Less is More: Teaching Strategies Using TwHP Lesson Plans
By Paul LaRue, History Teacher Washington High School , Washington Court House, Ohio
The Reality: Today’s classroom demands that teachers focus on state content standard and testing, as well as time management. In the past, taking three weeks to teach the Underground Railroad (which might be of particular interest to the instructor or community) may have been possible, but current time restraints make it difficult. Many states have divided the U. S. history curriculum content into separate components. In Ohio, it is broken up so that colonization through 1876 is taught in eighth grade and 1877 through the present is taught in high school. Also there is a major emphasis on global education in U.S. History. With the added strain of genuine assessment and classroom management, teaching social studies can seem daunting.
The Challenge: Considering the aforesaid reality, the challenge is to fulfill the state requirements, while continuing to engage the learner. The Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lessons offer a unique way to expand learning past the textbook while still following the content standards. With the limited amount of time in the classroom, knowing how to use the tool efficiently is crucial.
The Solution: Do not let time constraints stop you from utilizing helpful sections from the TwHP series of lesson plans to help support your classroom activities. The TwHP lesson plans are a fantastic resource, but let me tell you a secret: I have never used an entire lesson in my own classroom. Coming from an author of two TwHP lesson plans, this might sound strange, but the issue is time management. I may have one class period to introduce, teach, and discuss a topic. Large units of in-depth material may contain valuable information, but time limitations make it impossible for me to cover a whole unit, therefore, making them unusable unless I can pick and choose pieces to incorporate into the classroom.