History 420 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer

 Planning Lessons - How do we research, design, amd teach historical content?

Introduction: We have now come to the practical part of this discussion - how to research, design, and teach historical content. For the next few days, we are going to focus on how to teach content.

Discussion Goals:

  1. To discuss how to create the content for a good history lesson.
  2. To brainstorm about hooks.
  3. To understand how to use the lesson plan template for this course.
  4. To provide an example of a well-designed lesson plan.
  5. To explain the research and lesson plan assignment.
  6. To assess our responses to Assignment #1 - Teaching with Podcasts

Goal #1: To discuss how to create the content for a good history lesson.

Getting Started on Your Lesson Plan

1.     Begin with a broad topic.  For example, you have to write a lesson plan on the 1920s.

2.    Think about how the topic and your issues fit into the content standards for California -California History Standards at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/ . Scroll down to the middle of the page and click on History-Social Science, Adopted October 1998 (PDF). Find the standards for Grade 11. Your topic is the 1920s 1920s photo collageand you can find an easy fit with Standard 11.5 - “Students analyze the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the 1920s.”

3.     Research your selected topic and  issues.

4.   Determine how your topic and issues fit into one or more of your overall course themes. For instance, the course theme that you decide to illustrate should be the one related to economics. Possible themes are: Economic interests shape our society; The economy shapes our political and social lives; What goes up must come down; Money makes the world go round. Make sure that you make the connection in your mind - and then in your lesson - between your topics and themes. 

5. Determine the "bottom line" concepts/big ideas you want emphasize in your lesson. 

6.  Develop a strong "hook" for your lesson and a way to transition Leviathon Mapfrom the hook into your lesson content. A hook is a 2-10 minute activity that begins each class and is designed to hook our students' attention and keep them focused throughout the lesson. Possible hooks include documentary film clips; political cartoons; journal writes on provocative topics to be discussed; YouTube videos; demonstrations; a contemporary account of a historical concept. Your hook can often make or break your entire lesson. For a fascinating, one-day hook to introduce WWI, click here.

7. Think about how you want to present your informationOnce you have a good understanding of the topics and your themes, you can begin to think about how you will teach the historical content. 

8. Decide how you will conclude your lesson in a way that emphasizes your overall theme(s).

9.  Decide how you will assess your lesson in a way that demonstrates that your students understood the contents. (Assessments will be discussed throughout the course)


Goal #2: To brainstorm about hooks.

Let's look at some hooks that students have used in the past to introduce their lessons:

Methods Discussion: It's time to Brainstorm.

  1. Get in to two groups of 5-6 each.
  2. Take 10 minutes to come up with a good introductory hook to begin a unit on 19th Century American imperialism.
  3. Elect a spokesperson to share your group's hook with the entire class.

Goal #3: To understand how to use the lesson plan template for this course

This is the template you will use for every lesson plan you complete for this course. During the initial years in your own classroom, you will want to modify this template to fit your interests and your students' needs and interests. But a template is just that - a model for what you must complete for each classroom lesson. Your colleagues who took this course last year asked for a solid example of a well-designed lesson plan that fits this template model. This, then, will be the focus of our next discussion.


Goal #4: To provide an example of a well-designed lesson plan


Goal #5: To explain the Research and Lesson Plan Assignment

Research Paper and Lesson Plan (200 points) You will pick any topic on either U.S. or World History that corresponds with either the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade California Social Science Standards. In the first part of this assignment, you will conduct research on your topic and write a short research paper. Then, in the second part of this assignment, you will convert your research paper into a 3-5 day lesson plan. Assignments and dates related to the completion of the research paper and lesson plan are as follows:

Part I: Research. This is where you conduct research on your topic, develop a thesis, write your research paper, and test your thesis based upon the results of your research. There are three separate steps in this part. Please note that you must keep all three assignments and include them in your final portfolio.

  1. Research Topic Selection and completion of Research Worksheet (20 points) due Sept. 26. Click here to access the worksheet.
  2. Research Historiography and completion of Brief Historiography Worksheet (30 points) due Oct. 3. Click here to access the worksheet.
  3. Research Paper (50 points) due on October 22

Part II: Lesson Plan. This is where you convert the knowledge gained from conducting your research paper into a 3-5 day lesson plan. There are three separate steps in this part. Please note that you must keep all three assignments and include them in your final portfolio.

  1. Lesson Plan Worksheet completion (20 points) due October 31st. Click here to access the worksheet.
  2. First draft of lesson plan (50 points) due no later than November 9th. You will each make a 45-minute appointment with your professor during the week of November 6-10th so you can have a one-on-one discussion of your first draft. NOTE - THIS FIRST DRAFT MEANS YOU MUST ADDRESS ALL REQUIRED COMPONENTS OF THE LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE (found at http://gorhistory.com/hist420/lessontemplate.html) BUT THEY CAN STILL BE IN A DEVELOPING STAGE.
  3. Lesson plan discussion and peer review on December 7th. Each of you will work in groups of 4 to present your lesson plan topic, your hook, a brief synopsis of your lesson, and the methods you used. Each person will have a maximum of 15 minutes to present and answer any questions. As each person presents, the others in the group will complete a peer review which they will give to each person at the end of the discussion. Then, each group will select one person to present their lesson to the entire class.
  4. Final lesson plan (50 points) is due no later than December 15. You will each make a 45-minute appointment with your professor during the week of December 11-15 so you can have a one-on-one discussion of your final draft. THIS FINAL LESSON PLAN MUST FULLY AND COMPLETELY ADDRESS ALL REQUIRED COMPONENTS OF THE LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE (found at http://gorhistory.com/hist420/lessontemplate.html). Please note that with your final lesson plan, you must include the first draft with your professor's comments.

Goal #6: To assess our responses to Assignment #1 - Teaching with Podcasts

Methods Discussion: Group Work that requires you to relay upon your own research/thoughts/evidence.  As we have discussed in class, the only way to guarantee that group projects will actually help your students LEARN is to have them come into the group with their own research, thoughts, and/or evidence to offer. Today is designed to do just that - to have you present the results of the research you conducted on a podcast that you might use in your own classroom. To that end, please do the following:

  1. Create 4 groups of between 4-5 classmates.
  2. Once in your group, each of you will explain – IN A WAY THAT WILL HOOK YOUR CLASSMATES – how and why this is a podcast that could be useful to them in terms of increasing their own understanding of history and/or in terms of encouraging them to use it in their classroom. 
  3. Your presentation MUST include visual and/or verbal support(s) in any format you choose.
  4. After each of you has completed your presentation, each group will select the person with the most interesting podcast - and that person will then present his/her information to the entire class.

After all four presentations, your professor will facilitate a class discussion about this assignment.  Some questions for discussion include: