This historical hoodies activity is a really fun way for students to show what they know about famous historical figures, time periods, and/or major events in history. After learning about the 3,000 year history of hoodies and the different elements that are used to design them, students design their own hoodies based on what they’ve learned about their chosen person or topic. In this blog post, I’ll tell you all about how to use this activity in your own classroom. If you’re short on time and just looking for a no-prep, done-for-you activity, feel free to check out all the hoodies in my store!
By the way, if you’re not comfortable shopping on my website, all of the hoodies are also available on TpT!
What makes historical hoodies the perfect activity for social studies?
Engagement and Creativity = More Learning
Historical hoodies allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in a meaningful and fun way. Students have to really think about the images, colors, patterns, and text they choose to represent their famous historical figure or other topic because they also have to justify their choices through a writing assignment or presentation.
The activity also allows students to express their creativity. Not only is designing and coloring the hoodies super fun, but students also remember more when they have the opportunity to mix language and imagery.
One of my favorite parts of this historical hoodies activity is that it offers cross-curricular opportunities too. You can integrate social studies and language arts with any of the sets, but there are opportunities for using the hoodies in other subjects too. For example, these scientists and inventors hoodies are perfect for science or STEM classes. And these famous artists hoodies are excellent for incorporating art into your classroom. Students can even design historical hoodies for fictional characters in these Greek mythology and Roman mythology sets.
Perfect for Holidays and Heritage Months
I love using these design a hoodie projects for holiday months like Women’s History Month in March. I put together a special collection of diverse women who have contributed to the world in various ways, and this assignment is a perfect way for students to learn about them and show what they know. There is also a Women in STEAM activity that works well in March too!
Creative Way to Review or Assess
Finally, this historical hoodies activity makes a great end of year review activity or even an alternative assessment. It’s a fun way to bring a little variety into the ways students can demonstrate their understanding. Unlike a summary or a boring report, the activity requires students to move beyond basic comprehension into deeper thinking about their historical figure or topic as they choose the images, colors, patterns, and text that best represent them.
What are the steps for using historical hoodies in your classroom?
Your students have probably never designed a historical hoodie before, so it’s important to provide structure and examples as you introduce the activity. Here are the steps I recommend for ensuring that your students get the most out of this project.
1. Discuss the History of Hoodies
I like to introduce the activity by having students learn about the 3, 000 year history of hoodies and how they became so popular. Each historical hoodie set I created comes with a 2-page article, a PowerPoint presentation, and short video that can be used to introduce facts about when hooded garments were first worn, how they rose in popularity, and even controversies surrounding hoodies throughout history.
2. Introduce Common Design Elements
After students learn a little about the history of hoodies, it’s time to talk about the different elements that go into hoodie design. We talk about common features such as drawstrings and marsupial pockets, as well as images, colors, patterns, and text. I also show several examples of both everyday and more unique hoodies.
For colors, I also like to provide a basic introduction to color psychology as we talk about how certain colors can be used to represent different feelings, moods, and behaviors. This allows students to think about which colors represent certain personality traits and the ones that would fit best with their historical figures. If you’re having students create hoodies about a specific time period or major historical event, they could also use colors to represent these. For example, a hoodie about the U.S. Civil War might feature red for blood, black to represent death, and blue and gray to represent the two sides.
3. Show Examples and Provide Directions
Showing examples is definitely a necessary step to get students thinking about the different ways they can design their hoodies. In the ones I created, I included 17 different examples so there would always be a variety to choose from. Sometimes students’ creativity is sparked by seeing what others have done. But I also don’t want them to just copy what they see.
Multiple Hoodie Templates
I’m a big believer in student choice, so I like to let students choose which historical figure they want to design a hoodie for, and I also like to provide two different options for hoodie templates. Some students will thrive with a blank canvas while others will benefit from having a little structure.
Those who are less artistically inclined may prefer using the hoodie that already features some clip art on it and has specific sections they can work within. I like to provide multiple options so students can decide which one works best for them. Students who are hesitant to draw might benefit from knowing that artistic skills will not factor into their grade for the assignment. In the sets I created, there are both black and white and color versions of each hoodie.
