Employing Different Teaching Methods in Humanities

I have a lot, and I mean A LOT, of flexibility in Humanities (my standards are super vague, for example I have to teach “art of diverse cultures”…check!). This can be so freeing especially in an educational climate that is choking so many good teachers into robotic instruction, however the downside of it can be that there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to know what to choose that isn’t boring for the students.

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One trap I try to avoid is the ever-present art project. It can be so easy to turn every unit into art project after art project. The way I overcome this innate bias is to make sure my students only see a style of activity or project ONCE throughout the year. Although it can be initially more difficult to plan for, because it’s a lot easier to adopt the same project parameters for different units, it is more rewarding when students have to display their knowledge in a variety of ways. Keeps ’em on their toes! I also do not want to not unjustly favor artistic students, because I was not one of those artistic kids in school. I tell my students at the beginning of the year that it’s ok if they hate an activity or project we do because they will only see it once throughout the year!

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Here are some of my basic Humanities activities and projects that I use throughout the year. I will try to remember to update this post to links when I actually complete them (no promises though!).

  • Ötzi, the Iceman Webquest
  • Stonehenge 3D model
  • Epic of Gilgamesh Literary Analysis Discussion
  • Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade Film Charting (yes, we watch the whole movie)
  • Egyptian Gods & Hymn Project
  • Book of the Dead Painting
  • Jewish Deuteronomy Laws Challenge
  • Mists of Avalon Film Pagan vs. Christianity FRQ (yes, we watch the whole movie)
  • Norse mythology vs. Marvel Thor Movies Paper
  • Agamemnon Play (the students actually perform the play)
  • Great Philosophers Socratic Seminar
  • Digitally Mapping the Ancient City of Rome
  • Trial of Julius Caesar
  • Name That Saint Scavenger Hunt
  • Islamic Arts of Andalusia Workshop
  • Dante’s Inferno Creating the Circles of Hell
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame Film Seven Deadly Sins FRQ (the 1995 movie, not Disney)
  • Medieval Dances (yup, we actually dance)

JMF


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