I should probably start with some of what I already do in my classroom (for Social Studies):
1)I use the California History district mandated textbook.
2)We each keep a Book of Centuries, which some of the kids love and listed it as one of their favorite things we did this year, and some of the kids groan when I tell them to get it out.
3)We do Geography Fridays, using Wynn Kapit's geography coloring book, focusing on a different area of the world each month.
4)I read aloud biographies of historical figures that focus on admirable qualities, using the Valuetales series
5)Students do written narrations of some of the biographies - and they remember EVERYTHING!
But what about next year? (This year isn't even over - it ends Thursday for the kids, and Friday for the teachers - and I'm already thinking about next year. A couple of days ago, I received a BACK TO SCHOOL catalogue from a school supply store - in MAY!)
Next year, in addition to what I'm doing, I want to:
1)create and put up a simple timeline with maybe 15 key events (including "prehistory = before writing," when the automobile was invented, when the internet was available to the public, etc.) each printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 page with an image
2)supplement the district mandated textbook with life stories of key California figures (such as Levi Strauss here and here, Junipero Serra, William Mullholland, John Sutter, James Marshall, Biddy Mason, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo here and here and Mariano Vallejo), telling the story of California through people
3)to simplify lesson objectives to a)interest students so they won't forget, b)establish relations with the past, and c)focus on people's admirable actions and qualities
That's what I've got for now, but it's still only May (for a few more hours anyway)...