Okay . . . was planning on focusing on geography today and went to a session that . . . well . . . wasn’t good. It reminded me of someone.

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? anyone-anyoneThe Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?… raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.

Ann Claunch of the National History Day group had my second choice going on just down the hallway and I was able to duck into her session. Shoulda come here first.

She shared one of her activities that she uses as an introduction exercise that I really like. I’ll try it with a group of teachers next week and see what they think. First, have students divide a piece of paper into four squares by drawing two lines. Then ask them to do the following:

  • In the first square, draw something that happened last year
  • In the second square, draw something that happened 10 years ago
  • In the third square, draw something that happened 50 years ago
  • In the last square, draw something that happened in 100 years ago (MS) or 1000 years ago (HS)

Ann says an interesting thing happens almost every time. In the first square, students will list a personal event. In the second square, kids draw something from their elementary experience. In the third, you see stuff about parents or grandparents. The last square? A few students will be able to draw something but most will draw the oldest thing they can think of – dinosaurs at elementary, very generic answers – there was a war, there were cats, etc at the MS and HS levels.

She suggests using tons of picture books, even for middle and high school kids.

Ann also has her kids create Found Poetry as a post-reading activity to measure understanding. She has her kids fold images, maps and documents (even fiction books pages) in fourths to get kids to focus on specific details and then make inferences from those details. Similar to the three story media activity that I’ve shared with teachers.

Some nice stuff. All of the books she shared lead instruction and learning back to primary sources and analysis worksheets.