Remember reading boring social students textbook passages in history class? Me too. Maybe that’s why my knowledge of history is fuzzy at best. Don’t let your students suffer the same fate. Get creative when teaching kids about historical events.
History Museum Brought to Life
Instead of taking a field trip to a history museum, make your own in the classroom. This activity helps kids better understand the information and learn to do research on history topics. Each student or small group of students create a display based on a specific history event or idea. You might do a living history museum on the Great Depression, for example. Each display is related to the event with a slightly different focus of theme.
The kids dress up to become characters in that particular event. They also create backgrounds and props to tell the story. They can act out things that happened in that event. Invite the parents and other classrooms to the museum so the kids get a chance to perform for others. You can also let them interact with the visitors by answer questions as though they are actually people in that time period.
Memorizing dates can be difficult for kids. Timelines help the students understand the order of events that are related. For example, when you’re learning about World War I, a timeline can show students the events that led up to the war and major events within the war. It’s a visual way to connect the events.
Instead of just writing out a timeline, get creative with the format. String up a clothesline in the classroom that serves as your timeline for each unit. Have the kids draw pictures to present the different events and clip them to the line.
Another option is to have the kids represent the different events. Assign each student an event you want to include on the timeline. The kids arrange themselves in the correct order along a line on the floor or along a wall. Each student then names his event and talks about it.
Working writing into the history curriculum is a great way to boost literacy and writing skills while you strengthen history knowledge. One option is to have the students write letters from the point of view of a historical figure. A twist to that activity is to have the kids keep a journal from a historical figure’s point of view throughout the unit. You might give journal prompts based on what you want the kids to learn or let the kids come up with their own topics.