More Lesson Ideas and Museums Galore!

June 13, 2010

Hello Baby from Bear & Me! 🙂


Today was a day to focus on teaching. More specifically, today was a day of lesson ideas. We started our day by catching the subway to the New-York Historical Society and a morning section on New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War. We were taken into several floors of the museum and asked to look at different pieces with an open, yet inquisitive eye. The whole theme at these different museums seems to be teaching us the process of looking at art (as well as furniture, guns, bottles, cloths, documents, etc.) and learning to answer basic questions in a purposeful manner. A question like “What do you see?” often get answers that include our background knowledge. It is good to include this background knowledge, but done at the proper time and in the proper order. So when we do step one, we should really answer the question “What do we see?” and only use our eyes to tell exactly what they see.    


This picture is a good example. We tend to add to the picture with our background which can lead to misinterpretations. So the first step is to look with your eyes and tell what they see. Next you would add any background knowledge that you might have of the object or even the time frame around the item (object) and determine if more can be added to what we see. These types of questions ask for the viewer to use inquiry skills. Types of these questions could include “How do you know?” or “Why was it created?” or “What do you think is happening?” This step lets you begin to peel the layers back nand better understand the item.     

The next step would be to try to understand the object. You know what you see; next you used inquiry skills to understand what the object is or why it was created. So finally historians as well as others need to think about whom would use the item or want it created. What reasons could there be behind the item?  This basic 3 step process is the basics behind inquiry based learning. That understanding should be based around a person’s questions. Our job as teachers of history should be to help students along the process of discovering knowledge themselves. In this form of instruction teachers should be facilitators of learning rather than vessels of knowledge.   

Commodore Hutch helping the learning process along!

This form of teaching history is active learning which engages student attention and helps give them substance to remember. Students love hands on instruction and helps them begin to develop experimental and analytical skills rather than memorize meaningless and boring facts. It is the basis behind DBQ’s and the direction that history instruction is headed. I plan to find more hands on activities that I can use in my instruction throughout the year.

We went to lunch at the Shake Shack which I found to be over priced for average fast food! Next we were turned loose at the American Museum of Natural History. Before we even went into the building I had an idea about a lesson. I saw all the mosaics for this museum on the subway walls and thought we could have the students make colorful, varnished clay titled works of art that represent what they have learned about a subject. Just an idea that I’m running through my brain right now!


The American Muesum of Natural History was incredible! I didn’t think it was possible to pack that much stuff in any one building! This is the building and exhibits where  Night at the Museum was based on.

I don’t have time to go over everything we saw here so I will just hit the highlights! As we walked in the doors you are amazed by two large dinosaurs. The Ocean Life exhibit and American Mammal exhibit were tops on floor one. On floor two I was very impressed by the ancient people’s exhibits, especially those of South American and Mexico since I taught that area for so many years. I loved the Indian exhibits on the third floor but was driven off early by huge groups of loud and obnoxious teens. And we finally made the 4th floor and the Dinosaur collection! Wow, so much that it might still be impossible to take it all thoroughly in, even with multiple days of devotion here.    

And finally, the big game, $77 tickets to go see those hated Yankees! There is no other baseball team I hate as much as the Yankees! But this is Yankee Stadium! We rode the subway and for the first time it was freaky. There were so many people packed on the train and my car that I was hurting. It felt as if my chest were tightening up. I’m from Colorado and I do need my space! When we finally arrived I headed for the game with the intent of getting my buddy “Coach” a sweatshirt. Best I could do was find a 2x tee shirt. But never fear, it was Mario Rivera night & I got a Rivera figure that I will give him too. The game was fun even if the hated Yankees won! I ate another Nathans hotdog. I wanted a Hebrew Nation Dog but they didn’t have the kraut to go with it yet and I never made it back. And after the 5th inning they were announcing birthdays and such on the big screen when someone popped the big question of marriage. Turns out that they were 2 seats straight in front of me. They kissed and she took the ring so I guess the answer was yes!

But did he go to Jarred?

Bear & Me at Yankee Stadium! 🙂

All in all, a pretty good day of lesson ideas, museums, and baseball!



  1. Great thoughts from a king … Love you

  2. Just remember whose brilliant penmanship was responsible for the final product….

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