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  • My reflection focuses on how I will implement specific materials from the class into my own 5/6 classroom. Still cogitating on your engaging class. Thanks so much.


  • History through the Senses Final Paper

           In the span of four days we were able to participate in various dances, quality history lessons, vocal lyrics and video presentations, historical fashions, and edible delights. All of these experiences were meaningful and well taught, they provided teaching tools that I can convey to many students throughout the years to come

          The dances were well taught, easy to follow, concise, broken-down into steps, and hopefully relatively easy to teach to future students. I did not have a favorite dance throughout the course of the week, they were all extremely unique from the Bassadances, Allemande, Minuet, Gique, Tlingit Welcome Dance, Waltz, Maypole, Cotillions, Grand March, Cakewalk, Charleston, Fox Trot, Animal Dances, Disco, and the Hustle just to name a few. Not all of these dances were taught during the course of the class but many of these were. Participating in many of the dances was quite enjoyable and yet I found a few challenging with keep track of the steps and the timing. I am sure over time, I will be able to dance more in time with the music and with more practice. The history lessons were very accurate and detailed with time period specifics.

          Our class discussed specific topics throughout the history of the world, focusing primarily upon the United States. The time periods we explored were the Renaissance Era, Baroque Era, Native Americans during the (Pre-Columbus) times, Colonialism/Revolution, Westward Movement/Pioneers, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Nuclear Age, and the Modern Age. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical facts from each era, I was shocked to see how quickly events changed the course of the world in regards to fashion, music, television, dancing, and foods. The vocal lyrics and videos only but enhanced the course through the week.

            I was surprised to see how much music both with and without lyrics have changed over the course of history. I had no idea that so often composers would create music and others would then copy or steal it and say it was theirs. That concept is so wrong to me on so many levels. It poses the question as to how often does it still happen today? On another note, I have enjoyed how so many artists are so unique that just by hearing lyrics you can either enjoy a song or not. Lyrics can mean so much, so differently, to anyone listening. They can make you feel emotions you may not have felt in a long time, or they can relate to a specific situation you may be experiencing. The video presentations that were presented in class truly opened my eyes to a new experience. It gave the lyrics a whole other perception or how a listener could interpret what an artist was singing or saying. As the lyrics and music were evolving with the eras the fashions were changing just as rapidly.

            I had no idea that fashion was such a big deal way back when. I think if I were able to travel back in time, I would want to see how the fashion world began. The fabrics so different, expensive in many cases, colors meant royalty, no shorts allowed, what is that? A life without jeans, oh no what do we do? The freedom of choice is also nice in many cases. I honestly could not see myself in a pair of tights for any real reason unless of course I were one of Robin Hood's men. I would show my legs off and the muscles that are attached that would be a bonus for sure. What is real fashion without food to eat while deciding what to wear?

                    The foods, that we tasted were interesting but good, I would love to try to make one of them each week if I but just made the time. The Pemmican reminded me of a modern day trail mix, which is something I truly enjoy most of the time. They contain much of the same ingredients if you create your own similar to the recipe. It provides proteins and vitamins which still exist today. I love breads so I was smitten when we in fact ate the bread and butter. I will have to attempt to create the best fried apples ever, possibly without the bacon of course. Waldorf salad is still a big hit today at many potlucks. I loved the history behind the foods, it helped me realize that cultures were adapted to their environments and gathering what they could to create meals to sustain their families.

          This course was truly a gift, I never thought I would have as much fun as I did. I can't wait to see what courses you will offer again in the future. Thank you so much for your time and expertise. Enjoy the summer!!!!!!

  • Here's my final paper

    Cynthia Kalfas Cox.docx

  • History Through the Senses


    Bonnie Palach

    June 2014



    I am very pleased that I was able to take this class.  I am a strong advocate that history comes alive when using art, images, and music.  These arts reflect the true history of different eras.  I was surprised and pleased to learn more about dancing in different eras and to incorporate recipes and fashion from those eras.  In addition, the instructors provided an extensive list of resources which I will save and definitely be able to use in my classes.  I also appreciated learning more technology to implement with the students.  This is the way students in the 21st Century learn, and I need to keep up to date in order to keep the students fully engaged. 


    The manner of instruction was a great model.  There was a clear syllabus, clearly defined assignments, and objectives for each session.  I also appreciated the vocabulary and definitions in each packet.  I appreciate the amount of research that went into creating these packets.  It was clear that the instructors have a passion for these all of these areas of study and learning.


    I was enthralled while listening to the recording of the former slave.  Just to know that we have access to authentic recordings is a great asset.  To listen to stories told by those who experienced those historic moments truly brings life to history.  I also appreciated the links to the negro spirituals.  It is one thing to discuss the significance of the music, but actually listening to the music and hearing the voices touches the soul.  It adds another dimension to the process of actually learning and not just memorizing dates and historic events.  In my own experience as a learner, I have had a number of “ah ha” moments while watching specials on PBS, including the Ken Burns series (Civil War, Baseball, Jazz), or reading various books where I finally realized the true significance of a particular event, or song. 


