Big History: The Christmas Truce of 1914

We are one month into our study of World War I in American History.  We culminated our first month of study with our lesson on the famous Christmas Truce of 1914.

This lesson was so much fun!  The video is of the brief, 6-minute lecture to go with the lesson.  At the beginning of the lesson, you will hear a group of students using bells to go with the music.  Following the lecture, we enjoyed a “No Man’s Land Soccer Match” outside.  We set up “land mines” and “barbed wire” for the students to perform around.  Our obstacles were trash cans, buckets, etc.  The students loved it!  When we finished, we came in and enjoyed some homemade hot chocolate and finished the lesson with an unbelievable and moving mini-movie (3 minutes) put together by Sainsbury’s.  This video can be found on YouTube.

Enjoy and as always have a passion for what you teach!

 

The Assassination of William McKinley

Lincoln, Kennedy, and who?  William McKinley???  Find out all about this forgotten assassination from our American Class this past week!

Also be on the watch for what McKinley’s final words were prior to the emergency surgery to extract the assassin’s bullets!

 

When Student Enthusiasm Fades, Teacher Enthusiasm Must Soar

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Remember all of those first day smiles filled with the anticipation of the first day of school that you witnessed in the faces of your students?  Remember their excitement as they met new friends?  Recall the joy of seeing their new classroom, new books, and so much more?

If only that excitement of the first day of school could last the duration of the entire school year.  

However, very quick the realization of the work ahead sets in for many students.  Daily work, quizzes, tests, projects, and essays soon appear and the joy turns to thoughts of being overwhelmed.  

For students, parents, and teachers alike the excitement soon turns to the grind.

Continue reading “When Student Enthusiasm Fades, Teacher Enthusiasm Must Soar”

American History Plans

I am so excited for the upcoming school year, and the content I will be teaching for American History II.  Our complete focus will be on the time period from World War I through World War II.  It is going to be incredible!

A couple highlights from the picture.

History Theme:  Our theme for this year’s history study will be, Rise

Year at a Glance:  Our course of study is all laid out on the Rise Word Chart.  The larger the word, the more emphasis that lesson will receive throughout the year.

Our Monthly Lessons to Buy a Ticket For:  I like to lead to a major lesson every month.  It gives us purpose, and it keeps our minds on track.  I dub these lessons, “A lesson you would buy a ticket for!”  This concept is from the incredible education book, Teach Like a Pirate.  

If you are interested in a closer up shot of the monthly lessons or the year plan, just drop a comment in the comment section!

As always, be passionate and keep growing!

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Bringing Literature & Writing to Life

Having a challenging time bringing some life to your literature and writing classes this last month of the school year?

One of my favorite activities to use is a comic strip creator available through PC, Apple, or Android.

We just created our own comics last week in literature class.  The students created their own graphic novel written in the style of the popular thriller series, Goosebumps.  The students loved it, and it has caused some of them to delve into the series further.

Check out this handy graphic organizer, and start your students on their own comic today!

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Is History Dead in Your Classroom?

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“History is philosophy teaching by examples.”

That quote is attributed to the great Athenian general and historian, Thucydides.  We all know the old saying, “those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”  While true, the quote from Thucydides gives that saying true gravity.  History not only teaches us about the past, it teaches us about ourselves.  It teaches us the principle that everything throughout history has a grand purpose and plan laid out by our Creator.

So this bears the question, do you find yourself in a history teaching rut?  Do you find yourself repeating endless lessons without flavor and life?  Do you spend too many days assigning text without context or meaning?

Don’t feel ashamed, we’ve all been there.

I’ve got good news, you can bring history to life immediately.  Allow me to share just a few ideas and a little background on myself.

Continue reading “Is History Dead in Your Classroom?”

Boys Don’t Need SuperDad, They Just Need Dad

In my years of teaching, coaching basketball, and being involved in the lives of teens I learned one thing that dwarfs everything else I learned. Boys and young men need dads. Most importantly, they need to know that their dad is “there.”

Being “there” doesn’t mean you have to be at every game, every practice, every up and down, every event. However, being “there” means that they can depend on you. That they know you care. That you love spending time with them. That, when the time comes, you are willing to drop everything just to see or be with them.

First, some staggering and sobering statistics. Most of these statistics pertain to single-parent households where the dad is not present in the child’s life.

  • Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics.
  • Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty, a rate 5 to 6 times that of kids living with both parents.
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
  • 72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60% of America’s rapists grew up the same way according to a study by D. Cornell (et al.), in Behavioral Sciences and the Law.
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes according to the National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes according to a study by the Center for Disease Control.
  • A large survey conducted in the late 1980s found that about 20% of divorced fathers had not seen his children in the past year, and that fewer than 50% saw their children more than a few times a year.
  • In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed “greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households,” according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Continue reading “Boys Don’t Need SuperDad, They Just Need Dad”