Aaron Toler has been a Social Studies teacher in Oklahoma for over 15 years. During this time he has taught World History, U.S. History, Native American History, Military History, and Modern History. He has been awarded Middle School Teacher of the Year twice as well as District Teacher of the Year once. He holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Nazarene University and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2012. His philosophy in his classroom is “Make History Fun.” He uses a number of different resources to teach his students about history. His Constituting America lesson “Little Jemmy is Missing” is an interactive escape room lesson where the students must find “Little Jemmy” a.k.a. James Madison and the missing Constitution. He also enjoys incorporating debates, songs, and skits to bring history to life for his students. His historical themed Valentines Day Cards were featured on “The Ellen” show to celebrate Presidents Day. You can see more of his resources on his website www.makehistory.fun and follow him on Social Media @MakeHistoryFun
Aaron and his wife Lauren (who is also a teacher) have three children Lila, Will, and Hayes.
Our Interview With Adam
Was this the first time you entered the contest?
This was the first time I had entered the contest!
How did you hear about the contest?
I heard about the contest from Jacob and Emily Vanderwerken who came to speak to my 8th graders on Constitution Day.
What inspired your work?
I am always looking for ways to draw my students into the lessons, so I created this fictional story where the “Father of the Constitution” James Madison had been captured by King George III and it was up to them to try and save the Founding Father and the country! I used the book “Our Constitution Rocks” by Juliette Turner to help me with my research!
What did you learn while creating your entry?
While creating my entry I had to do a lot of research to try and make it as kid friendly as possible. I learned a ton of information about the 7 Articles of the Constitution specifically
How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
In addition to my job as a middle school history teacher I also run a business called Make History Fun and I am active with it on Instagram and Facebook spreading information and ideas teachers can use in their classrooms. My whole goal is to try and help teachers make history fun for their students. WIth this account I plan to continue sharing information about the importance of learning about the Constitution and the rights of American citizens.
How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
Many of my friends are big fans of history and enjoy having historical conversations about the government and the Constitution!
What do you love about U.S History and the forming of our government?
I love learning about the people who created our country and showing my students that these were actually real people.
Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would love to visit colonial Williamsburg!
Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
I am a big fan of John Adams and think his life was incredible. He played such a large part in the creation of the country and also was a part of sustaining it. So many great lessons can be taught by using his life as an example. The way he defended the soldiers in the Boston Massacre when it would have been very unpopular to do so. The feud and then eventual reconciliation between Thomas Jefferson and himself.
Who is your greatest role model?
My parents and my wife are my biggest role models. They always seem to have the right words to say and have been a constant encouragement to me.
What in your life are you most passionate about?
I am the most passionate about my wife and 3 kids.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time with my family. My wife is also a teacher which means every time we have a break we try and do something together.
What are your plans for the future?
In the future I plan to continue teaching middle school history and trying to make history fun for students.
If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
As a teacher, education is obviously a very important part of my life. I would want to encourage students to be learners, to ask questions, and listen to learn rather than listen to respond.
Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution is still relevant today because the ideas that it was created with still remain. The system of checks and balances and separation of powers are crucial in ensuring that no singular person or group can dominate the government.