I am new to fifth grade this year, and I have to say this might be my favorite lesson of the year! I apologize there are no fancy pictures, colors, or gadgets, but hang with me because it gets good!
We're studying the events leading up to the Revolutionary War. So far this week we've discussed taxation without representation, debt, The Stamp Act, The Quartering Act, Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre. Today, before reading the section on the Intolerable Acts - we had to have a special meeting with our principal.
Our principal came in, very serious, and distributed a letter to each student. On this letter was an explanation of state budget cuts to education (not far from the truth...). Due to these cuts, parents and students were going to have to start paying for different aspects of school. Lunch was raised to $5, recess was $2, specials classes were $3, computer lab was $4, etc. (He provided a list in the letter.) Our students went crazy! "How could you?" "This is unfair!" "We should protest!" He then excused himself. I let my class stew for the rest of social studies, math and science. Students kept bringing it up again, "Can I share a locker with someone to cut the price?" Needless to say, it was on their minds!
Just before my class left for art class, the principal came back. He asked what we learned in social studies today and the kids did a great job explaining the Intolerable Acts. The principal asked if this was fair, how they felt, etc. Slowly, I could see the light bulbs going off ... this wasn't real! We had a great discussion related these two activities and really getting a sense of how the colonists felt. I'm pretty sure this is a lesson they won't soon forget... even if they are mad at me!