Instead of a Valentine’s Pop Quiz…

Have students create a Valentine’s “Pop” Up Card for a historical figure!
Easy to make and will brighten the day!

Check it out here: Pop – Up Cards – Easily create memorable Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Cards for your classroom

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Make historical Valentine’s
And your students will love you

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History Class Can Be Fun!

Here are ten ways to make your history class more engaging and more interactive!

Pop-Up Cards:   Have students create historical greeting cards.  Great for Valentine’s Day!   Pop – Up Cards

Mannequin Challenge:  Need some peace on a Friday afternoon?  Try a Mannequin Challenge. m The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

Flipgrid Discussion:  Have students make a quick video to answer a prompt or give an opinion with this free tool.  ”Back to School with Flipgrid

Play – Doh Pictograms:  Great for a lesson on ancient civilizations.   Play-Doh is Power

Speed Networking:   Modern day networking with historical figures.   Speed Networking in the Classroom

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Play-Doh is Power

Working with teenagers on Friday afternoons can be difficult but I decided to spice things up this week with my lesson on the early river valley civilizations. My students jumped out of their chairs and cheered when I told them they would each receive their own “Play-Doh ” – no longer just for toddlers!  I had them create their own names and pictograms in cuneiform.

Thank you to the Penn Museum for inspiring this activity!  First I had my students go to their website: https://www.penn.museum/games/cuneiform.shtml    They were asked to write their own names down in their notebooks in cuneiform as shared by the website.
Then I gave each student an individual Play-Doh (see below) and a popstick (since reed stylus pens were not available like they were in Sumer 🙂 ).
I found an entire 33 pack of Play-Doh at my local Amazing Savings for $8.99 but you can also find them at Walmart here: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Play-Doh-Ultimate-Rainbow-Pack/24537163
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Students carved their names in cuneiform into the Play-Doh.   They were smitten!
To extend the activity I asked them to make their own pictograms in the playdough and have other students guess what the words meant (in groups of four students). We then discussed the origins of writing and what the advantages were for a civilization to use writing vs pictograms.  A great discussion on emojis emerged and how difficult it could be to use a pictogram to communicate via text message!
They walked out the classroom high fiving me and smiling.  Job well done for the week.  I plan to have my students do an abridged version next week with hieroglyphics! Play-Doh can be powerful in the classroom. Have you tried out this activity?
Here are some of the fun Play-Doh creations!
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Pop – Up Cards – Easily create memorable Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Cards for your classroom

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I know I’m a little behind with this post re: Valentine’s Day BUT… I had to share this amazing activity I enjoyed with my students a few weeks ago. We made historical pop up Valentine’s Day Cards for the classroom!

I taught my students a basic way to make a pop up card – Start with a simple card or piece of paper and fold it in half. Then cut parallel lines (in pairs of the same length) into the middle fold as shown in the picture. The cuts should be no more then half the length of the card. Push the flaps forward until your card looks the same as the top half.

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The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

I have been waiting all year to try out the Mannequin Challenge in my classroom! Finally I had the opportunity this week to get my students to “freeze in time” for this awesome task.

The Mannequin Challenge was a trend that spread across the internet asking people to freeze in a particular moment in time usually while a camera captures the moment. I chose to participate without the camera. Here’s how you can too.

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Teach Hamilton (the Musical) In the Classroom

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Many moons ago (2009 to be exact), before Hamilton was a big hit on Broadway, Lin Manuel Miranda presented a rap song to President Obama at the White House Poetry Jam.  It was funny, fresh and historically accurate – in other words PERFECT for my US history class to view.

The first year I showed the clip, my students were enamored. I had them rap it as a class the second time around. WHO IS THIS GUY?! asked the students (referring to both Hamilton AND LIN!)

They were hooked, students wanted MORE Hamilton… (Little did they know they were in for a round of Oklahoma shortly thereafter).

As the years went on I joshed to my students, “Oh, they are supposed to make this into a Broadway show some day, maybe you will get tickets to see it once you graduate”. Little did WE know that this was going to be the biggest musical hit of our generation!  I have had so many students have email me over the past year asking “WERE YOU IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS?!” aka, “DID YOU GET HAMILTON TICKETS YET?!” The answer, yes…. I was one of the lucky ones.  I was not giving away My Shot. In fact, I tried every day when it played at the Public Theatre to no avail. But once it was released on Broadway I bought tickets for the first week (6 months out of course).

Opening week, there I was, mouthing every word to the opening song “Hamilton”.

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman,
dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in the Caribbean
by providence, impoverished, in squalor

Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

I was obsessed. I knew I had to bring more of the play into my classroom. Previously, when I taught the topic of the early Colonial Period and the American Revolution, I did a painting analysis of John Trumbell’s Revolutionary War paintings. BUT… when the play came out I created more curriculum to bring in lyrics from the play.

Here’s how I did it by Topic:
All the lyrics are online for you to view here: http://atlanticrecords.com/HamiltonMusic/
M
y recommendation is to print out lyrics for students to underline, then analyze as you listen to the music.

The Early Colonial Period

Topic:  Immigration
Song: Hamilton
Obviously, the first song “Hamilton” is the hook. Have students review the lyrics.
Questions to consider:
Infer – what was the immigrant experience like in the 1700s?
Can you draw any parallels to today?  Can any of you relate to Hamilton? Why?

Notable Lyric Sample:

Alexander Hamilton
We are waiting in the wings for you
You could never back down
You never learned to take your time!
Oh, Alexander Hamilton

When America sings for you
Will they know what you overcame?
Will they know you rewrote the game?
The world will never be the same, oh

The ship is in the harbor now
See if you can spot him
Another immigrant
Comin’ up from the bottom
His enemies destroyed his rep
America forgot him

Topic: American Revolution
Subject Matter: Loyalists vs Tories, Olive Branch Petition

Song: Farmer Refuted
Questions to consider:
How can we differentiate between the Loyalists/Tories and Fence sitters during the American Revolution?
Which side would you be on and why?

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The Teaching SECRET you NEED to know!

Tomorrow is the BIG day! The first day of teaching for NYC schools and students. As a seasoned teacher I always get asked the same question during my summer break… if there was one SECRET to being a great teacher what would it be? This is never an easy question to answer. But it really all comes down to ONE SECRET.

The best teachers COMBINE the TWO E’s.  ENTHUSIASM and EMPATHY.

WHY is this the secret to great teaching? Simple. Ask yourself, what type of teacher would you learn best from? Would you want to be a student in your class? In order to say YES you need both enthusiasm and empathy.

Great your students with a big “HELLO!” every day. Every class. Why? Because you don’t know what kind of day they have been having. That’s where the empathy comes into play. Maybe they didn’t have the chance to speak to their parents, maybe they got in a fight with their sibling, a peer or worse. Combining your smile with empathy is contagious.

Best of luck on this new school year teachers. Here are my favorite tips and tricks for bringing enthusiasm into the classroom! Let me know how your first day back goes!

Bring Google Classroom to Life

Howdy! How do you do? (Classroom Icebreakers 101)

Make a Magnificent Classroom Meme !

History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Why I put the SOCIAL back into SOCIAL STUDIES!

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)

Bored of Giving Assessments? – Use Board Games!

Holiday Themes for Google Classroom

Play-Doh is Power

Color the Past

The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom

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