Structure & Requirements
Deciding how much structure you want to provide is also an excellent differentiation opportunity when it comes to providing directions and requirements for the activity. You might like to give students a lot of freedom when it comes to what to include on their hoodies, or you might want to have some specific requirements instead. For example, you could require any combination of these elements if your students are designing a hoodie for a specific person:
- at least two colors representing personality traits of the person
- a quote
- lifespan or other important dates
- symbol representing where they’re from
- connection to a major historical event
If your students are designing a hoodie for a time period or specific historical event, some required elements could include:
- date when the event took place
- nickname for the era
- location of the event
- flags of any states or countries involved
- a pop culture reference
- people involved in the event
Graphic organizers can be really helpful for students as they’re preparing to design. I give my students a generic biography template they can use to take notes about the person they’re designing for. I also give them a separate graphic organizer they can use to take notes about the colors, text, symbols, etc. they will use on their hoodies.
One requirement I definitely recommend no matter if you’re designing for people or another topic is that students should strive to be historically and culturally accurate when adding symbols, patterns, and text to their hoodies.
4. Students Design Their Historical Hoodies
One thing I love about this activity is that it can be used to build new knowledge or to review material you’ve already covered. You can have students design hoodies for people you’ve already studied in class, or they can research a new historical figure or event they might not know much about. Before students actually begin work on the hoodie, I recommend having them take a few notes about their person. They can write down some important life events, brainstorm some potential colors to represent personality traits, and think about what symbols and patterns to include that would represent different facts, ideas, and historical events related to their figures or other topics.
5. Students Share Their Hoodies + Rationale Behind Their Decisions
In order to get the most out of the hoodies activity, students should be given the opportunity to share their thinking behind the symbols, text, and colors they chose and why each one makes sense for their historical figure or topic. They can do this through writing, creating a short video, sharing and discussing with a partner or small group, or giving a whole-class presentation. Not only does this help solidify their own thinking about their topic of study, but they can also learn more about their classmates’ topics as well!
6. Display the Hoodies
In the spirit of learning from one another, I think displaying students’ work is an excellent idea. The hoodies are super eye-catching, and students will love seeing one another’s work. Since this is such a cute activity, the hoodies also make excellent bulletin board displays, classroom door decorations, and fun, festive trimming for special events like open houses or family nights. Some teachers have chosen to hang them on clotheslines and they look super cute!
You might also consider doing a gallery walk where students can take turns viewing hoodies and asking questions about them. Another fun idea is to have students remove the names of their historical figures and design them in secret. Then, once they’re displayed, everyone can guess who the historical figure is that each hoodie belongs to. You could even number each hoodie and let students compete to see who can guess the most historical figures correctly. What an awesome way to review all of the people you’ve studied so far this year!
If you try this activity in your own classroom, I would absolutely LOVE to hear about it. Please feel free to tag me on instragram (@drloftinslearningemporium), share photos via my Facebook page, or just tell me all about it in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you love the sound of this activity but don’t have time to research the history of hoodies, create your own student directions, make hoodie templates, etc., I’ve made it super easy for you by creating several no-prep, done-for-you sets featuring hundreds of diverse historical figures, major time periods, and specific events in history. Each people set comes with two different hoodie templates (black & white and color options included), a 2-page article about the history of hoodies, student directions and design tips (including information about color psychology), an editable PowerPoint about the history of hoodies that can be used instead of the article, a short video about the history of hoodies that could be used in conjunction with or to replace the other materials, 17 different examples to share with your students, and teacher tips. I’ve also included a set of hoodies for major time periods and historical events as a bonus in each people set. Each set also includes blank hoodie templates just in case you want to incorporate a historical figure or other topic that I did not include. If you’re looking for a particular historical figure, you can also always email me (email@example.com) and let me know who you would like to see included. I will do my best to make it happen!
Here are all of the historical hoodie sets I currently have in my store:
- Historical Hoodies Bundle (This includes all of the sets below at a discounted price, plus any sets I might be adding in the future!)
- U.S. History
- World History
- Ancient Civilizations
- Women’s History
- Women in STEAM
- LGBTQ+ History
- Scientists and Inventors
- Roman Mythology
- Greek Mythology
- Modern History Figures
- U.S. Presidents
- Famous Canadians
Once again, I would LOVE to hear about your experiences with this activity. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to reach out!