    The role of government was another revealing part of our history.  Yellow journalism is fairly famous (infamous) in this country with freedom of the press, but changing lyrics or creating dance moves to encourage or discourage certain lifestyles or belief systems is a precarious practice that we should all be aware of.  It reminds me of the phrase, “Question Authority”.  Well, yes, we need to question the sources from which we are acquiring our information…including the internet, Wikipedia, the newspaper, and various slants of news organizations.  Being able to show students the manipulation of Civil War photos, the feel good movies during WWII, the McCarthy communist scares of the 50s, and the animal dances from the 60s (I still can’t get over that!!) clearly demonstrate the need to be aware of the origin of our sources.  As my mother often said, “Consider the source.”  Wise words from a wise woman.


    Fashion is something that I’ve touched on very briefly, especially when it comes to those radical rabble rousers during the Roaring 20s.  I had not really considered comparing fashion throughout history and the functionality or purposes/messages those fashions served.   I am looking forward to introducing another fascinating area of history to my lessons.  I may  have to skip the information about false enhancements of certain areas of one’s anatomy, but I will include more innocuous observations about accentuating the waist or revealing legs. 


    Food is another area that I’ve only discussed in passing…people were either starving or eating plentifully.  I never thought about looking up specific recipes throughout the history of the US.  I may have to bring in some powdered milk that we drank while growing up in Anchorage during the 60s and early 70s. The fruit salad (Dream Whip, canned fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and maraschino cherries) that we made for special occasions should really knock their socks off!  Homemade mac and cheese made with Velveeta and Spam will be another treat.  Then we could eat Pilot Bread with Crisco and sugar!!  Oh, how fun!  That will be particularly appropriate for my Alaska Studies class!  I would have to discuss the reasons (distance, climate, money) for our culinary choices, but these tangible experiences will make the lessons more memorable. 


    Finally, I appreciated learning more technology that I can use with my students.  I am a technosaur and a bit of a technophobe, which I have to get past in order to be a more effective instructor.  I appreciated being able to share information via the Ning.  I also appreciated all of the websites that were presented.  I still need to learn more, but I appreciate the opportunity to become somewhat more familiar with more technology in this class. 


    I would highly recommend this class for history teachers!  I learned more history and acquired new skills which I believe will make my students more engaged learners.  The lessons and resources also piqued my own curiosity, as a continual learner, about the history of our young, but complex country.  Thank you!

  • Here's my final reflection. Enjoy your summer!

    Spence Final Reflection.docx

  • Here is my final reflection. Thanks a lot!

    Pustina - final reflection.docx

  • Here is my final paper.  Thank you again for an absolutely top notch class.  It was fun and informative.  Enjoy the summer:-)

    Final Paper (HTTS).docx

  • What a whirlwind these four days have been!  I am exhausted, but also incredibly excited at the wealth of information and tools I can add to my bag of teaching tricks.  I was very impressed at Stephanie and Elizabeth's breadth of knowledge in regards to history.  I know for a fact that these activities work and kids truly enjoy them!  Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Elizabeth in action in her own 6th grade classroom.  I remember her  lesson plan covered the music of the Jackson 5, the Osmonds, and the Rolling Stones.  The kids loved learning about these musical eras (which she presented through story telling and video clips) and she even let them participate in an impromptu dance party in the middle of her history lecture!  The students were very motivated and engaged by the activities.

    When I saw this course listed on the ASDSA website, I recalled that wonderful class I'd observed and enrolled immediately.  I don't regret it and plan on using many of these activities next year.  Even though I will be teaching high school orchestra at West in the fall, I can still utilize many of the things I learned in this class.  They will really help liven up my pacing, especially during those lengthy high school blocks.

    Some thoughts I had regarding the topics that impacted me the most during this class...

    1.  Dance:  Dancing isn't really my thing, but I genuinely had a great time doing it during this class.   I am confident in the role of being a teacher/conductor, but petrified as a dancer.  Luckily, the dances in this class were so accessible that it was hard to feel intimidated.  Also, it was a relief to be among other beginning dancers. We were all on a similar playing field.  I especially appreciated the tips from Elizabeth and Stephanie regarding how to facilitate the dances for young students.  Dances can become a stressful mess if you aren't able to facilitate them smoothly.  Additionally, I REALLY enjoyed the hip-hop session presented by Gabe.  He was a charismatic, warm teacher who has a talent for simplifying and isolating things into basic movements and patterns.  He reminded me of a good conductor!   I also liked that he tried to connect with everyone on an individual basis.  P.S. On another note:  the gender roles during the dancing really got me thinking.  Why reinforce the idea that boys shouldn't dance with boys/girls shouldn't dance with girls?  Shouldn't we be discouraging kids against those sorts of gender prejudices?  In my classes, I just had kids pick partners and never mentioned gender.  Just a thought.

