Kids NOT getting history! - ProTeacher Community


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Kids NOT getting history!
Old 12-28-2005, 01:56 PM
 
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I teach an ELD core that is supposed to include some history. We're middle schoolers, this year I am covering the eighth grade standards, which is U.S. history.

I'm having a horrible time with my early intermediate group. This is NOT a group that does group work well, or listens well, or likes anything that involves thought. (I don't mean to diss my students, but I know 'em pretty well by now. They want the lesson, the worksheet, and for me to shut up.)

History is kind of hard to teach like that...

I've tried a bunch of things, but basically, the kids are not GETTING it. They memorize fine--we did a map quiz, on the 13 colonies, and they did very well. But graphic organizers, comic strips, letters from historical people--anything creative--bugs them, they don't do the assignments--and they do BADLY on quizzes.

Ideas?


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Old 12-28-2005, 03:10 PM
 
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I teach US History in a parochial school and they don't like to do anything that requires thought, either. It drives me crazy. Actually, the book discussion, worksheet, and test is an EASY way to teach. It is not any easy way to LEARN!

Like it or not (on their part) they have to learn how to use primary sources, read political cartoons, and analyze. Graphic Organizers help them sort out and organize information. So do not stop using them.

Basically they are making very poor choices and of course their scores show it. I got angry one time and gave them a choice of the book/worksheet/test option with a grade no higher than a C or going "my way". The majority of the class chose the simplest way out. I sent a letter to the parents explaining the choices and the choice their child made. I stated that the majority of my time would be spent with the group that actually wanted to LEARN history. If this was acceptable to them, to sign and return. I actually had two parents sign it. The others were told by their parents to get with the program.

Here is a good site for teaching:

http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/

Do you have the computer program "Inspiration" on your computers? Kids often enjoy doing graphic organizers with that program.

I wish I knew the magic way to "fix" apathy.
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Use the Computer
Old 01-02-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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There are A LOT of webquests & simulations available free online or at the library, & most kids that age love using the computer. You could also have them use only online sources for any sort of research papers, or challenge them to make their own "more interesting" DBQs by searching for political cartoons on a specific topic, or finding primary documents online.
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Old 01-03-2006, 12:51 PM
 
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I know what you are saying about the quizzes. Instead of standard quizzes try a crossword puzzle for vocab and basic knowledge. You can also create a story with fill in the blanks. These don't remind the students of a quizz but they are helpful to us teachers.
http://discoveryschool.com has great puzzle starters that you can create for your needs.
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Lisa L
 
 
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turn the tables
Old 01-17-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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I have found that since middle schoolers like to talk, it works well to make them teach. They also do not want to be embarrassed in front of their peers. I often assign each student a topic (person, event, place) from the current unit, and they have to research it and come up with a quiz themselves, then grade it. Makes them think about the topic, but also makes them responsible for the research. I have at least one student teacher each chapter, but they don't always know who will be presenting, so they all need to be prepared. I help my lowest ability students if they ask, but only when they ask. They listen to their peers more than to me, as well.


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Vary the Activities
Old 01-25-2006, 09:30 AM
 
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I'm using InspirEd U.S. History units and my kids love them. They do make kids think, but the activities are fun and varied.
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