Teaching Portfolio

Truth is stranger than fiction. History is a million and one tales exploring the mechanisms of the human experience. It is a tome of all genres, touching every other subject, weaving intimate webs of existence. It is for this reason I want to teach history. The opportunity to share stories and inspire eager ears is golden.

My main focus, both in this class and in my studies, is socio-cultural American history. In such a relatively short time, this country has gone through many incarnations. Globally, there are few places the American Empire has not touched. I have had the opportunity in this class to explore multiple facets of American history and the consequences behind the actions of the evolving country.

I began my portfolio in 1917 with the ‘Spanish Flu’ epidemic. I explored similarities to the current Covid-Pandemic and the things Americans both did and did not learn. There are many things that 2020 U.S.A. could have learned from its history with pandemics, but the past was largely ignored and forgotten.

From here, we step back a few centuries in time to the first thanksgiving. We examine ways in which the early settlers of what was to become the United States and the ideals these people carried with them. Racism, Sexism, Violence are all examined in this post as we examine the ideas behind ‘Manifest Destiny.’

After examining some of the origins behind American exceptionalism, we return to the 20th century with sexist advertisements of the 1950’s and 60’s. These ads and many more like them express violence and denigration towards women. It outlines clearly what a woman should be and the expectations of how and why they should behave. These attitudes continue to permeate American Society and can be seen throughout or society.

Speaking of the 50’s and 60’s, the United States would find itself in one of the messiest conflicts until this point in history: The Vietnam War. In this activity, I was able to deep dive into the American psyche through a camera lense. The mood of the country both during and after the war is highlighted in a series of films showing the evolution of the shifting perceptions within the country, and the consequences behind these events.

This leads me into my final project. A subject I find fascinating. The ultimate (and literal) death of the revolutionary dreams of the 60’s. In the late 70’s, a group of Americans fled to a Jungles in South America with dreams of creating a society equal among race, class, and gender. The social experiment of Jonestown claimed the lived of over 900 people, most of whom left the United States looking for a better life for themselves and their families. This movement is fascinating to me because it shows the side of history that is rarely taught in classrooms. It tells the dark tale of what happens when Americans feel their country has failed them.

As we move into an America more divisive than ever, studying the actions of human beings hopefully will teach us to remember the past and learn from it. Examining these historical events allows the learner to see life from the ground up, instead of the other way around. It looks at people and their response to events. I loved being able to further explore these stories and travel through time to see through the eyes of Americans. I wish to share this interest and these passions with students. By providing intersting and relevant source materials, history can come alive. It becomes real. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all, and how better to discover it than through the eyes of its people.

History Lessons Portfolio

By Patrick Boldt

Featured image see source.

I have learned that the classroom is a place of partnership between the learner and the instructor; between protege and mentor; between student and teacher. My time at the University of Portland has provided me with foundational knowledge on how to serve my community as a leader within the realm of education. The first step to serving as a leader is to provide opportunities for growth among those I strive to support. I have to create lifelong learners, collaborate workers and critical thinkers among my students.

This portfolio of mine encompassed the types of material that I would want to expose my students to as part of a social studies curriculum. Admittedly, I was exposed to subject matter that I would not have anticipated in August. However, the value of these materials has become evident nonetheless and their worth is demonstrated by how they manage to promote culturally responsive teaching and a deeper analysis of history. I decided to focus on examining subjects that I found particularly exciting, especially when it came to examining historical topics from the 20th century and onwards. I followed my calling to investigate subjects that I was less familiar with while also dissecting subjects I was passionate for so as to make these topics invigorating for future students. For each of the lessons and topics I found I received peer feedback that I used to make my subsequent posts stronger and more intricate.

This class exposed me to the types of activities I could use to foster an exciting classroom environment for the students I will be teaching. Across secondary education, I am familiar with the steps I can take to help my students critically engage with material across the curriculum for a history class. Furthermore, I would like to encourage my students to take this knowledge outside the classroom so that they can engage with the discussion of real-world phenomena. Furthermore, they could be prepared to ask questions tied to current politics so that they can demonstrate merit as individuals that are prepared to enter the real world. History is about forming connections between the past and the present and it is precisely this ideal that I want my students to take to heart.

The Art of Teaching

“When students dive headlong into writing poetry, when they share the living, beating heart of their own words, when they hear the pulse of joy and rage from their classmates, they are hooked”

Linda Christensen & Dyan Watson – Rhythm & Resistance

The words above may not represent the work of a social studies teacher, but they do get at the heart of what it means to teach. It is about imparting, discovering, and sharing the passions we have in the classroom, both students and teachers alike. When we are able to hitch our feelings of joy to the practice of learning astounding things are possible.

Over the weeks spent in this Social Studies Ed Methods course, I’ve been given the opportunity to explore my passions and interests in history and civics. Each assignment was open to my own interpretation and what ever material I wanted to pursue was valid. This virtual portfolio demonstrates the growth I’ve made over the course of this semester as well as my own interests within Social Studies. Many of my posts focused on the stories of oppressed people and minorities.

Additionally here are the posts where I focused on my other interests: German History, Western Expansion, the Political Divide in American Politics, and the Cold War.

Portfolio Showcase

Featured Image Source

I’ve been told there is no widespread, accepted recipe to becoming an effective teacher (especially that of a social sciences teacher). My time in graduate school at University of Portland has allowed me to better understand this concept, and has provided me with an opportunity to start building my own foundation for prioritizing my values as an educator.

The portfolio that I’ve created throughout my social studies methods course prompted my growth in ways that were less expected at the start of the semester. This course allowed me to investigate topics that I am thoroughly interested in; to academically venture toward whatever it was I felt called to. A majority of the assignments were tied to teaching history in one way or another. After assignments/lessons were submitted, feedback was given from my professor and my peers on such topics. In this way, my assignment submissions were different from other courses, in that, they felt less based on theory and principle and were more pragmatic toward my development as a social studies teacher.

Overall, this class supported my ability to effectively operate as a middle school social studies teacher; to prompt my students to think like historians and to prepare them to make informed decisions while participating in our ever-changing democratic society. The following activities/lessons highlight the work I’ve designed throughout this course.

To begin, I’d like to highlight a set of lessons/activities that were encouraged by my fascination with the American Frontier and the United States’ expansion throughout North America based on 19th century history topics.

Using Google Forms, I designed a formative assessment which was based on topics associated with the ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

Using data from the 1940 census and the United States’ Home Owners Loan Corporation redlining maps, I investigated the likelihood that my grandparent’s would have been approved to establish residence in North Portland during the 1950s.

I reflected on an effective experience that I had as a student in my high school US government class.

Finally, I want to highlight a mock lesson that I taught to my class which investigates the 1960s Chicano Movement and its relationship with the Black Civil Rights Movement.