Making Curriculum Pop

Hello, fellow educators my name is Dustin. For one of my education classes we are required to begin creating a lesson plan. I chose the American Revolution. My idea was to use this as an introduction to sources.

I wanted to use the idea of teaching around sources so that this will help students understand the difference and importance of various sources; So, if anyone has had much success with making the American Revolution and or sources pop I would greatly appreciate any ideas.

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Hey Dustin,

First off, check out the recent World/American HIstory Inc. comics post. There is a "Struggle for Independence" comic and other related resources. I think in one of the hyperlinked posts I reference this graphic novel - Sons of Liberty (Turning Points).

With the Beatles Rock Band being very cool you might use a song like "Revolution" to frame some of the internal conflicts "in, out, in, out."

There's an interesting lesson plan at the RRHOF - Lesson 47 - GET UP, STAND UP: FIghting for Rights Around the World. This lesson, STI Lesson 45 - Democracy…Not Yet! might give you some more ideas.

The Rock and Roll Library also has a cool lesson plan to work with - Being Me in the Face of Adversity - Americans Who Stood Up for Their Beliefs.

Don't forget to check out the PBS doc - with teacher guides and the "Revolution Road Game" - Liberty: The American Revolution

Since the American Rev. often gets looked at as something exclusive to Dudes - do check out this, Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution and the other YA texts listed there to make sure you highlight the role of other marginalized revolutionaries like Indians, Slaves and Debtors.

Also the book Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies (Henry Holt Reference Book) has a chapter on American Revolution films like the musical 1776.

Hope this gets your brain spinning!

Hi Dustin! Welcome to the Ning, it's where all the cool people hang out. :) I teach English, specifically American Literature, but I have a neat activity that I do with Ben Franklin. I will have to e-mail myself the document at school (our ning is blocked where I teach...of course!) and then post it up here. I'll be in touch...Oh and I do teach "The Patriot" during this time period. We identify literary terms within such as symbols and talk about film terms--this could be a good cross-curriculum reference.
Katie, Thanks for writing - can't wait to hear about your Ben Franklin activity! You don't zap students with lightning, do you?

Proffesor Goble,

mad links ! thank you they have started to get my head to spin. Definatly gettting me off to a good start.

Katie, thank you for replying I look forward to seeing your lesson on Ben Franklin.
Dustin, I'm a K-6 library media specialist, and w/ our 5th graders, we do a digital storytelling unit w/ the Am. revolution. It's pretty fun. Small groups of kids each get assigned either a battle or an important aspect of the war, and each kid w/in the group takes a part of it. It might look like this:
Group A: Battle of Yorktown
Kid 1: Weapons and uniforms
Kid 2: Military Strategies
Kid 3: Important people
Kid 4: How geography related to the battle
Then the kids research their part and write up about a 1-min. oral report that they record into iMovie. They also find still images to accompany their speeches, and if time allows we put some nice period music under the whole thing. It's a nice project that combines the tech side (highly motivational for the kids) w/ the content and research side. This could work for levels all the way up through HS or even college!
Kelly, woza thanks as always for shaing. So since this is a fair use password protected website, any chance you could upload one or two of the iMovies? We'd love to see them - nudge nudge hint hint :)

Thanks for jumping in on this - the project sounds like a lot of fun!


thank you for your reply! This does sound like a fun project. I do see how it can be used with all levels of education. Definatly a great a idea.
Hey Dustin,

I will often incorporate popular music and play songs in my class to interest the students and also to introduce a related primary source source and document.

Here are some examples...

We're Not Gonna Take It

Harder They Come

Don't Tread On Me

Thank you so much - as always for sharing the awesome work you and your students do!!! Stay cool! Ryan:)

Thank you ! This is a great idea! Was fun to read and do the work myself. Definatly something that I can use.
Dustin! Sorry I did not get back to you, I am swamped with Narratives! Shoot me an e-mail at and I can e-mail the document over.
Dustin, I also thought of this great book you could use as a resource. The plays aren't exactly the type that were snubbed for Tony awards BUT they are a great way to engage students in role play and history!

Here's the description of Stages of History: Plays About America's Past by perfection learning:

Stages of History: Plays About America's Past
Grades 6–12
A perfect integration of language arts and social studies!
This collection of eight original plays focuses on defining moments in American history.

Whether used in a language arts, social studies, or combined curriculum classroom, this text will make learning interactive and exciting. Flexible casting, adolescent protagonists, and minimal staging make these royalty free dramas ideal for class or school productions as well as drama competitions.

Careful research on the historical basis of the plays helps students use reading and speaking skills to connect with events in American history.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke
The Revolutionary War
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Battle of the Alamo
The Gold Rush
The Underground Railroad
The Civil War

Teacher Guide
A comprehensive Teacher Guide provides support for historical, literary, and dramatic studies of the plays.




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