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Posts tagged ‘music’

Hamilton, music, and the power of emotion to engage your learners

Almost exactly three years ago, away back in 2015, I wrote a short post about the Hamilton musical. My kids have a standing order that requires them to keep me updated with the latest pop culture from the youths. And my daughter was already in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda and the way he incorporated music and dance to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton.

While I hadn’t seen the show, I was able to read enough, see enough, and hear enough to be convinced about the power of the story. And was convinced that using the story and music would be a great way to help kids better understand the broader story of the Revolution and America’s founding fathers.

Last Friday, while in Chicago for the #ncss18 conference, I finally had the chance to actually see Hamilton in person.

Wow. Just. Wow.

I am now even more convinced about how this secondary source re-telling of the period of the late 1700s can help connect our kids to both past and present. And while Hamilton is a particularly spectacular example of the power of music and emotion to engage the learner, it’s not the only way we can use music in the classroom. So this morning, I’m re-posting another quick set of resources that I put together a year ago that can help you begin to think about what the integration of music might look like.

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I am not Read more

Best posts 2017: 12 tips and tricks for using music in the social studies classroom

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much Chex Mix, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read seven of the most popular History Tech posts from 2017. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


I am not musically inclined. I like music. I listen to music. Love the Spotify. But I don’t play an instrument and karaoke only in large groups. Maybe I just never had the right training but it’s hard to imagine any music teacher being very successful in coaxing out my inner Bob Dylan.

Which is why it’s not easy for me to think about using music as an important piece of social studies instruction. You might be the same way – integrating music and song lyrics into your classroom just isn’t the first or second thing that comes to mind when you’re designing lessons and units.

But it should be.

I was reminded last night how powerful music can be and how we can use it to help kids connect with our content during the weekly #sschat. Focused on the intersection of music and social studies, the chat provided a wide variety of useful ideas and resources.

Led by Chris Hitchcock and the folks at Get Sounds Around, a bunch of us sat around and shared tips and tools. You can get the full transcript over at sschat but here’s a few of the tidbits I gathered: Read more

12 tips and tricks for using music in the social studies classroom

I am not musically inclined. I like music. I listen to music. Love the Spotify. But I don’t play an instrument and karaoke only in large groups. Maybe I just never had the right training but it’s hard to imagine any music teacher being very successful in coaxing out my inner Bob Dylan.

Which is why it’s not easy for me to think about using music as an important piece of social studies instruction. You might be the same way – integrating music and song lyrics into your classroom just isn’t the first or second thing that comes to mind when you’re designing lessons and units.

But it should be.

I was reminded last night how powerful music can be and how we can use it to help kids connect with our content during the weekly #sschat. Focused on the intersection of music and social studies, the chat provided a wide variety of useful ideas and resources.

Led by Chris Hitchcock and the folks at Get Sounds Around, a bunch of us sat around and shared tips and tools. You can get the full transcript over at sschat but here’s a few of the tidbits I gathered: Read more

Top Ten Posts of 2016 #3: Hamilton the musical: Non-traditional literacy and historical thinking

I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.

But if you need a break from all of the holiday cheer, we’ve got you covered. Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten History Tech posts of 2016. Enjoy the reruns. See you in a couple of weeks!


 

For the last few years, I’ve come to depend on my own kids to keep me up to date on the latest pop culture stuff. Jake shares his favorite music and books. Erin makes sure I’m connected with fads such as the Hunger Games phenomenon and art trends.

The most recent update from my kids? The Hamiltonhamilton logo musical.

If you don’t have my kids around to help you keep up with all of the latest happenings, here’s a one-sentence heads up. It’s a Broadway musical that follows Alexander Hamilton from the time he leaves the Caribbean to his death in that duel with Aaron Burr.

And, yes, I can hear you thinking all the way over here. Read more

Hamilton the musical: Non-traditional literacy and historical thinking

For the last few years, I’ve come to depend on my kids to keep me up to date on the latest pop culture stuff. Jake shares his favorite music and books. Erin makes sure I’m connected with fads such as the Hunger Games phenomenon and art trends.

The most recent update from my kids? The Hamilton musical.

If you don’t have my kids around to help you keep up with all of the latest happenings, here’s a one-sentence heads up. It’s a Broadway musical that follows Alexander Hamilton from the time he leaves the Caribbean to his death in that duel with Aaron Burr.

And, yes, I can hear you thinking all the way over here.

Broadway musical? Really? How is that gonna help me teach American history?

First, we should always Read more

Your rules for teaching history? Part III

Quick review of last week’s rules from Lee Formwalt’s 2002 list?

Today?

Rule Five: Use generous amounts of local history to teach American and World History

Formwalt is a firm believer in integrating local history with national and world events. This has some connection back to his suggestion that we have to teach things that matter today but it’s a bit different than that.

For example, teaching the three phases of Reconstruction — Presidential, Radical, and Redemption — could really bore students if not done well. If you happen to be teaching in the South, try handing out a copy of a contract signed by a local planter and his former slaves the summer after emancipation. This exercise does several things: it demonstrates a primary source; it shows what Reconstruction meant to ordinary people–a planter and freed persons on his plantation; and it gets the students to interact with the past. These historical figures are real flesh and blood folks right there in the county in which you teach. I guarantee students will remember Reconstruction a lot better than if they had just read about it in the textbook.

He suggests that you can even use local history when teaching world history.

Use local newspapers in a variety of ways. How did local people deal with World War II on the homefront? How did the war affect advertising? What values were important in the 1940s compared to the 1920s? You might have them locate the issue of the local paper for the day they were born–or the day their mother or father was born. What was the important news of that day? What were merchants advertising? What were the values visible in the ads?

Rule Six: Use music and film to appeal to those senses not necessarily stimulated by reading

Music can touch the emotions in a unique way. Suggestions:

  • Starting a discussion with a song can break the ice
  • Use music as background to a slide show of 4-6 images depicting a topic such as civil rights or the Holocaust. Ask students to make a list of what they see and what they feel during the slide show
  • Help students develop their listening skills by printing out the lyrics of the songs
  • Have students try to figure out the where and when a song was written
  • Play different versions of a song to illustrate how people can take a song from one context and reshape it for another purpose

Film, too, can be a powerful way to get your students’ attention.

  • Use document analysis worksheets
  • Tell your students what to look for in the film. Stop the film at critical points and get feedback from them.
  • Do not feel the need to show the film in its entirety. Use the film as you would any other source – some primary documents, for example, are just too much for your kids
  • Use digital storytelling software to help your students create their own movies
  • Find movies that act as primary sources themselves

Next? Becoming more computer literate