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As you step through the doorway of a history classroom, the lights are off as the teacher drones on about the importance of certain Revolutionary War battles. A plain PowerPoint slide is plastered across the front of the room. A few students are awake, actively taking notes, but the majority of the class is dead asleep as the teacher drones on, unfazed by this behavior. This is what many stereotypically characterize a history class to look like, probably because that is what they were exposed to. As a history teacher, I am no stranger to the adversity that educators face when it comes to making historical content relatable to their students. I teach at E.B. Aycock Middle School, located in Pitt County in eastern North Carolina, a school with an extremely diverse student population in terms of both race and socioeconomic status. It can be very challenging in a history classroom to present information and create assignments in a way that appeals to such a wide variety of student interests and backgrounds while building content knowledge.
This resource will take you through my experience with the Tar River Writing Project, as well as how I implemented connected learning, collaborative learning, and new digital tools into my own history classroom to make content more relevant to students.
*Banner image credit - Wikimedia Creative Commons