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Anticipatory Set Lesson for First Day of a History Class
by Teachnet.com Contributor, Ivie Mida, Created for EDU 473, Winter 2000

OVERVIEW: History is study of the past so that one can learn about their position in the present. In other words, “How did I get here?” In order to understand how a person has arrived in the place and setting that they are in, it is important to learn about the events and situations that have shaped and influenced our community, society, and human condition.

PURPOSE: The intent of this activity is to introduce students to the meaning of history and its importance. The students will examine why society how history plays an essential role in our lives as responsible citizens. Through formerly acquired skills of research and inquiry, students will learn new skills of recall, discussion, consideration, collaboration, and investigation. The activity can also serve as an introduction to exploring major eras in history, identify persons demonstrating various degrees of virtue, and examining choices in cause and effect relationships.

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:
1. State the reasons as to why a history is an essential element in understanding ourselves.
2. Enable the student to relate to past events so that a greater understanding of the past in relation to the present may take place.
3. Draw upon personal histories that have shaped the person they are today.
4. List essential concepts used in learning history.
5. Identify the skills of inquiry when studying history.

1. Secure Learners Attention – Teacher will ask students why they think history is an important enough topic that it warrants studying. Teacher will list students’ answers on the board. Next teacher will list on board major world issues that are presently occurring based on student responses.
2. Establish Learners Interest – Students will then be required to recall issues and events that took place the year they were born, when there parents were their age, and when their grandparents were there age. Responses will be listed on board or overhead. Students will then be assigned as homework the writing of a cause and effect paragraph on how the events discussed has affected their own lives.
3. Transmit Your Learning Expectations – The class will separate into small groups to examine a quote (one for each group). From the quotes, each group will create a list of Guidelines that will be used as the defining objectives of the class. These “guidelines” will be posted within in the classroom as reminders of why one studies history. One guideline will be chosen from each group. The quotes used are as follows:
A. History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
— Napoleon Bonaparte
B. The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
— Winston Churchill
C. History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
–Abba Eban
D. History has been a continuous exercise in creative problem solving.
— Michael J. Gelb
E. In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.
— Paul Harvey
4. Teach From Prior Learning – While still in groups, students will brainstorm the skills required in following these guidelines, these will also be posted in the classroom.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Posterboard, Markers, Chalkboard, Overhead and blank transparencies

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Finish with a continued discussion of “How did I get here”. Clarify cause and effect paragraph assignment. Encourage students to share assignment with parents and relatives to get a better understanding of the past events that have shaped their lives.

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