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Friday, January 23, 2015

American Revolution- Student Engagement and Note-Taking

Right now in social studies I am teaching about the many events that led up to the American Revolution.  In previous years my class has always loved learning American History, but this year....not so much. I had to do something extra to get them hooked.

As an introduction, and to grab the kids attention, I asked them to brainstorm things their parents have asked them to do.  They responded with typical things like "be quiet", "clean your room", "eat your vegetables"... We talked  about why parents give directions, and they all agreed that parents are trying to help their kids, teach them important lessons, show them the right way to do things. We talked about how as kids get older and show they are responsible parents usually give them more freedom.  I compared this to the colonists and Britain.

Ok...now they are getting interested.  My next scenario asked them how they would feel if they were 20 or 25, had a job, and living on their own and their parents were giving them the same directions.  This got a major response!  The kids were outraged by this fictional scenario and even the thought of it happening to them.

Perfect!  I got them hooked!

I moved into the content covering the French and Indian War, the Proclamation of 1763, the stamp act, the quartering act, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable/Coercive Acts.  I kept relating the events to the kids lives and made connections between the colonists wanting freedom and not needing/wanting Britain's rule and guidance anymore.  I think this series of lessons finally got them interested in learning more about history!

As I planned this series of lessons I realized that this was a perfect example of cause and effect, and also a great opportunity to teach my kids some note-taking skills.
I created this cause and effect note-taking sheet for the kids and it really helped my class organize their learning and make connections between the events and the growing frustration of the colonists.

You can download a copy of this note-taking sheet by clicking the link above.

How do you get your kids excited to learn about history?

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