My Lesson Plan:
The Boston Massacre/Primary Sources
Teacher: Adam Pfau
Aim: To give students an introduction to what it means to use primary sources in history studies, and to use an intro. lesson to the Boston Massacre as a way to introduce this concept.
Unit/Standard: American History/Government
Vocabulary: Primary Sources
Questions: What happened during the Boston Massacre and what evidence is there that supports this? What is a primary source, and what can be problematic about trying to analyze them? How can primary sources inform us about historic events?
- Hook students with a story about bullying to draw comparisons between bullies and how the colonists were treated by the British.
- Introduce students to the idea of primary sources and have them name examples.
- Given students an intentionally brief and vague history of the Boston Massacre to set up their readings.
- Give students instructions about how their group work will work and what roles there will be during the activity.
- Hand out Boston Massacre account packets.
- Walk the room and assist groups during their discussions.
- Come back together as a class and finish the lesson by bringing the activity to a conclusion that leads into the next day.
Hook: “What would you do as a teacher if there was a conflict brought to you with two opposing sides?”
Homework: None, except coming up with one idea of something that could be difficult when looking at primary historical documents.
Post-Lesson Reflection/Feedback: The feedback for my lesson was positive, and I think that it went well. I ran out of time to do the post-lesson discussion, like I thought I might, but I also think that the discussion isn’t as important since it could easily be done the day after and not doing it allowed for more time for students to spend quality time really digging into the primary sources. I really tried to slow myself down and not let being nervous make me speak quickly, and I think I did an OK job for the most part since I managed to force myself to talk slower and more measured. Having my power-point really helped with that I think, since when you have a power-point without tons of text on it, it gives you a guide to follow when thinking of what to say, but is still vague enough where you can come upo with some things to say on the spot.
I think my teacher-student ratio was pretty good since I did most of the talking for the first 8-9 minutes, and a bit at the end, whole students did the rest in groups. I could have been more engaging during the student’s discussion time by engaging the different groups more when I walked around the room, but it was a little difficult to do since most groups were in the process of reading something out loud when I was visiting their tables.
Overall, I think it went well but it was a good reminder that I should stop trying to plan too much and should just relish slowing down and spending quality time really diving into something simple, instead of planning so much that we can’t get to it all. Sometimes simplicity is a good thing, and I think I could have made my lesson even more simple.