Last year I tried to figure out how to teach the remainder of the social studies curriculum I had in a few short weeks. It dawned on me that I did not have to stand up and teach it. Students would not want to be reading out of our history text for the remainder of the year during social studies lessons. I wanted to bring the American Revolution and Constitution alive! I decided to create an experience that students would never forget because I remember learning nothing about this time period in elementary school. I put the binder of lessons away and pondered how I could put the students in the driver’s seat. This would be a culmination of our voyage into student-centered learning. Then an idea popped into my head that I shared with the students. I told them I was excited for social studies tomorrow. I followed this with one word, Hamilton. Students filled with excitement as many were familiar with the Broadway musical.
Students listened to Guns and Ships from the musical, Hamilton (we are connecting to popular culture this way). They analyzed the song, discovering how lyrics can tell a historical story. Then we are going to take a look in our book to see what made America into this great country. Students are going to choose something they want to learn more about. They will be responsible for reading the text and writing a song for our class musical, Rocking Revolution. Students will learn from each other. I have no idea who will choose what. I am not sure what they will write. I just hope they are engaged, empowered, and excited to learn about history. I cannot wait to see their performance at the Council on Aging in June! Lin-Manuel Miranda started with an idea and look where it took him!