Start with a Question

As a classroom teacher, I would not be able to count the number of questions asked each day. Sometimes my high school students resembled my niece and nephews – each question followed with “but, why?” Over and over and over. Having taught courses at the high school and college level, people frequently ask what the…

Teaching Imperialism, Past and Present

Over the last couple of weeks, two things in particular have gotten me thinking about the ways in which I approach one of the most enduring themes of United States history in my classes. First, Hurricane Maria and its aftermath produced what’s become an absolute cataclysm in Puerto Rico. Second, as the awful news from…

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…