Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Andrew Jackson: For the People or For Himself?

Walk down the street in November and you'll see lawn after lawn full of signs supporting different presidential candidates. Drive along Main St. and you'll see protestors shouting for the candidate they want to win. When the election comes to a close, only one president can win, leaving half of the people unhappy and resentful and the rest overjoyed that their vote won. Just like there is lots of controversy over whether a president is "good for the county" or the "right pick", there is lots of that same controversy with 19th century president Andrew Jackson. Jackson's reputation as the "people's president" is being questioned, so in Honors History 10 we explored this topic to form our own opinions on whether or not this title is deserved. After watching Crash Course and Ted-Ed videos to understand the context and the arguments, we split into groups to analyze 3 different aspects of Jackson's presidency- the Spoils System, the Bank war, and the policy of Indian removal. By analyzing primary sources and using them to create skits and videos, each group shared what they had learned with the class. Collectively, we decided that although Jackson may have been for the American people, he certainly was not for everyone in the sense that he favored his supporters and was brutal towards the native Americans. 

To learn more about the Spoils System, check out the Common Craft that my group made!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our 10th Grade Class is More Democratic Than 19th Century America

While Mrs.Gallagher was away on a conference for the week, our Honors History 10 class stayed in touch and used each other as resources to learn about the Rise of Democracy in 19th century America. In the spirit of a true democracy, we held a class meeting the day before Mrs.Gallagher left. Here, we all added our input to decide how we would learn the curriculum while our teacher was away. The verdict came to analyzing primary sources and constructing a poster that would answer the essential question: How should we define democracy? How democratic was the US in the early 1800s? Mrs. Gallagher set up an entire-class Google doc where we put our lesson outline and goals for each class. At the end of every day, 5 or 6 students wrote in detail about our progress and Mrs. Gallagher responded with questions and suggestions to help us along. With clear communication between teacher and students, and the help of technology that allowed us to overcome our distance barrier, our class analyzed 5 primary sources and formulated our ideas to create posters about the Rise of Democracy.

Here is my group's digital poster using Glogster!