Thursday, October 25, 2012

500 Years Later

Understanding the US political process can be a daunting task, even for adults.  One tool I always use to reinforce what we are learning is Flocabulary's Educational Hip Hop videos, like this one:

The music, the visuals, and the challenge questions after each video serve as a unique springboard as we delve deeper into topics.

My children are also blessed to have an African History teacher who is a living textbook.  In a recent class we learned that African Americans were traditionally Republican voters until the Reconstruction Period, around 1912.  Soon after, there was a shift, and the majority of African Americans became solidly Democrat.

To make the class interesting, current events are always linked to the past.  One such class began with a list of numbers:


Curiously, the children looked on having no idea what these numbers symbolized.  We learned that after 500 years of African-American participation in the political process, those numbers represent our elected officials.  There are 435 elected members of the House of Representatives, and of that number there have only been 123 African-Americans.  There have been 100 Senators, but only 6 African-Americans.  And, of course, we all know that there has been only 1 African-American President of the United States.  My children also learned about the most notable African-Americans who had previously run for President of the United States: Shirley Chisolm, Ron Daniels, Jesse Jackson, Lenora Fulani, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, Dick Gregory and Doug Wilder.

This information prompted KingMan to ask, "what is the different between a Republican and a Democrat?" To begin this rather long conversation, I directed him to this Flocabulary video on the Political Parties.

In African History Class, my children also learn about other forms of governments around the world, as well as political parties in African countries, such as Burkino Faso and Guinee Bissau.  To test the children's understanding, we watched the Forms of Government Flocabulary video.  Somehow understanding is deeper when facts are put to music, especially Hip Hop.  Best of all, LionHeart, at age 6, can learn the forms of government too!

Flocabulary is a wonderful too that I use to introduce, reinforce and even simplify topics in history. 


No comments:

Post a Comment