Classroom

I am a member of the history faculty at BHSEC Newark, part of the Bard Early College Network. Previously, I served as a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. In my teaching career, I have given courses in archaeology, anthropology, history, and ancient Mesoamerica. In addition, I give frequent public lectures to students and adult learners.

I make student participation an integral part of each of my courses. Not only does this increase enthusiasm for anthropology and archaeology, it helps students retain information as well. The city of Philadelphia offers many opportunities for field trips: my students have analyzed 18th and 19th century social structure during a visit to Woodlands Cemetery. They have made hypotheses about ancient Mesoamerican marketplaces on a trip to the 9th Street “Italian Market.” I have drawn extensively on the resources of the Penn Museum collections and galleries, incorporating ancient material culture into lesson plans. My students have ‘excavated’ a mock burial of real human remains and grave goods and studied cuneiform inscriptions over 3,000 years old. I supplement classroom instruction with a variety of other activities as well. Highlights include games and simulations to mimic the choices of ancient peoples, a staging of ancient plays like The Bacchae and the Maya drama Rabinal Achi, and the creation of Micronesian-style navigational charts to direct classmates through unfamiliar waters.

Students learn about early farming with the game

Students learn about early farming with my game “Natufians!”

Pacific navigation and migration: students build Micronesian-style stick charts

Pacific navigation and migration: students build Micronesian-style stick charts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes from Students:

“I liked the variety of teaching styles, from lectures, to discussions, to videos, to field trips.”

“Mesoamerican culture days are fun and help me understand the concepts. That Mesoamerican calendar activity you did with us really helped me understand the complicated system.”

“Your passion for your work and field was clearly evident in your teaching.”

“I was originally planning a double major in English and Cognitive Science, but now I’m positive English and Anthropology are for me. I’m thrilled I took your class and I’m thrilled about a major in the subject. High school counselors love to talk about ‘classes that will change your direction’—this was definitely one of them.”

 

Students conduct a mock-burial activity while I explain skeletal features

Students conduct a mock-burial activity while I explain skeletal features

 

A student replicates early African ceramics

A student replicates early African ceramics

 

Mesoamerican food and subsistence: a student cooks tortillas

Mesoamerican food and subsistence: a student cooks tortillas