We have just finished a very short but sweet unit in PLP. I’m sure most of you have heard the song We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Well that was what we based this unit on, kinda. This unit was about significant events in history. The lyrics to the Billy Joel song are all significant people and events from 1949 to 1989. Our task for this unit was to pick one of these people or events and create an artifact about them and why they are significant, then we had to present it to the class. The fun part about this project was that we had complete freedom. We even got to come up with our driving question. I chose Walter Winchell as my significant person and my driving question was, “How did the introduction of gossip into the news affect the image of celebrities and politicians in the 20th century and today?”

As with every unit, we had a couple of curricular competencies we had to show through this project. The curricular competencies for this unit were historical significance and communication. To understand historical significance we had to look into factors of significance and figure which of those factors make our person significant. There are 5 main categories that can help figure out if something is historically significant. Those categories are importance, profundity, quantity, durability, and relevance. For something to be historically significant it has to be something that has affected us today or something that we still talk about. I felt like quantity and durability made Walter Winchell significant because he affected millions of people and he created something that is still a part of society today. I found that when most of my classmates talked about what makes their person or event significant, they focused on durability and I think that durability is the most important factor something has to have for it to be historically significant.

To show communication we had to clearly show our ideas and thoughts in our artifact and in our presentation. We could choose anyway to do this we wanted. I chose to make a newspaper. I chose to share my ideas in an non-opinionated way and I tried to get as many of my thoughts and ideas down as possible. In my presentation I chose to communicate my thoughts in a more fun way by only focusing on the interesting and important details. I spoke to my class and had images on the screen behind me to support my thoughts.

Walter Winchell was a very popular gossip columnist, so I thought it would be cool if I made my own newspaper about him. In my newspaper I included information about gossip, details about Walter, I had own of his gossip columns, and I made my own gossip column in his style. I also had the answer to my driving question in my newspaper. I had a lot of fun making the newspaper. I really fell in love with my topic and I enjoyed writing about it. I got to use my old book creator skills and improve on my writing skills. I also feel like my artifact was creative and I am very proud of it.

When I had to present in front of the class I was scared and excited. I made a key note to help my presentation be more exciting. I had rehearsed my presentation many times before and I felt confident in myself when I started. I made sure to make eye contact with my audience and speak with a clear voice. I had a lot of fun presenting and I hope everyone enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed working on this project. I loved that it was an individual project and that I had complete freedom over what I could do. I think it was fun getting to pick my topic because I could choose something I was interested in, which made me want to make my project great. It was also a great way to learn about history and what makes an event significant. Seeing everyone’s presentations was like getting 16 mini history lessons and they were all so interesting. I had a great time doing this unit and I’m excited for the next one.

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