Suzanne Blackstock, BHP Teacher
North Carolina, USA

Describe your BHP classroom in 3 words.
Engaging, challenging, innovative

Briefly describe your BHP classroom/school setting.
We teach BHP to our 8th grade world history classes, about 220 students. This is the first year both teaching world history and using BHP and it has gone well. We meet with our students daily for 60 minutes.

What’s your favorite BHP activity/article/video? Why?
My favorite activities are those that are active, like Big History on a Football Field (Lesson 1.1) and Active Accretion (Lesson 4.0). These are powerful, experiential learning activities that allow students to understand difficult concepts. Plus, they get students up and out of their seats, which is always a good thing!

Activity worksheets: Big History on a Football Field (left) and Active Accretion (right)

How, if at all, has BHP changed your approach to instruction?
I’ve learned alongside my students and have been able to think about key concepts like scale, thresholds, and multiple disciplines. I then can bring these concepts into class discussions and questioning, reinforcing students’ understanding.

What’s the most interesting impact BHP has had on your students?
Using thresholds has helped students organize their learning. They have a better understanding of WHY they are learning what they’re learning, so that leads to better comprehension and connection with previous units.

What’s the best BHP-related question you’ve heard a student ask this week?
“Dear David Christian; Could you come to our 8th grade formal?” 🙂

What’s something you’re hoping to try in your BHP classroom next year?
I’m hoping to stay on top of writing activities and Investigations. We did several of them this year, but I want to be more methodical and deliberate about planning for them.

What book are you currently reading?
Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family, by Pauli Murray.

What piece of advice would you give to incoming “BHP Newbies”?
It’s ok if it’s overwhelming! Do the best you can do, and don’t stress if you can’t stay more than a day ahead of your students!

One thought on “Classroom Snapshot: Learning that Focuses on the WHY

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