My AP US History classroom is a place where I strive to make history come alive to students. They are a great group of students from a mostly urban and some suburban setting. They work hard and are striving to do their best in all they do.
Mark Twain once stated: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." I want my student to recognize that rhyme of history when they see it.
I want history to become so alive to them they see it not repeating but playing out in a similar beat and rhythm and are thus able to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow but see how they were rightly or wrongly dealt with yesterday.
I teach students that have a high drive and want to succeed and change the world. I also teach in a school limited in the extra resources we can provide our students. I feel my students deserve the same advantages students from other schools and states have available to them. Providing them better reading resources is a major step in this direction.
The proper study of history is not simply a memorization or even a cursory understanding of facts, figures, and dates; rather, it is a deep dive into the process that historians go through as they seek to understand our past.
I strive to provide opportunities to experience this daily in my classroom by going far beyond the text book. I make every effort to teach the method of history because those skills will transfer to all of their lives and help them along their journey of making a difference in the world.
These two books will be greatly help this process. Erik Larson's "Devil In The White City" is a wonderful historical fiction novel that students will get to read over the winter break. This will enhance their understanding not only of the 1890's but, more importantly, the way we tell stories and how that is a major part of the historical record. Lepore's "The Story of America" will be used weekly, if not daily, during the first semester as we explore the founding of America. The essays in this volume will aide the students understanding of interpreting the past and understanding how to make historical interpretations.
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