1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Questionable Music: an Alternative to Despair

What happens when students have had three weeks of random substitute teachers?

A flippant response would be, "Nothing good!" That is close to the money, but I had a chance to sub this week for a week's worth of lessons. It's an unfortunate situation when a teacher has an unforeseen situation and it doesn't quite merit a long-term sub. The teacher suffers, the subs suffer, and the students become disoriented and -- some -- become derisive and cynical.

After the second day with these students, it was clear that something beyond worksheets was required. (We had just finished the French Revolution and it seemed to me to be a distinct possibility that if I handed them another worksheet, I might be ascending the steps to the Guillotine!)

The curriculum called for moving into the Industrial Revolution and remember subbing a few weeks before for a psychology teacher in Roseville. I played the video. The video was about memory and how the mind remembers best when there is a context. In the video, one of the shrinks spouted off a set of random numbers and asked us, his audience, to remember them: 1-7-7-6-1-8-1-2-1-8-6-1-1-9-1-4-1-9-4-1, Impossible. But then he said, "American history." Ah, yes, key dates in America history. Easy to remember.

Remembering this, I thought, "How do I give a simple but memorable introduction to the Industrial Revolution?"  I found a catchy (or perhaps irritating if you have taste in music) music video on YouTube and two other songs (one on consumerism, the other on oppressive work).

It was more interesting for me than another worksheet. Based on our discussions in class, same for some of the students.

Industrial Revolution Musical Retrospective

No comments: