For the past week the World Studies students have been learning about the Age of Exploration. A time period that crossed decades, it was an era that would impact the world in many positive and negative ways. Without it, the western world would not have developed and expanded quite the same way. However, we may have avoided many negative moments in history, such as the decimation of the native populations of North and South America and the rise of the Atlantic Slave Trade.
We can assume that men such as Columbus and Cortes never envisioned the world we now live in. They were likely motivated by "God, gold, and glory" and were ignorant of the impact they would have on the world. My question for you is simple. Do we share in this same ignorance today? Are we making decisions with the immediate impact guiding us, or are we considering the long range ramifications of our choices? We never can be sure of what the future holds for us, but it amazing to think of what it may be.
This past week we finished up our unit on the Renaissance. One of the themes we focused on during the unit was the idea that much of the art during the Renaissance was inspired by previous ideas or works. After all, the Renaissance was a rebirth of the Classics. Some of the art during the Renaissance was actually recreations of previous pieces of art. I wanted to finish the unit with a short culminating activity. Not gave my students a choice. Recreate something from the Renaissance that you were particularly drawn to, or create something entirely new if you are inspired to do so. Regardless of the direction they chose, they would also have to give a brief presentation to the class to highlight their work of art and explain the history of the original piece.
From the education angle of this short project I was able to accomplish a number of my goals. Students were given choice in their project and were able to target their product towards something they felt would be a strength or maybe a personal challenge. The students also had to reflect on the unit and possibly research some additional information to complete their project. Finally, the students were expected to stand in front of their peers and present their final product. I am strong believer that students need to become better communicators and I try to incorporate student communication frequently so they can gain experience with this skill.
I have posted pictures of some of the final products. It was very interesting to see what direction students decided to go. It was a fun day of presentation and hopefully it will be something the students remember.
A small replica of Da Vinci's Parachute. (Tested by Donatello.)
Collection of various projects.
A recreation of the Mona Lisa using nearly 1000 plastic beads.
The first week of the new semester is nearly done. With every new semester there is change and positive energy that enters the room with each class. Personally, the new semester has been exciting as I start my new additional role as an Educational Technology Integrationist for the district. The first week has already provided many excellent opportunities to work with staff members from different buildings and I look forward to the continued growth.
World History is moving quickly into the Renaissance. We are currently discussing the factors that contributed to the Renaissance was we try to understand the differences between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We will also be discussing the idea of whether the Renaissance was a "thing" and if it really happened. Oh yeah, we will also see some appearances from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Psychology started this week as well. We have been spending most of the time getting settled and introducing the students to blogging. This will be a new activity that is being incorporated into class this year to bring the lessons outside of the classroom walls. I am looking forward to diving into the material and I know the kids are too.
If you have a choice, be great today.