Earlier this week I read Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks’ book The Case for a Constructivist Classroom. Because I was mostly educated by constructivist teachers, particularly in high school and college, I find the method salubrious and use it whenever I can. I prefer to ask questions and let students talk rather than operating my own piehole for an entire class period. So I have been gratified this week, perusing my first unit for freshman global studies, to find several constructivist lessons in it.
In fact, I posted one yesterday on the causes of history. That entire first unit is entitled “Cause of History,” and it is simply an attempt to induce students to think of history as a process rather than a set of facts to be mastered (and, alas, regurgitated in high-stakes tests).
So here is a complete lesson plan on geography and history. I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun age (as in historical age). This is a discussion lesson, so if the discussion seems promising, and is leading to the creation of meaning among students, I will take it into a second day. If you see fit to do that, you might want this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Finally, here is the worksheet for this lesson, which is really little more than a note-taking template.
I want to stress that this is a student-centered lesson driven by the teacher’s Socratic questioning.
If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.