For the benefit of those who might be new to this blog, I am re-posting some of the introductory information.
HISTORY YAY, OR HISTORY NAY?
Why do some kids like history, and others hate it?
It might have something to do with presentation. If a teacher views a historical event in terms of facts and dates to be memorized, and presents his/her students with nothing but facts and dates, that’s all they’re likely to get out it. If, on the other hand, the teacher views a historical event as a story to be told and tells it well, kids tend to get much more out of it. I was lucky. Almost all my history teachers fell into the latter category, and by the time I came across a couple who weren’t, I was already hooked.
WAYS TO GET KIDS HOOKED ON HISTORY
Present It Well: Most kids will embrace history if it’s presented in an entertaining manner. Books like Tony Robinson’s Worst Children’s Jobs In History and Bad Kids: The Worst Behaved Children In History are highly both appealing. Likewise Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories series, whether in the form of books, TV shows, or stage plays.
Encourage Speculation: Discuss historic ‘What Ifs …?’ with children. Example: Back in WW I, British solider, Henry Tandy, had the chance to shoot a wounded German dispatch rider he had in his sights. He didn’t do it, but since that dispatch rider was Adolf Hitler, how would the world be different if he had?
Use History Lures: Lure kids into taking an interest in history by connecting it to something they are already interested in. I periodically make suggestions as regards this in my ‘History Lures’ posts.
Make A Game Of History: Play games like ‘Trivia Trail, in which you put a history-based question up on a fridge or chalkboard and hide a card with the answer. The winner will be the first child to find that card and read it aloud to you. Or ‘History Hunt’, in which you:
• Pick a date, and find an event that occurred on it.
• Challenge children to use books and/or the Internet to find out “What historic event happened on January 9th?” If you’re feeling generous, or playing with younger children, you can give hints, such as “It was the birthday of someone famous.” or “It’s something that was invented on that day.” or “It’s to do with a natural disaster.”
• Set a time limit. The event has to be uncovered by such-and-such-a-time.
• Offer a prize. This serves as an incentive if the kids involved aren’t really ‘into’ history’ yet, and if they are, well, prizes are nice. It doesn’t have to be much, maybe just a chocolate coin, or an extra story at bedtime. If more than one child is playing, the prize goes to the one who’s first with the right answer. (Yes, the event you found happened on this day, too, but it’s not the one the Master/Mistress of the Hunt has designated the object of the hunt.)
Other Strategies: Visit museums, join historical re-enactment societies, have them ‘excavate’ the back yard, let them watch historical documentaries and history-based movies or TV shows and, of course, read, or encourage them to read, fictional books and non-fictional books with an historical base. The word ‘History’ contains the word ‘story’. And kids love stories.