Making History Relevant

posted Oct 25, 2017, 8:44 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 8:44 AM ]

Step into the classrooms of West Side Collaborative and watch history come alive for students in very real and personal ways.  

After studying the limits placed on free speech during World War I, eighth grade students were challenged to an authentic transfer task, reflecting on the current controversy underway in the NFL.   Students analyzed the limits of free speech placed on Americans by the Sedition Acts, and upheld in Schenck v. USA, during World War I.  Then, they were tasked with creating a PSA arguing that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are, or are not, patriots.  A teacher-created website guided the process of creating multi-media content.

Earlier this month, seventh grade students experienced Columbus Day from an entirely new vantage point.  After studying Native American cultures and the effects of European colonization on tribes, students drafted a proposal to the New York State Assembly arguing whether the holiday should stay as is, or be changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Students presented strong proposals with eloquent arguments to support their opinions.

By identifying issues that students are passionate about, and connecting those ideas to the curriculum, West Side Collaborative teachers succeed in captivating students’ attention and enthusiasm about learning.