Shedding Content: A List of Things Lost and Gained

I’m back! After a semester of maternity leave, I was thrilled to get back in the classroom.  Don’t get me wrong, my seven month old is cute and cuddly, but I really like college kids. Before the summer break, I contemplated on this blog about shedding content in favor of emphasizing analytical skills and modern…

Teaching the Recent Past with Music

This semester I’m teaching America in the Nuclear Era: 1945-1968 (syllabus linked). I recently divided my 1945-present elective into two halves to allow for better exploration of the moments in the years covered and develop a more thematic approach. As with all my courses, I include a significant amount of popular culture. For the previous…

Doing History with Inquiry

When people hear that I am a social studies teacher, their responses typically fall into two camps: they either tell me how much they love history or hate it. The reason for any negativity towards the subject is typically because, “I’m not good at memorizing dates.” And indeed, students’ image of a social studies teacher…

Creating the Space for Engaged Discussions

It’s a new academic year, and optimism and energy are in abundant supply. There are new ideas for class, new ways to engage students, and great questions to wrestle with as the intersections between past and present have rarely been so obvious. And it all goes swimmingly, it seems, until the first time we actually…

Summer Reading: Teaching and Learning

One of the perks of working at my institution is a somewhat unusual academic calendar in which our graduation occurs the last Saturday in April. We may start our spring semester alarmingly soon after New Year’s, but it’s all worth it come May and nearly four months of open time beckons. This longer summer recess…

Survey Tourism

When I was a graduate student, one of the professors I TA’d for taught the survey like, well, a survey.  We “visited” a variety of places examining not only the history but the ways in which the place had remembered that history.  So, for example, we visited Santa Fe and thought critically about the Fiesta…