Showing posts with the label holidays

What I Teach the Week Before Thanksgiving

  The weeks before a break always seem like the longest.  The kids are restless, I'm restless, and we all understand that all we're really doing is biding our time until that last bell before break.   Thanksgiving is a different type of beast altogether though.  My district gives an entire week, the first real break since school started, and we know that right around the corner is Christmas.  It is hard to focus, let alone get 150 students to focus.  But one thing I've learned in all my years of teaching is that the best catalyst for engaging students is to tell them they don't know something that they think they know.    Enter my week before Thanksgiving unit.  Each day is about dismissing the beliefs that they think they have about Thanksgiving.  They look at encyclopedia entries, primary source documents, secondary source documents, speeches, and even listen to a podcast to get the right story, the truer story, surrounding Thanksgiving... and not just from the perspe

3 Videos to Use During the Holidays in the ELA Class

Yes, I know it’s March.  But I just found my PowerPoint and so I’m sharing now. 1. History vs. Christopher Columbus by Alex Gendler Why do we still celebrate this holiday?  This animated TED ED talk goes into what’s not taught in elementary school about Columbus.  Cliff Notes: he was a bad dude. 2. Can Art Amend History? By Titus Kaphar So I teach a lesson about the first Thanksgiving.  Days 1-3 delve into the English version of the holiday and what most people believe about Thanksgiving.  Days 4 and 5 discuss the Native American perspective, which isn’t discussed enough.  This TED asks the question: Can we learn about the unpleasantness of our history through art?  Is it more palatable to digest that way?  Super entertaining talk. 3. Black Friday: An Accident of History by Hank Green Not technically a TED Talk, but it’s good.  Hank Green talks about Black Friday and its origins.  We all get a little preachy about the meaning of Christmas (vs. the commerc