Friday, July 22, 2011

Founding Fathers Lesson Plan

Ok this is less of a lesson plan and more of an assignment actually.  But the idea occurred to me after the 4th of July when I read John, Paul, George, and Ben by Lane Smith again.
The most common complaint I hear from people who don't like history is that it's boring.  That is a such a shame!  Our history (United States, world, whatever) is full of awesome stories that need to be told!  I think that history teaching CAN rely on too much straight-up information and ignore the human aspect.

That's one reason I love this book: it gives human characteristics to some founding fathers in portraying them as young children with traits that translate into what they did as adults (Paul Revere shouting in his family's shop about giant underwear is hilarious but then he did shout "the redcoats are coming").

So why not make all the founding fathers approachable?

Assign each student in your class (or if you homeschool go through the founding fathers together one by one) a different founder.  Have them find out about that founder and then make up a funny story about them as a child that reflects that trait.  

For example:
The Book of the Founding Fathersby Vincent Wilson, Jr. provides a brief biography and pictures for 35 founding fathers -- famous or otherwise.

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia was a wealthy planter who denounced slavery and was one of the first to organize the boycott of British goods once the Stamp Act was passed.  Blah blah blah right?  But how does that trait translate to childhood?  You could come up with a funny story about how Lee boycotted the neighbor boy's lemonade stand because the sugar was from the West Indies or perhaps he runs around as a little boy organizing protests against common childhood rules such as washing behind your ears or not staying out after dark.

I think it would help kids remember the idea behind what various founding fathers did for this nation in it's beginning.

And it could be really funny.