Thematic History: Current issues – weaving rather than leaving.

It happened again. My newsfeed has coincided with my curriculum. I opened Facebook this afternoon to see a story from NPR today about a new book detailing how New Deal policies created segregation. In class today, we looked at the question of legacy of the New Deal. Tomorrow I’ll share the NPR podcast to take our discussion deeper. Earlier in our economic and social class unit, we read a review of “Evicted,” which just won the Pulitzer Prize. Students are reading a chapter from a book about housing segregation in Baltimore tonight for homework.

In our foreign policy unit this winter, we framed our learning around the debate about nationalism vs globalism. We were able to use history as a guide to help us understand current policies.

The immigration unit was timed to begin just after Thanksgiving, so we started by looking at immigration today, and the question of the wall. We could look at history for patterns with immigration policy and opinion.

With a chronological approach, jumping around to talk about current events feels like leaving the curriculum. With themes, it is much easier to weave the threads together.

I have joked that my final exam will be a single prompt – “It’s complicated. Discuss.” If I did, I think my students would knock it out of the park.

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