Thursday, October 01, 2009

Podcast #202 - Using History Alive! for Constitutional Convention Activity

Hello. Today's podcast is an update from Speaking of History Podcast #197 when I asked for suggestions on teaching the Constitutional Convention with each student representing a delegate in Philadelphia. I received some great suggestions - check out the comments from podcast #197 - and several of them pointed me in the same direction : the History Alive! United States History curriculum.

I remembered receiving a History Alive! curriculum kit a couple of years ago from a representative at a conference and am very excited about using it in my classroom in a couple of months when we cover the Constitutional Convention.

Another great idea came from Lance who suggested that my students try out the quiz from the National Constitution Center which matches you with one of the Founding Fathers based on your answers. Very cool and something I plan to do with my students during our Constitution unit.

Thanks for all the suggestions and e-mails. It is amazing that you can throw a question out there and so many people are willing to respond and contribute to the conversation. If you have any comments for this blog post - maybe you currently use the History Alive! curriculum - please leave a comment on this blog post.

Click to subscribe at the Zune Social

Click to subscribe at i-Tunes here

Direct link to Podcast #202 - Using History Alive! to Teach the Constitutional Convention


  1. Anonymous9:54 PM

    I have been following your blogs for a while now, a lot of good ideas. We use the History Alive curriculum in our school district and my fellow history teachers are very dissapointed in it, board was bullied into using it, a good supplemental, but not good as the center of the curriculum.

  2. Looking for some great games on the Bill of Rights check these two out:

  3. Very interesting comment by Anonymous - I was surprised to read your comment. I have only looked at some of the activities for History Alive and have never tried to implement it over the course of an entire year. I guess it would probably take an entire year to really tell if it had enough meat to it. Gives me a lot to think about. Anyone else have a similar, or different, experience with History Alive?

  4. Anonymous8:43 PM

    I too would be interested in hearing more about the History Alive series - we're beginning our curriculum review right now, and will be selecting materials at the end of the year. So any input on that series, or any other, would be greatly appreciated.

    Ryan - Minneapolis

  5. First of all, I have been following your blog for over a year now, and I would like to thank you for posting all of the wonderful lessons and ideas you have. I have actually used the History Alive materials for over five years, and I have found them to be extremely engaging. The lessons make the content matter so much more interactive for the students, allowing them to bounce ideas off of each other and reflect. Granted, I modify many of the lessons because they would otherwise take too long to complete. However, I still highly recommend them to supplement whatever textbook you use.

  6. Thanks to Ryan and Lindsey for commenting on their use of History Alive in their classrooms. I am continuing to look at their curriculum but the views from teachers who use it on a regular basis is invaluable.



  7. History Alive is in the process of producing a new version of their textbook series. My school has the 2002 version, but our main textbook is "Creating America". In my opinion, History Alive does not hold up well as the main textbook for class in terms of students using it to acquire the foundation of content, especially if you have students do most of the reading for homework. It is verbose, the reading is difficult for many 8th graders, and it does not deal with vocabulary very well. Positives: It is great for enriching the curriculum. The activities (found in the student workbook and the teacher lesson book)are engaging, hands-on, interactive, and fun--such as the activies on the Constitution and Manifest Destiny. I especially like the little activity in which there is an outline of the John Gast painting "American Progress". Students have to add bubble thoughts or dialogue to the painting to explain what the people or animals in the painting are thinking or saying.

  8. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Like my earlier post about history alive being a great supplemental, Lindsey proved my point. You have to modify it and it is great as a supplemental to what ever curriculum you are using. When we went through a textbook selection, almost all the history teachers wanted the Holt series, it was so much more for us to use, but like I said , the school board was bullied into it by three teachers at the new middle school.

  9. Anonymous9:26 PM

    Ryan from Minneapolis chiming back in...

    We're at the selection process right now and have more or less narrowed it to Prentice Hall/Pearson or History Alive. Both look fantastic, but our biggest concern is whether or not History Alive has enough content or if it is better for supplemental material.

    The text looks good, but maybe sacrifices depth - additionally, I don't know how well lower readers/ELL would handle it. Vocabulary is not the end all-be all of history, but HA seems lacking in that department.