The Russian Revolution is often viewed as a sudden, climactic event, culminating with the brutal assassination of Czar Nicholas II and his family. In reality, the revolution occurred in stages, with long periods of civil unrest, repression, and public protests. Ultimately acknowledged as a kind and religious man by those who knew him, Czar Nicholas was nonetheless an ineffectual leader and uninspired politician. His country in shambles, he retreated to his palaces and a life of unimagined luxury. To critics of the czar, the famous jeweled Easter eggs created for the Romanov family by Fabergé came to symbolize the monarchy in their opulence, privilege, and utter uselessness. Forced to abdicate his throne during the first part of the Revolution in February of 1917, Czar Nicholas and his family were gunned down later that year by Bolsheviks, thus definitively ending the imperial era in Russia and casting the country into civil war. Preferring style over substance, and completely out of step with the needs of their country, the Romanov story is ultimately a tragic one.
The Russian Revolution was a pivotal event not only in Russian history, but for the world at large as well. Decades later, the Bolsheviks morphed into the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which lasted until the late twentieth century and whose political philosophies still guide some countries today. This week, our focus is on the Russian Revolution and the end of Imperial Russia, and the dichotomy between two very different worlds.
This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org, focuses on resources to help your students learn about the Russian Revolution. Peggy’s Corner will discuss online tools and providers that can help you tackle this important subject with your students. Additional resources on the topic will be presented and discussed on the Gateway’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheGateway.org) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/Gatewaytoskills) pages.
Discussions will also continue on last week’s theme of the Energy and Force on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
Russian Imperial Eggs
Subjects: Art, World History
This lesson introduces young students to Imperial Russia in the early 20th century. Each Easter, Nicholas II, the last czar of the Russian empire, gave his wife and mother each splendid jeweled eggs. Students will learn about the royal family’s Easter tradition (but not the family’s ultimate fate), and create their own jeweled eggs crafted in the style of Fabergé. This lesson was produced by Crayola, makers of the ubiquitous art supplies. Crayola also offers lesson plans, an online certificate maker, and other resources for educators.
The Russian Revolution
Subjects: Geography, World History, Government
In this lesson, students explore the events leading up to the Russian Revolution using online video clips and activities. Students also research the geographical and cultural effects of Russia’s expansion, and discover why the country entered a near-regressionist state as it emerged from absolute monarchy to communist state. This lesson was produced by the Core Knowledge Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that develops curricula, provides professional development for educators, and publishes educational books and other materials.
The Faberge Eggs: Mementos of a Doomed Dynasty
Subjects: English, Art, World history
What to the things we treasure tell us about ourselves and the culture in which we live? The significance of the Fabergé eggs can be interpreted in several ways. They can be appreciated for their fine craftsmanship and for the family memories they represented to the Romanovs. On the other hand, their fragility and extravagance can symbolize that family's world of insular, imperial privilege. In this lesson, students will create an exhibition of items treasured by their families and reflect on the personal and cultural significance of these items. The exhibition process can be divided into Social Studies, Visual Arts and Language Arts lessons, either by working with the teachers of each of those subject areas or by teaching as one unit. This lesson was produced by PBS Treasures, a series of videos and lesson plans that examine the stories behind masterworks of art and nature.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.