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Making History engaging for our students

For many of us remembering back to high school History classes can be painful. The material was presented in a dry manner having students remember dates and places. This has always been a problem with teaching History because students are given the similar information year after year. So how do we address this problem? For a History teacher who wants to engage their students it means a lot of extra work. Using resources outside of the textbook is imperative. For instance when discussing the "Gold Rush" Sam Brannon is discussed even though you won't find him in most textbooks. We will also discuss why Johann Sutter whose land the first gold was found on may not have wanted outsiders to know of the find. We also explore if "Gold Rush" is an appropriate name considering that the gold was know about since the 1600's. We also use more primary sources than most classes because we investigate the writings of primary people involved in the events we are studying like reading some of Winston Churchill's "A Gathering Storm". One caution here politicians tend to want be biased so be careful. Any outside resource also should fit into our state standards somehow. Another way of engaging students is to use their parents appropriate experiences. Good luck and be engaging.