Sunday, March 8, 2020

Guest Post

Dr DeFrance is the Superintendent of Eaton Rapids Public Schools.

Dr. DeFrance writes a weekly column for the local papers. I liked what he wrote this week and asked if I could repost it. He agreed.

Trading for the Best Hand of Freedom
I started buying and trading baseball cards when the New York Yankees seemed to win the World Series every year. So, when I got Mickey Mantle, there was no combination of cards that you could give me to pry him away. I remembered that card vividly last week as I started trading American Revolutionary Cards with students at Greyhound Intermediate.

I had been invited to Sarah Vogel’s 5th grade class to participate in describing who and what contributed to our success in winning the American Revolution

When starting this project the teacher and students considered the essential question: Why did the American colonists rebel against British rule? After conducting research on a variety of issues, events, and people, students created a set of trading cards  the Revolutionary War, based on their research.

Then, they created copies of their cards to trade with their classmates to create a deck of cards that best represents the Revolutionary War. This is the event in which I was invited to participate. Finally, they reflected on which cards they chose to create and include in their deck.

Sarah says that, “This is one of my favorite Summit Learning projects in History. It allows students to use choice along with creativity to extend their learning. This project was scaffolded to reach all of my students while also creating a high level of interest in the subject matter. The students loved being able to trade their cards with their classmates to create a strong deck of the Revolutionary War.”

As the project started, I was dealt a hand of Boston: Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party, and the Boston Stamp Act of 1765. I memorized the rules: you cannot end up with the cards you start with and you must have one issue, one person, and one event that best described America’s success. Right away, an eager young man wanted to trade me for George Washington. What a coup! I acted coy and then grabbed the card - I have the Mickey Mantle of the American Revolution.

Boys and girls moved quickly and decisively to get their best lineup. I got a little more benevolent toward the end as some ended up with two of a category and I traded to help them out. However, with memories of the elusive Mickey Mantle, I stubbornly hung onto the first President. I ended up with these three cards: George, the Loyalist as an issue, and the Townsend Acts as the event.

I left as the students worked on their paper stating why their three cards best portrayed why we won the Revolution. I smiled as one young woman said the class was glad that I came. If they only knew  about Mickey Mantle! I promise to behave a little better if I am invited back next year.

Note from the editor: Somebody once told me that they enjoyed shopping because it satisfied their primal need to "forage". I think this project scratches the same itch.

One of the things I liked about this project is that the student research seems less vulnerable to the revisionism that sneaks into textbooks. I bet there wasn't a single card that mentioned the cis-hetero, Patriarchy as a cause of the Revolutionary War.

The pictures that were in the original article were not included because I don't put pictures of kids on the internet.


  1. That is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It reminds me of a teacher that used to call in to Bill Bennett and he had a March Madness of American Heroes.
    The kids had to defend there choice through the elimination.
    Thanks for posting it.

  2. IMO, the two most essential Presidents to our country are George Washington and Donald Trump. Washington because without him we would never have had a country, and Trump because we had lost our country and we are now getting it back.

  3. We need to clone that man enough that every school system has one of him.


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