LODI, CA - There's an old saying, "You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been."
For 14 years, Marco Marciasini has made that phrase come to life in his history, government and economic classes at Lodi High School. "The reason I became a teacher was a great love of government, economics and U.S. history," explained Marciasini. "I got a lot of that from my dad who grew up during World War II and he would always tell us about it."
One class period, Marciasini, who's known as "March" to his students, has his kids working on a mythical society known as the Castaway Islands. Each group of students establishes its own rules and regulations. Students also decide what kind of government they're going to use.
"They usually have their government take over by using force or they con the constituents into following the leader," Marciasini said. Many others decide they want to have a king or queen.
Making their new society personal helps students remember lessons, according to Marciasini. "Anytime you can tie the lesson directly to the knowledge they already have, it's a building block," he said.
Marciasini also takes students on field trips to real-life town hall meetings. They also go to the State Capitol building. "It's a beautiful building and most of them have never been there before so they're very intrigued with it and what's going on inside," said Marciasini.
Marciasini is a role model for students. He's a runner and competitions he participates in serve as examples of perseverance. Pointing to a photo on his bulletin board, he said, "This is a 199-mile relay team. We all do about three legs as we run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.
Marciasini said if his students learn nothing else, he hopes they remember, "You have to know what your rights are to protect yourself and appreciate the government you do have."
By Karen Massie, firstname.lastname@example.org