    2. Fashion: It was very interesting to see how the fashions related to the music and architecture of the various eras (especially during the Renaissance and Baroque eras).  I plan on showing my high school orchestras some of these photos next year when we study the Baroque era.  These photos will provide some comic relief (kids will love hearing about why men wore tights).  The pictures will also provide some much-needed context for our music-making.

    3.  Food:  I really enjoyed this component of the class.  This would be a really interesting experiment for a high school orchestra food party.  If you are studying music from a particular era, encourage students to research and cook items from this era to share.   Best after-the-concert party ever!

    4.  History:  A lot of material was crammed into four days.  I really appreciated the packets of information.  They were incredibly well-thought out and detailed.  I am certain I will be revisiting them often for ideas.  I find it hard to believe that this class used to be only two days!  The four days did leave my brain pretty tired, but it was well worth it.  It was nice that so many of the historical activities required us to move around the classroom/building.  Being able to move kept me much more clear-headed, especially during the long classes.  It reminded me how important it is to keep our students moving!  The only historical event I think you should leave out next time is the 9/11 unit.  It seemed really upsetting for the instructors, and some of the students had to leave. Perhaps consider replacing it with something else next time. Your intentions were good, but it seemed too soon for several people. 

    5.  Music:  Great choices of listening examples and video clips. I was so grateful for Elizabeth's tips regarding how to set up You Tube clips in Itunes and the "Quiet You Tube" advice.  I would love to utilize YouTube more in the classroom, but technology can be so intimidating at times.  I hope to implement daily listening and weekly YouTube clips into my own classroom next year.  It really changes the entire atmosphere.

    6.  Final Project:  I have to admit, I was really dreading the final ARS project because of the computer work involved.  Thankfully, Stephanie was right....it was not nearly as bad as I'd feared.  I actually collected some really amazing videos and teacher resources that I plan on using next fall.  The template was quite easy to navigate and I'm grateful to have all my links stored on my home computer for easy usage.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this class.  I plan on using a lot of the materials next fall.  Thanks for helping me become a better teacher!  Looking forward to working with you again in the future....

  • Final Paper

    I enrolled in this course toward the end of the school year, knowing that I needed two more credits to meet Alaska's requirements to recertify as a teacher.  I was pleasantly surprised by the material covered in the class.  The two instructors worked as a team to deliver some fascinating historical facts, covering a number of subjects, all relating to our senses.  I never really enjoyed history in high school because it seemed like one dry reading assignment after the other.  This class brought history back to life with the use of music, art, media, and dance.  Learning history through the senses was very exciting, and the course became way more than just another class to fulfill certification requirements. 


    So on the first day, we all participated in an exercise of skimming through popular magazines.  I knew right away that everyone had their own opinion, but we all had some had some common observations about our culture.  Most agreed that we are materialistic and quite biased when choosing models for our magazines.  Ninety per cent were white and beautiful, nicely dressed, thin, and smiling white teeth.  We could all see how unrealistic this was compared to a true cross cut sample of our population. 


    An "Aha!" moment for me was realizing that the baroque period in Europe overlapped with the Colonial Period and Revolutionary War in America.  As the colonies were being founded, our European composers across the pond, like Purcell, Handel, and Telemann were very busy writing music.  To keep things lively and moving, we learned and danced throughout the class.  Even though the minuet was popular and lasted a long time, much easier dances like the Jefferson and Liberty dance came along.  The beat pattern was in 4/4, and would be much easier to teach the young students.  In America during the Colonial Days, singing schools became popular.  Many times the music was borrowed from the Brits, and then the lyrics were changed.  The main composer of this time was William Billings, who was known as the father of choral music. 


    As we moved into the Western Movement (1809-1893,) clothing became more modest and simple.  People of the period spent a lot of time out in the elements while working physically demanding jobs.  Clothing was more practical with less decorative frills of the past.  Like our instructor Stephanie, I too was surprised to learn that Adolph Hitler was born at the same time as the Showdown at the OK Corral.  Also surprising was the fact that we had 21 Presidents during the 100 Year Period.  The dance of this period was more inclusive to the whole population, young, old, rich, poor, and gender really didn't matter.  Two of the dances we learned were the Lucky Seven and Jump Jim Joe.  Both of these dances would be easily taught to intermediate grades. 


    After World War II, America was changing very rapidly.  The Baby Boomer Generation now had radio and television and dancing became very popular.  The general public was getting concerned about the music and lyrics young people were listening to.  As a result, the Bureau of Music was formed.  The government later commissioned a group to choreograph dances that were deemed appropriate.  That list of dances included The Swim, The Watusi, The Hitchhiker, The Twist, The Monkey, The Pony, The Mashed Potato, and The Bear. 


    I learned another exercise that would be applicable for many subjects and different periods in history.  This exercise starts off by having students try to identify quotes from famous people.  Students then listen to an audio sound bite of the actual voice behind the quote. As we all took part in the exercise, it was surprising to see how much easier it was to identify the quotes after hearing the actual voice recording. 

  • My final response- short and sweet! Have a great summer!!


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