Throughout this entire book study, I have really enjoyed the ideas and concepts that Solarz has presented but I have really struggled with there to begin.  How do I bring all of these procedures and ideas to life?  This chapter really seemed to allow me to take a peak into his classroom!  And obviously, fall more in love with what I am reading!

Paul begins by discussing a few experiences that he gives his students in order to have them fully engaged and interested in their curriculum.  Paul says, “One reason students may struggle with history is that lectures and books, even if they are interesting, don’t always feel relevant.  But you can make this subject come alive by having students take on personas and participate in simulations that let them experience history.”  (Solarz, 144)  This year, many of my social studies lessons were interesting and sparked student engagement, but they were not experiencing history.  Paul incorporates Simulations to get his students actively learning!  He also recommends the website Interact to get started!

A similar experience takes place when Solarz takes on the role of many different characters throughout their unit of study.  He does his best to play the role and share the viewpoint of each historical figure portrayed.  I have a couple ideas for making this happen next year and I hope my students love it!

I am also in love with the idea of bringing debates into the classroom.  Solarz discusses his process which seems simply perfect!  His students are placed in mixed ability groups and are given various topics in which they will debate.  He uses this debating process during their energy sources unit.  The students are given a few questions in which they must research and answer in order to understand and support their energy source.  Then, they begin researching their opponent’s energy source and begin determining how they can best argue against that source.  He is also able to incorporate the student’s persuasive writing unit into this in order to give his students a purpose for writing a quality persuasive argument.

This chapter was PACKED with ideas for bringing active learning into your classroom!  What was your favorite?