20 Sep History Update
In Mr. Graham’s History Classes, we’ve begun to explore the following skills: listening and taking notes without a device. We’ve also explored the following themes: Immigration Past and Present; Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Origins of Capitalism; Colonialism and Mercantilism; and Present-Day World Governments beginning w/ United States. All History Students were asked to review the Preamble to United States Constitution over the weekend in preparation for this past Tuesday’s class.
For Mr. Singer’s History class, we started on the first day by going around the classroom and sharing one-by-one what we did over our summer break. Mr. Singer went first to lead by example. He suggested to the students that they’d probably want to take notes while we were doing this, and took bullet point notes on the whiteboard, again to set as an example. Following this, Mr. Singer stepped out of the room for a few moments–this was part of the plan–then returned to give students their assignment: to write an “historical account” of what occurred during the class period. The following class period, we reviewed each of the “historical accounts”. It was interesting to note how different the accounts were. Some students shared in great detail about everyone’s summer experiences and some students also shared in great detail what happened in the classroom while Mr. Singer was out of the room. Other students were very brief/vague in their accounts. Some students reported events in the wrong order. The reports were always from a first-person point-of-view. Mr. Singer pointed out that if we were to create a time capsule and chose one of the students’ accounts to place in the capsule, then history would remember the first day’s history class by that account even if the events were reported inaccurately. The point of this lesson was that history is subjective, depending on whose account one is reading/hearing, and the point-of-view/bias of the writer. This lesson was followed up by discussing four individuals who are remembered inaccurately in history: Benjamin Franklin did not actually fly a kite with a key attached to it, which in turn got struck by lightning; Charles Lindbergh was not the first pilot to fly Transatlantic; Paul Revere did not ride solo, nor was he even a prominent figure in the “famous midnight ride”; Jackie Robinson was not the first African-American Major League baseball player. We read passages about each of these people, which revealed the historical inaccuracies that exist around their stories, and gave possible explanations as to how they came to be recorded incorrectly in history. The followup assignment for this was for the students to pick an historical figure who is misrepresented in history and research to discover the truth and “rewrite” history. Students worked on their reports as homework and also had classroom time to make revisions after Mr. Singer provided feedback to each student individually.
Mr. Kasumba has taken over these History classes this week, so we will share an update next week on what students have been doing.