Stepping Through History: Starting with You!
Length: 27 weeks
Age/Grade: 2nd – 4th Grades
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How to Use This Course
History is full of stories, and this modern history class for early elementary students helps students learn the story of history starting with their own. They’ll build a family tree and then work backward through history until the 1870s and the days of Alexander Graham Bell. There are fun notebooking activities designed to help your child personalize their story of history.
This history course is meant to fill a gap I found when attempting to teach my young children history. I wanted to start with now. After all, the child knows now and has a concept of what it is like to live in this year. I was rather disappointed in the number of resources available to teach young children modern history. So I pieced together what I could, but I had to start around WWII, because I simply could not find any developmentally appropriate resources for times more recent. I did this until some of my children were old enough that they asked to study history forward. I taught them by reading aloud, since we do history as a family. I thought a four-year cycle sounded too slow, so we did world history, ancient to modern, in one year. I read history books I loved and quit reading a few I hated. Now I have a real vision for what I wanted back when my first children were in early elementary and am forging ahead to create it.
History can be exciting and fun; after all, it is full of great stories. But what makes it relevant and real? How do young children begin to sort out the fantastic tales of fiction and the real histories of the world which often seem just as fantastic? They must begin in a place where it really does exist for them. In this history course, I take the child from themselves, to the events in their parents’ childhoods, then their grandparents, etc. The child will build their own family tree, and also discover that things in history happened in different places.
My educational philosophy is to teach from the known to the unknown. To teach depth more than breadth, you may find you have older children who do not know all of the events covered in this history course. I am attempting to paint of picture in the child’s mind’s eye of what each decade was like. How was it the same as the decades around it? How was it unique? To teach utilizing all learning pathways, auditory as you read the text, visual pictures, and the kinesthetic work of making their own history book. The lessons are designed to be covered one per week and can be split up into different days, or covered in one day, depending on your student and your teaching style. I highly recommend that after your child puts together their notebook pages for the day you ask them to tell you the story of each thing they added to their notebook. Also encourage them to show their notebook to someone other than you at the end of each week (perhaps Dad) and to tell about what they learned. This will help them retain what they have learned. It would also be excellent to periodically open to a random page at the beginning of the lesson and ask them to tell you what they remember about that lesson before starting a new one.
I am writing this class with a second grader in mind, although I think it can easily be adapted to teach any early elementary level. History is definitely a subject we like to study together as a family, and this course can easily be used for a group study of modern history. I have taken pictures of all notebooking pages included. These have been completed by a real live second grader whom I happen to have living in my house right now. I think it is very important when implementing any type of curriculum to understand the goal. Our goal here is not a perfectly beautiful notebook; we are looking for depth of understanding, love of learning the stories of our country, and the excitement young children always seem to have for creating something of their own.
- Lesson One: What Is History?/Begin Family Tree
- Lesson Two: Where Is History?/Making maps
- Lesson Three: 2000-2010/When Were You Born?
- Lesson Four: 1990-2000
- Lesson Five: 1980-1990
- Lesson Six: 1970-1980
- Lesson Seven: Beginning of Personal Computers, Gates and Jobs
- Lesson Eight: 1960-1970
- Lesson Nine: Exploring Outer Space
- Lesson Ten: 1950-1960
- Lesson Eleven: 1940-1950
- Lesson Twelve: World War II
- Lesson Thirteen: 1930-1940
- Lesson Fourteen: Albert Einstein
- Lesson Fifteen: 1920-1930
- Lesson Sixteen: 1910-1920
- Lesson Seventeen: World War I
- Lesson Eighteen: 1900-1910
- Lesson Nineteen: Airplanes, Orville and Wilbur Wright
- Lesson Twenty: Cars, Henry Ford
- Lesson Twenty-One: 1890-1900
- Lesson Twenty-Two: Helen Keller
- Lesson Twenty-Three: 1880-1890
- Lesson Twenty-Four: Edison and Tesla
- Lesson Twenty-Five: 1870-1880
- Lesson Twenty-Six: Trains
- Lesson Twenty-Seven: How Has Transportation Changed from 1880-2010?
- Lesson Twenty-Eight: How Has Communication Changed from 1880-2010?
- Lesson Twenty-Nine: How Have Daily Tasks and Chores Changed from 1880-2010?
- Lesson Thirty: Expanding Your World
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