Hurricane Hermine arrived in Florida on Wednesday, which then spurred the following chain of events, leading to the MTV T-shirt Tuesday! Here’s how it went down!
On Thursday morning, my brain woke me up at 5:25, my normal time frame. There was NO WAY I was getting up at that time, especially since we had no school to attend! I was laying there, doing what teachers do-thinking about school and the things we were learning, when, out of no where, came the answer to a perplexing question that I have asked over and over again, “How do I REALLY get kids to understand the difference between primary and secondary sources?!” Yes, I was really thinking about that, with a hurricane of rain hit my window. I promise you, there is something about my brain in the morning that does amazing things! I’m sure brain research is right! I’m pretty sure it is because I cycle through the right sleep cycles and my brain has a chance to work on things at night because of it! Anyways, back to my MTV T-shirt story!
Once I actually got up, (8:30, just in case you were wondering) I set to work on a truly terrific idea. The answer to my very question, “How to teach kids about primary and secondary sources?” was swirling around behind me as I sat at the table typing. Rain, wind, craziness! And from that, a FREEBIE was born! The Primary and Secondary Source Project allows kids to see themselves as the very thing they are-a PRIMARY Source!
Let’s take a look at how I did this with my students. First, I decided to wear my MTV T-shirt to school. I bought it because I can honestly say, I was sitting right there, in front of the TV, watching MTV being born! I’m a PRIMARY SOURCE for that event. I lived it. I felt that the T-shirt, in all it’s glory, was a great way to get kids asking questions about why I would wear it, on a Tuesday of all days! Next, I took the chance of connecting with my parents. I sent out a quick email about taking a picture of their child or their neighborhood during the storm (looking out a window, etc.) and finding a newspaper article to print. I also downloaded a number of local articles to have them handy for kids who didn’t get the task done. I found a simple article about MTV’s debut and printed that for my sample. I also decided it would be fun to wear name badges that let others know that we are Primary Sources. I purchased Avery printable name badges and made quick “Hello…I’m a PRIMARY SOURCE” tags. Finally, I printed everything I needed to get the kids started right away on Tuesday morning!
When the kids arrived, I got them started on their regular routine. I decided I was going to switch up my schedule and put this activity first. I wanted them fresh. I explained to them that with the schedule change came a project about Hurricane Hermine. I explained my MTV T-shirt and why I wore it. Then I explained that they, too, were Primary Sources. They were totally excited. They wanted to share! We got to work!
Everyone had their own experiences and ideas about what took place based on the experience they had at home. As we worked, we talked about what needed to be facts about the storm, real events that they saw. We also talked about what could be based on emotions and ideas. I did this step by step with them through my experience of watching MTV premiere (they were excited to hear that too!)
The end result was magnificent! And they get it now, they really get it now! The best part, most work their “Hello” tags were worn home! Now that’s a real impact if you can get a student to wear a “Hello” nametag home! Success!!
So, here it is, in all its glory! I hope you can use it in a variety of ways. Just because your students didn’t experience Hermine doesn’t mean there aren’t great things they have witnessed! Think about the Rio Olympics in itself-Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, the USA Woman’s Gymnastics’ Team, Simone Manuel winning the first Olympic Gold for a black woman in swimming, and so much more outside of the Olympics. The ideas are endless! There are two levels of projects, so pick the one that would best work with your students!
Let me know what your ideas are in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you would use this in your classroom!