The Epic History Timeline 1

For some reason, I have found that whenever I get my upper level students, they have no historical context for what we are reading.  This year, I worked very hard on giving my Latin 2 students that context, so that they would have it for Latin 3.  But how to make them retain it?
This is where I came up with the Epic History Timeline.  You will need:  three rolls of that wide Bulletin Board Paper (Colors make it look awesome!), Colored pencils/Markers (Markers stand out more!), and devices that can access the internet.
I gave my students these instructions:
“Working in groups of 3, your mission, whether or not you choose to accept it, is to outline a period of Roman history on a Timeline.  You must find 20 or more events for your time period.
Your group will select this time period by chance.  Working in your group of three, you will each need to choose a role:
*Exquisitor—You will be researching the chosen time period on your phone and will be in charge of describing the event to the Scriptor and the Pictor.
*Scriptor—You will, on the description of the Exquisitor, put the event on the timeline, and write a concise description of the event.
*Pictor—You will draw a picture of the event on the timeline.
Once you have put together your piece of the timeline, you will present it to the class, discussing your events and their significance to Roman History.  Then, add your timeline piece to the timeline.
Don’t forget to put your names on your section!”
They then drew their time periods out of a hat.  I had seven groups, so I split the time periods up like this:
The Monarchy (753 BC to 509 BC)
Early Republic (510 BC to 367 BC)
Mid Republic (366 BC to 132 BC)
Late Republic (133 BC to 31 BC)
Early Empire (30 BC to 68 AD)
Mid Empire (68 AD to 96 AD)
Mid Empire 2 (96 AD to 180 AD)
Each group was instructed to cut 4 feet of bulletin board paper, and get started.  The results were spectacular!  This project took two to three 1.5 hour classes, from start to finish.  (Three classes for most of my classes!)  Each group presented their section to the class and talked about why the events in their section were important to Roman history.  We then pieced the timelines together and hung them up All over the school.  These things are a work of art!
(And, yes, I did give them a quiz about it, with fantastic results.)
I love this project because there is something for everyone.  Those who would rather research can do so; those who have the gift of neat handwriting can make use of that talent; and, of course, the ones who like to draw can do that too.  The students need to internalize and own the historical events so that they can explain them clearly to their peers. This project worked extremely well for my students and I hope yours enjoy it too!

Final Project: May it be Meaningful and Synthesizing

When I was in college, it was the fashion not to wish people “good luck!” before a final. Instead, people came up with their own phrases that denied the role of luck (I went with “Go forth and conquer!”). One of my friends would always send us off with the wish “May your exam be meaningful and synthesizing.”
As a teacher, I’ve thought about that wish. When I started teaching at a school where I could choose whether or not to give a final exam, I took the time to really look at what I wanted my exam to do. I did want it to be, as my friend had said, “meaningful and synthesizing.” I wanted it to draw together what my students had learned over the course of the year and help them see the connections. I also wanted it to be something that would help them retain the knowledge over the summer and help them at the start of the next year, not something that would make them pour knowledge into their heads the night before the exam and dump it back out the moment they were in the hall after the exam was over.
So, aided and abetted by the fact that the final exam schedule that year was extremely tight, I decided not to give an exam, but a final review project.
The review project was to cover the material we had covered in class that year and create a reference that the student could use in September. This way, if a student forgot something over the summer, he or she could quickly look it up in the packet and find his or her own explanation in his or her own words instead of looking it up in the book and getting lost in information we hadn’t yet covered.
For students who were moving on to a different school, my hope was that the packet would help their new teacher decide their placement levels.
I’ve attached the prompt for the general project. Each class also gets an individualized list with the chapters that they covered and the main topics highlighted.
Each student’s project ends up being slightly different, tailored to his or her needs. This does seem to help them bring together the concepts that they’ve learned, and I hope that they find it useful in the future.