I noticed that my students tend not to use geography terms or demographic information (ethnicity and census numbers) from their history book in their writing, so today I made it explicit in a lesson I titled:
The Texas Revolution: Using Demographic Data and Geography to tell a story.
It was a pretty successful lesson. There was a map of Texas in the textbook that showed where the principal areas of Mexican settlement were, where the main areas of slave and free American settlements were, where new European colonists were, and where the Comanche and other native tribes were concentrated. Additionally, the text itself had reference to the census numbers of the time — 15,000 Americans here, 4,000 Mexicans there, 2,000 Germans and Swiss in this region.
Like all maps, it also included geographic data — the Gulf of Mexico, the bordering states of Louisiana, Arkansas and the Western Territory, as well as the neighboring Mexican provinces. The Colorado River, the Red River, the Brozas River and the Rio Grande were all indicated. Finally, the locations of San Antonio, San Jacinto, and Corpus Christi were all shown.
From all that regional data, all that census information, and all those boundary lines, we were able to assemble a pretty comprehensive picture of life in Texas. The fact that one of our students in each class had done a research project on the Lone Star Republic helped flesh out the story even further. And then I made this video that helped pull the awareness of the skill together for everyone.
Some of my videos are starting to attract notice. One is embedded behind a firewall at Amazon.com’s server farm, but after that embedding occurred, one video’s viewership jumped a lot. I’m curious if I’m competing with other teachers or helping them.
Have you used any of my videos with a classroom? Was it useful, or did it confuse the issue?