Living History

(If only I could actually see Hamilton the Musical…)

I was listening to songs from Hamilton the Musical as well as other musicals today and it got me thinking about how I can tell you all types of things about characters in musicals, movies, plays, and books, yet I couldn’t do the same about people I learned about in history class this past year. This observation led me to once again appreciate the art of storytelling, because when we hear about things in the form of a story where all of our senses interact with a particular situation, we are so much more likely to remember little details.

There are so many things we are expected to memorize in school, and I wonder how story telling could help make things easier to remember.

This thought gave me an idea which I originally imagined for a history class (because I was thinking about Hamilton) though it could take place in a number of classes if tweaked I would imagine:

What if within the first week of history class every person in class was given a name of an important figure in history that would come at some point during the year. Students would then “become” their historical figure by learning a little bit about their person and throughout the year serving as the expert on that key figure. Other students could then associate the people in their class with those historical figures and throughout the year make connections between figures.

This idea obviously needs more elaboration, but maybe my making the figures come to life more by having everyone essentially acting as their figure, students would remember more about individual characters at the end of the year.


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