Thursday, August 7, 2014

We didn't start the fire! Little history lessons!

We were listening to the radio while out and about doing errands.  One of my favorite Billy Joel songs came on: We Didn't Start the Fire. After some thought, and time teaching in 9th grade, I realized that the majority of kids out there couldn't give you even a one sentence description of the events Billy Joel highlights in his song.  Maybe someone might know who Marilyn Monroe is but Panmunjom? Not a chance.  Probably not even in 12th grade seeing the way education is going in this country.  Ding ding ding! Opportunity knocks!  When my daughter gets to middle school and above I want her to know the basics of current world history.  That way when she gets to class she won't have that vacant stare I've seen so often when I mention something like "the Russians were in Afghanistan first." (she never has a vacant stare...if was just an example LOL).  So here's what we did.

1.  I printed out the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.  I purchased a big piece of poster board and transferred the world events highlighted in the song.

My hand hurt after writing.
The song starts with events from 1949 and ends in the mid to late 80s as it was first released in 1989.  So much has happened since them.  I cruised around some world history websites and picked some of the major events from the 90s and up.  Since this was all discretionary you can choose your own events.

What events to you think are important?

 2. We bought a notebook. Please excuse my coffee table.  It's "craft central."

We used a simple composition notebook. Anything works.

3. One of our summer projects is writing out information on two subjects a day.  An essay isn't necessary. In fact, just a few sentences in summary. Sure there are a few subjects that require more, but I'm interested in exposure, not research papers.  If Maddie enters a world or American history class in 9th grade and has already been exposed to the Rosenbergs she's ahead of the curve. She already knows the basic story.  This notebook is actually something she can even take to school with her and work on when the students have free (computer) time, though it would be great for her to research these subjects from actual books!

She now knows who Eisenhower is.

I admit there were several events that I didn't know...and I'm pretty well versed in world history, more than most.  I found a great little site discussing, just as I highlight in this post, each point in the song.  It's a great cross reference or someplace to go if you, yourself wants to review.

Happy history everyone!

*All rights to the title and subject matter to Billy Joel of course.  No copyright infringement intended or implied. I think I've made is really, really, really clear that this is his song and he wrote it. :)

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