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Substitute Teacher Ideas: What Happened During April?

[caption id="attachment_707" align="left" width="300"]San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Photo credit: davidyuweb / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0[/caption]

So here it is April, the school year is almost over and you have just about used up all your best substitute teacher ideas. What to do? The answer is right there in front of you. Turns out April has been an exceedingly fruitful month through the years for events capable of being turned into assignments.

Mr. Howard and the Dirty Little Coward

The year was 1882 and April in Missouri didn't seem to be starting out as the last that Jesse James would live to see. While living quietly at home under his non-bank robbing nom de plum Mr. Howard, Jesse James picked probably the worst moment in history to dust off a framed picture. The result was a bullet to the back of his head from Bob Ford. April 3, 1882 launched a legacy that provides multiple teaching possibilities.

The Long Road Winds to an End

On April 9, 1970 the business association known as the Beatles came to an official end. Who could possibly have guessed that the children of the band's fans who were just children themselves that April would one day be standing in front of television sets bringing the Fab Four back to life with a courtesy of some futuristic invention called Beatles Rock Band for PlayStation? That April day in 1970 was the day that Paul McCartney issued a writ to the High Court looking to dissolve the official business partnership that is better known simply as The Beatles. Perhaps more than any other of the days so described, April 9, 1970 can most effectively be termed the day the 1960s ended.

You May Know Him Better as Daniel Day Lewis

April is arguably the single most important month in American history if judged by the events of the 14th and 15th of 1865. John Wilkes Booth took his small derringer into Ford's Theater on the night of the April 14th and by the next day Pres. Abraham Lincoln was dead.  An interesting substitute teacher idea: a what if creative writing assignment on the topic of what might have happened if Lincoln had lived.

Shake, Rattle and Roll!

The man considered the greatest opera singer of his age and the man many considered the greatest actor of his era both found themselves in San Francisco on April 18, 1906 for completely unrelated reasons. Both John Barrymore and Enrico Caruso would later have stories to tell of being caught by surprised by the massive earthquake that very nearly destroyed the city by the bay.

April in San Francisco...Again

Just three decades after that earthquake did its best to wipe San Francisco off the map, the Golden Gate Bridge was completed. April 19, 1937 is the date that changed how every bridge ever built in its wake would be viewed. Bridges built since that April day of completion are either less beautiful than the Golden Gate or as beautiful.

There is another alternative, of course. And you could even open that one up for debate as part of your lesson: is the Golden Gate Bridge the most beautiful man-made structure ever made?

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