card would give facts about that person (birth date, place of birth, short biography, reason why he/she is important).
  • Hold a mock debate – Split up your class into two groups: Loyalists and Patriots (Revolutionaries). Not every colonial wanted independence. In fact, the number of colonials who wanted to remain loyal were about equal to those who wanted independence. There were also those who didn’t care either way. As John Adams said: “We were about one third Tories [Loyalists], and one third timid, and one third true blue.” (source)

revolutionary-war-flagThere are many other ways to make learning history, whether it’s US history or world  history, enjoyable and engaging for the students. Many of these projects can serve as alternative assessment tools as well. So, try a few out or create your own!

Make history come alive!

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Filed under Education, Elementary School, History, Social Studies, USA

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