Friday, 2 August 2013

"My Place" for Teaching Year 9 Humanities

It is time for me to start sharing some wonderful activities I have run during the past few weeks. In the last three weeks, I have taught Year 9 Humanities, Year 8 Maths, Year 8 English and Year 7 English. It has been a learning curve but also a great way for me to use some old activities and strategies and refine them for a different age group. 

Last week, I ran an activity with my Year 9 Humanities class based upon the book "My Place" by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. I have used this book before at the primary level when teaching history and was so glad that I was able to use it again. This book, if you haven't read it, is absolutely wonderful and can be used for practically teaching anything! It focuses on a house and tracks the owners of the house on a ten year basis. It starts in 1988 and each new page is ten years prior and is written by a person living in that house. It goes all the way back to 1788 (the year that Australia was settled). 

The Year 9 Humanities class I was teaching is working on a unit called "Sunbury vs. City" where students look at the community they live in and how they can make a difference. This is a cross between history, geography and civics and citizenship. For this activity, we looked at the skills of creating a timeline as well as investigating family history and what changes and remains constant over time. Students worked in pairs and were given one time period to investigate from the book. They needed to identify who lived in the house during that time period, what significant events were occuring to both the family living there and in the time period, and what locations were significant for the person living in the house (each time period has a map of the local community). Students then shared their findings with the class and we created a massive timeline across the room with the information. We were then able to identify when families moved out of the house, what stayed the same with the house, what stayed the same and changed with the neighbourhood. 

It was such an enriching and amazing activity as you could really see students making so many connections; between the time periods and the families, with the time period and historical events (e.g. WWI, Vietnam, Great Depression, immigration). I highly recommend that all teachers get themselves a copy of this book. It is full of colour and imagination and can be used to for all sorts of activities and to teach and lead some wonderful discussions. It is exciting to find such a fantastic book that can be used across the academic levels!

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