Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Learning History in 5th Grade

Last night at dinner, I was asking my fifth grader what her main takeaways were from studying the Revolutionary War. By the end of the conversation, my hat was off to Kathy King, her teacher, for teaching her not to memorize a bunch of facts but to make connections and understand patterns.

My ephiphany of the night was when I asked Christina whether she would have been a Revolutionary or a Loyalist. She said, "It depends on who I am," and went on to explain how people with different interests would have viewed the connection to Britain.

I asked her why the British, the "Goliath" of the story, lost, and she replied without hesitation that they didn't understand the terrain and couldn't adjust to the different fighting tactics of the rebels. She could see the connection to history in later wars such as Vietnam where powers with more funding and firepower were defeated partially due to underestimating the enemy, lack of knowledge of the terrain and weather, and different fighting tactics.

Making connections. Thinking critically.

This is what it's all about.

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