I’m Back! Benjamin Franklin Video and Activities

So, I’ve decided to start the blog up again. I don’t have plans to resume the podcast any time soon though, because it is too time-consuming. After stepping away for a while and working on some other projects, I think I can carve out a chunk of time here and there to write a post. I don’t know how often I’ll write. Originally, when I stared the podcast, I tried to make sure I posted every ____ days. I didn’t like that, though, because it felt forced. So, now I’m doing it more for fun, and when I get inspired. The good news is that inspiration has been steadily creeping back in over the last few weeks. I’m preparing to teach a class called American Inventors for my homeschool co-op and I’ve come across some fun resources that get me excited and make me want to share with someone. And to save my non-history-loving mom friends from my rantings about history, I will share my thoughts here.

Speaking of which, the video below from the History Channel is a good one to show when you are studying Benjamin Franklin. You know, that time when Benjamin Franklin stood out in a thunderstorm with a kite and got struck by lightning? Oh yeah, that didn’t happen! At least, it didn’t happen the way so many people think it did. This is a good video for clearing up the myths surrounding his famous lightning experiment.  (Don’t forget to look below the video for classroom uses!)

Classroom Uses:

  • You could do a quick K-W-L before the video to see what your students know. (If you don’t know what a K-W-L is, this sheet gives the basic idea.)  A K-W-L is good to use with a topic that your students already know about or have misconceptions about.
  • Watch the video and create a two-column chart comparing the myth vs. the reality of the experiment.
  • Use the video to reinforce the importance of Franklin as an Enlightenment figure.
  • Use the video at the beginning of class to get your students interested in Franklin before a lesson on the Enlightenment in the US.

Another great activity to use when studying Franklin is a word web.  Word webs are great to use with people who are multi-faceted and/or have many different roles in US history.  After you have discussed Franklin, divide students into groups and have them create word webs about him.  (Make sure you show them an example of what a word web is.  Here’s an easy Halloween word web that your students would easily understand.)  You may need to prompt them or give hints as to how to divide up his life.  Here’s a very quick example of how a word web about Franklin might be structured.  Also, a simple word web could also be used as an exit ticket to reinforce content at the end of class.

Create a Twitter Page for a Historical Figure

Can you imagine what it would be like if John Wilkes Booth had a Twitter page?  Or Adolf Hitler?  What would they say?  Well, now your students can have fun figuring out what these (and many more) historical figures would say on social media.  I have finished my most recent curriculum project for US History, and I’m so excited to finally put it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

My new product “Create a Twitter Page for a Historical Figure” includes:

  • A blank printable Twitter template for students to fill in
  • A digital Twitter template for students to complete
  • 46 assignments covering various historical figures from the colonies to Ronald Reagan
  • Detailed student and teacher instructions
  • Optional rubric
  • PowerPoint slides to display the assignment on the board
  • An example of a filled in template

In each Twitter assignment, students will have to create the following for their historical figure:

  • Basic biographical information
  • A unique, creative username
  • Up to 6 historically relevant tweets
  • Up to 3 suggestions as to who they should follow on Twitter (ties to other figures of the time period)
  • Up to 7 trends (historical relevance)
  • A small profile picture
  • A header image

Wouldn’t your students rather do something like this than complete a worksheet?  Click here to purchase or find out more!  You get 46 assignments for less than $0.18 each!  That’s 46 new ideas for your US History class!  You can also use the template for other classes, like World History.  Check it out!

Great Example of Connecting Students to Content

This!  Yes!  Yes!  A thousand times YES!  This teacher is doing it right!  If you don’t establish relevance or allow your students to form a connection to the material, they either won’t remember it or won’t care about it!  Think about it.  Have you made things so interesting or gotten such an emotional reaction out of your students that one of them actually posted about it later?  Let that be your goal today…and every day!

wifitax

Declaration of Independence Memes

I know that I haven’t posted in a while. I took a little time off for vacation and then life got crazy. Anyway, I came across a few memes today on Facebook that would be GREAT to use in class when you are discussing the American Revolution.

The one at the top is funny and most teenagers (and people in general, I think) would relate to this. I know it’s not historically accurate…but it’s still funny.

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I LOVE this one also, because it shows history from a completely different perspective. It’s good to stretch students’ minds and demonstrate how different a historical event can seem depending on which side is telling the story. It would be a great discussion starter or a prompt for a freewrite on historical perspective.

Click here to see a previous post about some of my favorite history meme’s to use in class.

Also, don’t forget about my Declaration of Independence Fun Facts Quiz that addresses some myths surrounding the Declaration of Independence.

I’ve also got a podcast episode about teaching the causes of the American Revolution.

Happy Independence Day! In honor of today, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes about independence:

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it.” – John Adams

God Bless America!!!

Great History Memes

I came across this meme last night and thought it would be a great thing to use at some point when you are studying the American Revolution.  Students need to know that, yes, they will hear about this stuff again…even if it is the form of an Internet meme.  This person used their historical knowledge to come up with an awesome comeback that, I’m sure, gave countless other people a good chuckle.

tea tumbler

Classroom Uses:

  • Put it on the board at the beginning of class to grab students’ attention (the day after you study the Boston Tea Party)
  • Add it to a test as a bonus question and have students explain the meaning for extra credit
  • Use it to remind students that historical references pop up in the most unlikely places
  • Challenge students to come up with their own history meme

Here are some of my other favorites that I came across after the above meme inspired me to do a search.

thomasjefffranz

homingpiggenerallee

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