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TeachNet Disseminator Grant      << Back to all Grant Winners

Not Teaching to the Test: Documenting United States History II

Subject: American History

Grade Level: 11

Materials: Students use computers with Internet access and scanners, and employ Adobe Acrobat Professional, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation and other office productivity software programs to enhance their research.

About: Every year, eleventh graders in New York take the United States History and Government Regents Examination. Traditionally, preparing students to do well on these high-stake exams has followed a familiar pattern: “chalk-and-talk” thematic lectures, reading and writing assignments from review books, and endless amounts of practice multiple-choice and essay questions. However, excessive memorization and repetition may be counterproductive. Unlike the traditional “teach-to-the-test” approach, students collaborate to produce authentic products that synthesize learning. Each hands-on activity challenges students to think critically using multiple disciplines such as language arts, technology, and creative arts. These activities make content more accessible and meaningful for our students.

All of these activities are student-centered. This fits our current educational model very well, with the teacher in the role of facilitator. The lessons help to strengthen students' analytical and research skills and prepare them for the Regents exam. With an understanding of the value of class time and curriculum coverage, most of the individual topics can be completed in a period or two.

Teachers should contact the computer lab to check for Internet availability before bringing students in to work, and keep close watch of the time spent on group work. Constant evaluating and assessing are keys to success.

http://szetohistory.tripod.com/docamhis2.htm

 Objectives
To review for United States History and Government Regents Examination through hands-on learning activity.

Websites
Activity 1
http://szetohistory.tripod.com/americanmusic.pdf
Activity 2
http://szetohistory.tripod.com/news.pdf
Activity 3
http://szetohistory.tripod.com/painting.pdf
Activity 4
http://szetohistory.tripod.com/social.pdf

Standards
Students use a variety of intellectual, analytical, and research skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in history.
9 - 12
Social Studies
Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and present information.
9 -12
Language Arts / Social Studies
Students read and write for information and understanding, using standard English skillfully.
Language Arts

Day 1: AMERICAN MUSIC, AMERICAN HISTORY
Objectives
To review the development of major historical periods by analyzing songs and creating a multimedia project using either Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Photo Story, or a video editing tool.
Materials
Access to Internet
Multimedia Authoring Software (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint)
Procedures
In groups of 3 – 4 members, complete the following tasks: Select five songs related to American history. You can locate lyrics and music files for some songs from the following websites: Music in America: http://memory.loc.gov/learn/community/cc_music.php Authentic History http://authentichistory.com/
Some suggestions you might wish to consider include: “Tom Joad” by Woody Guthrie; “Our Country” by John Mellencamp; “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key; and “American the Beautiful” by Katherine Lee Bates. You are not limited to these suggestions.
For each song selected, fill out a chart to organize your notes (See Handout 1).
Using these songs, you will create a multimedia project using either Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Photo Story or a video editing tool. You may locate images from the following website: American Memory: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
Make a presentation of your work to rest of the class.
Homework
Assessment
Students are evaluated using the rubrics posted on the curriculum website at http://szetohistory.tripod.com/regentsunits.htm. Put all work in the portfolio.

Day 2: NEWSPAPERS, BOOKS AND MAGAZINES IN AMERICA
Objectives
To review literary works from specific historical periods.
Materials
Access to Internet
Handouts from the National Archives
Procedures
In groups of 3 – 4 members, complete the following tasks: Determine the role that newspapers, books and magazines have played in influencing United States history and/or American society since 1900. Select five historical examples to support your discussion.
Ask students to analyze each example using a Written Document Analysis Worksheet: National Archives: http://archives.gov/education/lessons/
For each work selected, fill out a chart to organize your notes (See Handout 1).
Some suggestions you might wish to consider include: Common Sense – Revolutionary War; Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Civil War; The Liberator – Abolition Movement; How the Other Half Lives – Progressive Movement; Silent Spring – Environment; and New York World – Spanish American War. You are not limited to these suggestions.
Using responses from Handout 1, write a review for each work.
Make a presentation of your work to the rest of the class.
Homework
Assessment
Students are evaluated using the rubrics posted on the curriculum website at http://szetohistory.tripod.com/regentsunits.htm. Put all work in the portfolio.

Day 3: AMERICAN PAINTINGS
Objectives
To analyze paintings from several historical periods in American History.
Materials
Access to Internet
Visual Analysis Worksheet
Procedures
In groups of 3 – 4 members, complete the following tasks: Select three paintings that depict themes in American history. Analyze each example using a Visual Analysis Worksheet: http://ngv.vic.gov.au/collection/australian/painting/education_kit/worksht.html
For each work selected, fill out a chart to organize your notes (See Handout 1).
For each painting, write an analytical paragraph for each painting selected. You should explain specifically how the painting illustrates a particular time period in American history.
Some suggestions you might wish to consider include: American Progress; Signing of the Constitution; and American Gothic.
You may visit the following website for more suggestions: National Gallery of Art http://nga.gov/collection/gallery/amer.shtm Metropolitan Museum of Art http://metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/department.asp?dep=2
Using responses from Handout 1, write a review for each work.
Make a presentation of your work to the rest of the class.
Homework
Assessment
Students are evaluated using the rubrics posted on the curriculum website at http://szetohistory.tripod.com/regentsunits.htm. Put all work in the portfolio.

Day 4: SOCIAL ISSUES IN AMERICAN HISTORY
Objectives
To produce a PSA in print and on video based on a selected social issue.
Materials
Access to Internet
Video camcoder
Art supplies
Procedures
In groups of 3 – 4 members, complete the following tasks: Select one time period in American history.
Some suggestions you might wish to consider include: The Gilded Age; Industrialization; Imperialism; World War I; World War II; and the Vietnam War. You are not limited to these suggestions.
For the selected topic, use the Internet to research the social issues based on the topic selected. Organize the responses in Handout 1.
Use the following websites to create the PSA in print and on video: Creating a Story Board for Video Production http://hawaii.edu/~ricky/etec/storyboarding.html Ad Council – An online collection of historic public service announcements. http://adcouncil.org/
Make a video presentation of your work to rest of the class. Display the print version on a bulletin board.
Homework
Assessment
Students are evaluated using the rubrics posted on the curriculum website at http://szetohistory.tripod.com/regentsunits.htm. Put all work in the portfolio.

Andy Szeto

szetohistory@aol.com

Bayside High School
32-24 Corporal Kennedy St.
Bayside , NY 11361

Andy Szeto has taught Social Studies at Bayside High School since 2002. He specializes in American History, but also teaches Global History and Economics. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stony Brook University in History, holds a MS in Reading from SUNY Albany, and completed his Educational Administration coursework in 2006. He serves as the Student Teacher Advisor for the Social Studies Department in his school, and won a Teacher Disseminator Grant from Teachers Network. He has written two Individualized Curriculum Units for Department of Education, titled Crash: Curriculum Guide and U.S. Independent Study. Both guides are posted on his website at http://szetohistory.tripod.com.

 

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