Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Preparing for the American Revolution Debate

Loyalist Documents (Tories)

A Loyalist Answers Thomas Paine

Nationalist/ Rebel/ Patriot Documents: 

Your group's presentation must include: 
 an opening statement (1. 5 minutes)
an argument (2 mins)
a rebuttal (2 mins) 
two questions/ challenges to the opposing team (to be posted on the blog today)
a closing statement (1.5 mins)

If you finish early you may work on your blog OR play the Road to Revolution game:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Does popular culture promote a nationalistic view of American History? (American Revolution case study)

Inspiration:"Ms. Francis, this class has challenged everything I know about US History!" - Sam Goon, 2007.

Context: Many of you have noted, as Sam did last year, that much of what is taught about US history in grade and middle school is lacking historical context and accuracy. In fact, many historians argue that the conventional approach to teaching US History in public schools often

"perpetuates popular myths (e.g., the first Thanksgiving)...lies by omission... leaves false impressions.... avoids negative images even from primary sources... fails to portray whole people, distort events and attitudes ... avoid conflict and controversy at all costs ...and fundamentally shun anything that would put history, people, and movements into context... Instead, students memorize the archetypes and the myths built around them without thinking about their likelihood—or improbability."

With that critical lens in mind, I'd like to devote this week's blog to reconsidering some popular culture potrayls of the American Revolution and the foundational principles of American Democracy.

Directions:"Schoolhouse Rock" was a popular Saturday morning cartoon show that aired in the late 1970's- 1989 (yes, we had T.V. back then - no cable.) It covered everything from algebra to zoology. Predictably, my favortie episodes were those that focused on US History and Government. These resources are basic in their teachings but directly reflect the general public's understanding of critical events from US history.

2. Assess the historical accuracy of these cartoons by comparing and contrasting them to our current class materials on the American Revolution. Then share your thoughts on the following questions:

  • Does popular culture promote a nationalistic view of US History?

  • What cultural, political or economic purpose does this serve in modern US society?

Expectations:I remind you to draw on direct facts from our current unit of study in your response. Also, remember to reflect on at least one other blog. 250 word minimum is required for a grade higher than N on this assignment.

Extra Credit: Create your own creative representation of the American Revolution through images, music, comic strip, lyrics, or video. It can be posted on the blog or emailed to me at:

blog is due by Friday, Oct. 17 before class