New Approaches to Old Cold War Lesson Plans

Published: 22nd August 2008
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In regards to Cold War lesson plans, what has worked for students in previous decades does not necessarily work for the students of today. These days, the youth have so much stimulation, which is mostly comprised of distractions that stem from captivating technology--video games, cell phones, TVs, computers, etc.--that saturate the mind, rendering it numb to the low tech media (ie., textbooks and lectures.) Teachers, I hate to break it to you, but you may have to step up your game if you haven't already. There is really no room for "boring" in your U.S. history lesson plans. If you're relying on the textbook-guided lecture to impart the information your students need, it's no wonder they're not showing the excitement or the grades that you had hoped for. The best move you can make is incorporating the technology that they love so much into your classroom and use multimedia to present the material outlined in your World War II lesson plans.

Until a few years ago, I was still depending heavily on textbooks as the main teaching instrument for my U.S. history lesson plans. I knew that I was a good teacher, my students seem to like me well enough...but something was missing. Their grades weren't as good as they could be, and I felt like they were bored most of the time. In response to this horrible realization, I decided to talk to my students about what they liked and didn't like about the teaching methods I was using. I then surveyed them about their personal learning styles. I was amazed at everything I learned just from asking for feedback. After that, I knew what changes had to be made. Ultimately, I found out that they all loved me as a teacher, they just wanted me to present information in different ways.

From that point on, my classes have been totally different, along with the way I structure my U.S. history lesson plans. Now I do three, four, sometimes five different activities in each class, using different approaches. Don't get me wrong, there is still textbook time, but I find if we use it in short bursts, it can actually be a welcome change from all the interactive activities. The kids also enjoy PowerPoint slides, especially when it comes to presenting the notes from my Cold War lesson plans, because it gives them a visual aid to accompany the notes they're taking. When they're not divided into groups, or interacting as one big group, I like to use PowerPoint presentations to get across important points the students will have to know for tests.

When other teachers ask me where I get, say for example, my World War II lesson plans that come in multimedia packages, I let them in on a little secret--I purchase them online, ready to present! You can actually get just about all the U.S. history lesson plans you could ever need in PowerPoint form online, although you wouldn't want to use them all the time. These packets are shipped right to your door, with not only PowerPoint slides, but also worksheets, games, quizzes, charts, artwork, maps, videos, photos and lots of other stuff. These are great to have in your classroom, especially when you need to put the teaching on auto-pilot for a little while.

Written by Mel Bryson. MultiMedia Learning LLC provides us history lesson plans, cold war lesson plans and world war ii lesson plans through their unique PowerPoint® Presentation software. Students learn history through classroom social studies games and engaging technology. Learn more at .

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