YOU CAN TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS

Angelina Kreger
BHP Teacher, Michigan, USA

Just as the summer was beginning to warm up, so was the Big History Project’s online learning experience, Teaching Big History. As a BHP teacher leader, and someone that has taught the course for the past five years, I had some misgivings about going through the online training. What was this going to teach me? I read things all the time that relate to Big History. How is this going to be different from what’s already on the BHP website?

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It wasn’t until I buckled down and began Teaching Big History, starting with Jillian Turner’s fantastic introduction video, that I realized what a wealth of knowledge it offered and how refreshing it was to get a brief synopsis of the course content again. I constantly take for granted all the things I’ve read and seen over the years, and I quickly realized (within the first two sections) that I needed to take some notes and really focus on what I was being taught.

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Figure 1 Human Migration activity

The interactive nature of the training and the new visuals—ones like the Human Migration activity in Session 4—were amazing and insightful. I began remembering things that I needed to mention in the classroom and realized I could embed a lot of this information into what I’m already teaching. In Session 2, the Threshold 2: Stars Light Up video reinvigorated my interest in learning about stars and pushed me to go out and revisit the additional resources in Unit 2.

Over and over again, I use the BHP supports that are in place, resources like Teaching Big History and the BHP Teacher Community on Yammer. Each time I do, I realize that this course really covers a vast knowledge base and that everyone—no matter what content you focus on or your years of teaching experience—can be successful. Teaching Big History reinvigorated my drive to teach BHP this year and lit a spark in me to continue to grow and learn alongside my students as we strive to think BIG.

Angelina Kreger is a veteran high school history teacher and instructional coach in Novi, MI. She has five years’ experience teaching the semester-long BHP course to twelfth graders.

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