Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Columbus Day Resources

Columbus 3

Controversies surrounding an observance or “celebration” of Columbus Day have been around for a great many years worldwide. Here are just a few that my past classes of 7th graders have struggled with on Social Studies writing assignments and debates:

  • Should we observe the accomplishments of a man who might be considered one of the most successful failures in world history? After all, he never did reach the <East> Indies at all.
  • Should we celebrate the man responsible for bringing slavery and diseases that wiped out millions of Native Americans in North and South America?
  • Is it appropriate to lay the blame of genocide, accidental or otherwise, which undeniably followed as a part of the Columbian Exchange, on the shoulders of this one man? Was it instead the entire European society during the Age of Discovery that should bear this responsibility?

All that aside, there is little doubt that the effects of Columbus’ voyages helped change the world. These contributions, both positive and negative, are collectively referred to as “The Columbian Exchange” by many textbooks. The National Humanities Center has an excellent essay on the Columbian Exchange, with teaching suggestions. I’ve listed several more below.

Hopefully, you’ll find some of the resources below helpful in your teaching efforts. Unfortunately, many classroom resources perpetuate the old-school promotion of Columbus-the-Hero, but a few take the revisionist Columbus-the-Villain stance. Many would help set up a lively debate amongst your students, expand their world-view, and help them participate in a discussion about global citizenship.

SMART Exchange has some great, pre-made SMART Board files that you can download and use with your classroom activities for free. Some are complete with Response(formerly known as Senteo Interactive Response System - those little clicker-thingies) question sets already developed to help you assess students' learning and understanding of your Columbus lessons. Here are some search results by topic:

Many video clips are also available to help with these activities. Click these links to see resources available from The Biography Channel and The History Channel.

Galesburg teachers can access LEARN360 for even more. Let me know if you’d like to learn how to login.

Many of these resources and more can be found on Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day blog, under The Best Online Resources About Christopher Columbus!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments will be held for moderation, just to help avoid that ever-present spam. Check back to see your Comment posted in a couple days, please.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Chromebook Basics for Students & Parents

Here's a brief tutorial about basic procedures & practices for student use of Chromebooks in District #205 (especially students in G...