I think the first chapter of this book, Reading History by Janet Allen, shows some great insight on the connection between literacy and history, and how we as teachers will need to adjust to the needs of our students. For example, Allen lists different processes for assessing student’s background knowledge. This is essential in the subject of history because everything connects. In the section about “Creating meaningful and memorable historical contexts”, Allen address gaps in historical content. This reminded me of my freshman year of high school, we were learning about the printing press, and how books used to be copied by hand before this invention. One of my peers honestly did not understand why these people didn’t just use a copy machine. It was comical at the time, but she honestly did not realize the lack of electricity until someone explicitly reminded her. This is something that as a teacher I will need to be able to address, instead of just giggling at the girl’s mistake and moving on.
I like that Christine, the 8th grade teacher, used a myriad of sources to engage her students, including relating her lessons to Titanic when the movie was released. I really like the idea of book passes, especially if students were then able to choose one of the books they sampled and do some kind of additional project with it. I also really loved the idea of the Anticipation Guide, especially since students’ opinions change after they learn all the facts (I saw this in a more informal way in my CPD regarding students’ opinions on the Vietnam War). I did have a little bit of trouble with the idea of a word wall. This device is used often in our other readings, but I feel like it looks too childish to give to 15 and 16 year olds. Is there a way to get the point of a word wall across without actually writing the words on a strip of colorful paper at the front of the room?