What’s Happening in Our Online History Classes? Check Out Some of Our Hands-on Projects!

Highlights from Fall Semester

Though all our classes are virtual, our instructors work tirelessly to design compelling visual and tactile projects that deepen learning. If you look at these projects, very quickly you will see how creatively and organically kids have engaged with their studies!

California History: California Out of the Box Classes

Native Peoples and the Island of the Blue Dolphins

In our California Out of the Box classes, instructor Tracy Yeoh (bio) invited students to step into the “shoes” of the main character of Island of the Blue Dolphins – Karana – and create structures composed of only natural materials similar to what Karana had on the island. In photos #1 and 2, students Tessa and Charlie recreated homes that could be made with these materials obtained from the coast and islands habitat. We love the way they used sand, shells, natural greens, and driftwood to create unique and beautiful structures!

In these next 2 pictures, students are illustrating other aspects of the story. As they further explored this habitat, using the Audubon Field Guide, students were invited to illustrate coastal intertidal zones. These ranges are so important to daily life on the California coast! Aisha did a wonderful job of showing the various life forms found in different zones.

In #4, while creating his year-long timeline, student Charlie illustrated the boat that took most of the remaining Nicoleno tribe off San Nicolas Island in 1835.

As students considered the story of Karana, who was left alone to survive on the Channel Island for 18 years, they were encouraged to create a poem about friendship — either with other humans, or pets. A big part of the story is her friendship with her pet wild dog Rontu, and she eventually befriends the otters, seagulls, and cormorants. It’s vital for young students to be able to connect their life to characters in works of historical fiction; inviting students to write poetry about their own life can make this attachment real.

Friendship Acrostic Poem, Christian (4th grade)

Dia De Los Muertos

As students read Valley of the Moon, they learned about Spanish and Mexican American traditions in early California. Here is a wonderful example of Mexican-cut paper, papel picado.

Papel Picado: Christian, 4th grade

In many of these projects, students were given assignments to complete on their own time. Often they brought their work back to the class, and were able to share their reflections and creations with other students.

US History: Early American History and Geography Classes

Native Peoples

The story of the Unites States most certainly starts with the people who had been here, for thousands of years, the Native Americans. In these two photos, students in Lynn Haselton’s (bio) Early American History and Geography classes were asked to recreate a Native American village scene in Minecraft, as a diorama, or other building/project material. The beauty of our classes — some students like Hassan create digitally, while others like Pranathi make 3D models. Both ways to create are welcome!

Old World Versus New

In another project, Ms. Lynn asked students to research a favorite of food that could be eaten now, finding out if the ingredients were from the Old World (Europe and Africa), or from the New World – the Americas. Here are some slides from the student’s presentations. Don’t you get hungry just looking at these photos?

And for the Geography!

Each week, students turn in a historical discovery based on Ms. Lynn’s instructions and she puts a marker on the map with the information each student turns in.  The map is interactivewhen you click on a map marker, you can learn about what event happened at that location.  The map markers are color-coded for each student!

It’s not too late to enroll for Spring!

Our classes are opening up for 4th to 6th grade students that wish to add a study of US history or California history in Spring Semester. (California Out of the Box is for students in 4-5th grade.) Spring Semester starts in late January. Each semester is 15 weeks. The reading lists for both courses can be found on the class pages. Click on the graphics below to hit the class pages!

NEW! For California Out of the Box, we have added a Thursday 10 AM section.

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