When I think about my K-12 education, I get a little sad. Although I had several amazing teachers, I worry that the content and structure of my overall education was selected somewhat arbitrarily. My grade school and junior high school both adhered to a philosophy of broad domain curriculum design, but lessons tended to lack context.
As an educator, I always begin each unit by giving students an extremely broad overview that provides context for all upcoming lessons. I also work in themes: if we’re studying the civil war in “social studies,” we learn about science and literature from the 1860s. I often use a single book or story as the theme that extends to each domain of my teaching.
Recently, I’ve been inspired by a certain excellent student to create a unit focused on Sherlock Holmes. In addition to practicing literary analysis and creative writing, we will learn about Tesla, Edison, and Pasteur. We’re already discussing the effects of compulsory education in England, as well as the global impact of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. My older students can relate that war to contemporary Western military action in Afghanistan. My oldest students can even relate Victorian indecency laws to the current debate regarding “gay marriage!”
Because Dr. Watson doesn’t favor a particularly pithy style of writing, we’re using this charming book to familiarize ourselves with three of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories:
I’ll be sharing some of my lesson plans as we continue to explore the world of Sherlock Holmes.