In just a few weeks, Monday October 13th will be observed as Columbus Day. Banks will close, stores will have special sales, and many students will learn about how Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the Americas. Yet, this type of observance only tells one part or version of the Columbus narrative, leaving out significant parts of a violent and traumatic period in the history of the Americas. Christopher Columbus is one of the first historical figures many of our students learn about. The way he’s presented sets an important precedent for how all historical narratives are taught, analyzed, and interpreted. Consider the following from Bill Bigelow of Rethinking Schools: Continue reading
One of the staples of our fall curriculum is Christopher Columbus. After all, Columbus was a historical figure whom we were all taught to love because without him, we would not have America–and he had cool wooden ships that we could build and put into bottles! However, by now, we all know that Columbus and his legacy leave much deeper implications than just “discovering America.” I mean, just think of that phrase for a moment. Was America lost prior to 1492? And what did he find? New York? Well, following with some of our previous work on Rethinking Columbus, this week’s post will focus on recent scholarship of Columbus’s voyage, what the Americas were like, and how we can disburse this information more appropriately to our students. Continue reading
Often times it can be difficult to find a way to introduce a thematic unit, like one on Columbus, in a way that is new and exciting. More than likely, your students have learned about Columbus and exploration in previous years, so many may be tempted to tune out the entire unit because they believe it’s nothing new. The Observation and Inquiry Chart is an activity that I have used with great success in situations like this. There are two versions of this activity, and both are adaptations of Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) Strategies. What’s great, is that they can be modified to work with almost any unit.