Produced by Michele Scott Hauser, El Segundo Middle School, 1996
My intent is to overlay several strategies and activities learned from this institute onto my already established curriculum for 7th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies. The seventh grade social studies text curriculum includes a survey of Medieval Cultures from various regions of the world: Middle East, Africa, Central & East Asia, Europe, and Latin America. I think it is important to include more current strands of physical, political and economic geography, current events and issues, and cultural enrichment. My hope is to incorporate a modified version of the Passport curriculum for each region (one per quarter) as well as ideas using the Billy Joel song, infrastructure, map projections, population data concepts, and "Romeo & Juliet in Sarajevo."
Political maps, timelines, brief lectures, geographical maps, timelines, team assignments/projects, cities brochures/culture grams, brainstorming, simulated game of Middle East, "bluff game" for review, journal writing, videos, cultural feasts of ethnic foods, CIA Fact Sheets, TCI interactive slide, TCI experiential activities, role-playing, overheads.
Middle School students tend to think mostly in the NOW, not caring or thinking much about either past or future. By requiring a personal timeline, my objective is to get them to realize that "history" has been happening throughout their lives and past history was what was occuring during people's lives as well. With the Personal Timeline, the students chart and illustrate the events important in their personal lives below the timeline and the "current events" simultaneously above the timeline of their lives.
The "We Didn't Light the Fire" strategy plays right into this. My intent is to introduce the Personal Timeline and "We Didn't Light the Fire" together and to create a slideshow product for Open House as suggested. If it goes well, I may use the idea to review the information from the cultures studied at the end of the year, by focusing on key terms from the passports.
"We Didn't Light the Fire"--Day 1:
Day 4 (Timeline Due Date):
Day 5 (Annotation due date):
Day 6: Review & practice & tape song and use of slides
Before embarking on our survey of medieval cultures, I like to have a unit dealing with the development of cities. This incorporates information on primary and secondary sources and the universal commonalities: need for water, protection, availability of transportation, access to resources/food supplies, etc.
Infrastructure as a concept seems appropriate to include here. By using overheads and brainstorming, the interrelationship among government, economy, people, and infrastructure could be developed. The students need to be familiar with the term and to think about and discuss the role of government & reason for taxes. Each quarter the passport will include a page dealing with infrastructure.
Together the class will discuss a few world cities as models (Rome, Washington DC, Mexico City, Constantinople). Overheads showing the layouts will be used. The access to universal needs of cities above will be analyzed.
The students (individually or with a partner) are then assigned to create their own original cities and report on them as if they were archeologists. This is a major assignment to include a poster-sized map with layout of city and illustration of surrounding land, latitude & longitude. Students also write a brief "history" of their cities and description and analysis of 3+ artifacts found. Realistic imagination is encouraged!
A. Imaginary city set AD 800- AD 1600.
B. Map (18 x 24 posterboard) illustrating the land and layout for city; including latitude & longitude (checked on real maps to be realistic with climate, landforms, vegetation, etc.)
C. Type-written REPORT on city attached to the back, as if student were an archeologist who had excavated and studied this ancient city.
D. Artifact Form attached, illustrating and analyzing 3 artifacts found in excavated city (form provided)
E. Imaginative, but must be realistic and believable.
Each quarter, each team will be assigned a present-day city of the region studied. Teams will create "brochures" (culture grams) about their cities, to include information on the history, country, government, language, religion, and anything for which that city is famous. These cities will be included in the passport and in the political map tests each quarter and at the end of the year.
Each quarter, students will receive a passport appropriate to the region studied: lst qtr-Middle East, 2nd qtr-Africa, 3rd qtr-Asia, 4th qtr-Europe (a short unit on Latin America too).
Passports to include information on:
Activities will be provided to support the passport pages. These will include:
**Bluff Game: This game involves the whole class as any or all students can stand to show they know the answer (or bluff); those not answering take turns choosing who will answer. Scores vary widely and students really get into it!
Each quarter, students will receive a regional identity to use for journal writing:
Seventh grade social studies touches on the Balkan region with division of Christian church into Roman Catholic & Orthodox, European crusades in sack of Constantinople, and Ottoman Turk conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul). This sets the stage for the conflicts among Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim ethnic groups of the Balkans.
Europe unit is 4th quarter, so previous information about ethnic groups and conflicts can be reviewed. Arab/Israeli and Turk/Kurd conflicts in Middle East; Hutus/Tutsis in Africa and end of apartheid; Chinese minorities in Indonesia; Armenians/Azerbaijani and Balkan conflicts in Europe.
I hope to include activities using "Zlata's Diary" video, "Romeo & Juliet" video, and current events on LA gangs to highlight the savagery of extreme tribalism and nationalism and the need to view others as fellow human beings, as well as commonalities and the effect of the cultural lenses through which we all view our world.
Published: Thursday, April 28, 2005
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