With all due respect to those who taught me when I was a kid, those methods are not appropriate for the world in which we live. Is it important for a student to know the third emperor of the Roman Empire? No. They will survive quite nicely without knowing that fact. Why, then, do we "teach" it? If something is "Google-able" then do we need to teach it in class? Most kids today walk around with a device that has more computing power than the first rocket to the moon had and can, if given thirty seconds, look up those answers. So what do we do?
Somehow, we must use the stories of history as a backdrop for kids finding their place in the world today. After all, why should kids care about what happened hundreds or thousands of years ago? What is the relevance to their lives? In some cases, the kids' natural curiosity will carry them through a unit of study, but often, it does not. Making our content relevant to the students' lives is essential. If students can "own" the content because it is important and relevant to their lives, then they will remember it. Therein lies the challenge for me.