Teach like a Conquistador

I wore a conquistador hat and had a sword when I taught about Spanish exploration and colonization in the new world.  When I taught 7th grade I wore my Lederhosen when teaching about German immigration to Texas.

Supporting Activities

I create activities packets that support the material we just learned in class that day.  I include maps, graphs, primary sources, and fun activities.  My goal is to break away from text book worksheets and create something that is simple but useful and effective.

Vocabulary Quiz

Students take open notes vocabulary quizzes after completing the vocabulary definitions.  Most often quizzes are online, created in Google Forms, and taken by students on their phone or other device.

Pre-Test Day

Students took a Test that I put together using 5th grade Unit tests.  It was all information that they should have learned from 5th grade.  I test them up front to see what they know and where they are at.

I then create cooperative learning groups based on students knowledge and abilities.

Cool Test

Students find out how cool they really are based on their ability to identify these really cool people.  

Vocabulary Activity

My Vocabulary activities go beyond just copying a definition or matching a definition to a word.  Vocabulary activities require students to demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of each term by determining which image provided best matches each vocabulary term.  Activities also require students to determine which vocabulary term best matches groups of words that are synonyms or are related to vocabulary terms.

Timeline Activity

​​In order to help students connect the chronological order of events in each unit we complete a Timeline activity in which students are required to research events and organize them in the correct order.

Map Activity

​​At the beginning of each unit we complete a map activity that clarifies the locations and geography that students need to learn and/or should have prior knowledge of.  Maps activities include labeling locations, drawing routes or boundaries, shading regions, and more.

STEAM Tipi Activity

Students were provided a set of items and told to work together in their group and construct a tipi like the Comanche would have built in the Great Plains region of Texas.  Students received no directions on how to complete the project but were allowed to use their resources to develop a plan.

Please explore my notes pages through the US History and Texas History tabs at the top of the page.

About You Poster

Students create a poster that will tell me who they are.  The poster should include their name but from that point they are free to include what ever they feel most appropriately reflects who they are.

Unit Preview Assignment

The first assignment students dive into in a unit is a student led investigation.  I create a unit preview which is based off of the unit test they will take at the end of the unit.  They are being generally exposed to each question on the unit test from the very first day.  Students may use what ever resources they choose to research these questions and discover the correct answers on their own.  They find the right answers in a way that works best for them and their learning style.  They may use the internet on their own devices, borrow a laptop from me, the good old text book is an option, also the best resource for them is the Unit Learning Goals that I also provide for them that day.  


About Mr. Brown

I spend a class period going through a power point of pictures that explain who I am and how I got to where I am today including lots of things that I like.  This includes my unique childhood growing up over seas.

First Day Getting to know you activites

To Know Who You Are and who you want to be

Mercantilism Paper Plane Activity

​​I like to have some sort of hook to get kids attention when they come in the room.  If I don't have an artifact or a prop I will have something on the screen that is funny or clever to start the class off in a fun way.

Getting Started 

I like to have some sort of hook to get kids attention when they come in the room.  If I don't have an artifact or a prop I will have something on the screen that is funny or clever to start the class off in a fun way.

Lecture and Notes

Most people in educational circles these days seem to fear the word lecture.  However any effective history teacher will tell you that you can't teach history with out telling the stories.

Notes are on my website and include far more than just blocks of text.  Notes include short videos, images, charts, and links to further resources all which reinforce the information being taught and make it far more interesting.

I break each set of notes up in to 10 or 15 minute sections over several days instead of spending an entire class or two on lecture and notes.  We will cover a small section of the notes over a certain topic then spend the rest of class reinforcing that idea through activities that I create.

Snowball Fight

Students all receive a piece of white copy paper.

On the paper they write their name and then something exciting they did over the summer.

Then we have a snowball fight for a few seconds and everyone picks up a paper ball.

Students read the information on the paper one at a time.  The person whose paper was just read always goes next until we have introduced all students.

God Gold Glory

For our lecture on Motivations behind European Exploration and Colonization of the New World we observed these artifacts at the start of class then speculated in our cooperative learning groups what they were and WHY I had them at the front of the room.


I always pre-teach vocabulary by having students define a list of vocabulary terms in their notes spiral.  This gives them the experience of reading and writing the definitions. They are also creating another resource that they can easily use on assignments and quizzes.  The vocabulary terms I choose are directly related to testable material.

Students also create Vocabulary Posters that include the vocabulary term, a definition in their own words, a sentence that correctly uses the word, and an illustration that explains the word.

Sometimes this activity is differentiated by providing a short definition that is specific to what the students need to learn.

Pre-Unit Class Discussion

On the first day of each unit I guide students through a discussion where they tell me what they predict we will learn about.  What they already know about the unit.  Also what they want to learn or are curious about the unit's subject matter.  Students usually impress me with their prior knowledge and by the end of class they list and discuss nearly every thing I need them to learn before we even get started.  Students that do not have a vast amount of prior knowledge are learning from their peers as well as myself during this activity.

Class Rules and Expectations

Students make their own syllabus in their note taking spiral.  We do this as for two reasons.  First they get some experience taking notes and following along as most of them have little exposure to that process.  Also Students are forced to read the syllabus related information instead of just cramming a handout in their binder never to be seen again.