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Ian Rusten

Living History in Film

History is a collection of stories--stories that tell of events big and small.  In history class, we often look at the macro story, the big picture. We might look at WWI: the causes, the effects, the battles, and the political, social, and economic costs and gains. However, what is frequently lost is the story of the 18-year-old boy, aching with homesickness and overwhelmed by his first steps outside of his small hometown, sent to fight a war that no one really understands.

Why Do We Study History?

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey

Why history? Is the past actually relevant to today? Why do we spend so much time in middle and high school studying history? Some students see history as a boring compilation of dates, events, and dead people, even a "brain drain" on their already taxed growing minds. Why should we need to understand what happened in the past? Isn’t the future what is really important?

Discovering History through Biography

As Marian Wright Edeleman said, “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.”

History has been shaped and molded by many figures from the past and present. Some of these people are controversial and their impact has not always been seen as positive, however, their actions have left a deep mark on history. To learn more about these figures, you can read the autobiographies and biographies suggested below.

Notable Student Success Stories: Ian Rusten

I taught at a very large public school for a number of years.  I had about 34 students in each class, which makes it very challenging to provide each student with the individual attention and support they deserve. Then I became a teacher at The Beekman School. What a change it has been! I teach in a small townhouse setting with small class sizes that allow me to tailor the lessons to my student’s interests. The largest classes at Beekman have 9 or 10 students. As a result, I can provide each of my students with individualized attention.

A Summer Challenge: Let Your Voice Ring Out: Writing a Persuasive Piece Today.

In the age of selfies and 140 character social media posts, is the art of persuasive oration dead? Can a hashtag win the 2016 election? Do we want more than a soundbite? Sure, we can state our opinion, “I like (particular candidate),” but do we remember how to provide a reason for our claim and how to back up that claim with relevant evidence?

A Decade in Film and Literature: The 1880s

With spring break just around the corner, I couldn’t help but think about how quickly the year is passing by. How I wish we would spend weeks on each era of American history digging deep into the cultural, social, and everyday lives of Americans! But alas, we must march on.  For those that wish to use some free time to gain more in-depth knowledge of American history, focus on any decade from the past and you will likely find films, art, and novels are just a click away.

Summertime Viewing: 5 Great Historical Dramas

Summer, with its long, hot, unstructured days full of internships or jobs, trips to the museum, swimming, hikes, bike rides, books, television and films is right around the corner. What a great opportunity to watch some movies that capture key moments in American History! The following list highlights some of my favorite historical films that provide great insight into historical figures and present some inspiring life lessons.

5 Great and Effective Study Tips

As a teacher, I am obliged to give exams regularly.  But, I recognize that learning how to study for an exam is no easy task. Here are 5 key S.T.U.D.Y. tips to keep in mind when preparing for a test, however big or small. 

Sleep

Does the all-nighter really work? Can you cram a unit’s worth of material into your brain the night before an exam? No, and in fact, it will often backfire. Pulling an all-nighter will defeat the purpose of studying when you have no energy to think the next day.

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