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Posts from the ‘nche’ Category

A framework for teaching American slavery – from Teaching Tolerance

After a quick six hour visit to the the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture yesterday, it just made sense to stop in at the #NCHE2019 session by Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance. Maureen shared Teaching Tolerance resources that can help you effectively teach issues surrounding the history of slavery in the United States.

“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.”

James Baldwin
Black English: A Dishonest Argument

Maureen started by sharing that most of our students leave high school without an adequate understanding of the role slavery played in the development of the United States – or how its legacies still influence us today.

Slavery’s long reach continues into the present day. The persistent and wide socioeconomic and legal disparities that African Americans face today and the backlash that seems to follow every African-American advancement trace their roots to slavery and its aftermath. If we are to understand the United State and the world today, we must understand slavery’s history and continuing impact.

Unfortunately, research conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017 shows that our schools are failing to teach the hard history of African enslavement. They surveyed U.S. high school seniors and social studies teachers, analyzed a selection of state content standards, and reviewed 10 popular U.S. history textbooks. The research indicates that: Read more

#nche2016: Using the story of Angel Island to build elementary historical thinking skills

One of the cool things that is happening around the country is that more and more elementary classrooms are focusing on integrating history into their instruction. But there are always questions about what this can look like. During this session, Lisa Hutton from California State University, Dominguez Hills shared some ideas of things teachers can do to support historical thinking skills with grade school kids.

The idea? Use foundational knowledge / specific historical events to build the historical thinking and literacy skills. She used the engaging and powerful story of Pacific and Asian immigrants during the early 1900s who transitioned through Angel Island off the coast of California.

Lisa started with her historical inquiry process model: Read more

#nche2016: Elementary history instruction and why we should care

Second session here at #nche2016.

Taking Back Elementary Education: Advocating for History to Improve Reading Comprehension by David Klemm. Great topic. Something we need to be talking about. But remember folks that it’s still just 8:00 in the am.

Basic idea is that reading in context is huge. He started by sharing an excerpt about baseball as an example. Read more

Up with the birds (and Elliott West) at #nche2016

Dang. These NCHE folks are serious.

It’s 6:45 – that’s am – and we’re already deep into it. I love the histories but a 7:00 start? But if there’s anyone I would roll out for at 7:00 am, it would be Elliott West. I love this guy. History stud.

The Contested Plains. The Essential West. The Last Indian War.

So I am as pumped as I can be this early in the morning. He starts off by addressing the audience as “we hardy few.” So true.

And continues with a question: Read more

NCHE Day Two – Common Core and historical thinking

Bruce Lesh, of Why Won’t You Just Tell Us the Answer fame, shared a bit this afternoon on how his class does history and how those practices align with the Common Core.

Reading standards

The Common Core asks our students to read critically, examine documents, ask questions of those documents, use a variety of documents, and to develop literacy skills that let them read effectively

Bruce suggests that most good history teachers have been doing this sort of “common core” stuff forever. We ask kids to look at:

  • the text
    What is visible? What info is provided by the source?
  • the context
    What else was going on during this period? How does this help explain the document?
  • the subtext
    What is happening between the lines? Who’s author / Audience / Purpose?

Sam Wineburg suggests the same thing when he describes:

  • Sourcing: Think about a document’s author and its creation.
  • Contextualizing: Situate the document and its events in time and place
  • Close reading: Carefully consider what the document says and the language used to say it.
  • Using Background Knowledge: Use historical information and knowledge to read and understand the document.
  • Reading the Silences: Identify what has been left out or is missing from the document by asking questions of its account.
  • Corroborating: Ask questions about important details across multiple sources to determine points of agreement and disagreement.

Writing standards

The Common Core asks our students to write arguments on discipline specific texts, support opinions with evidence, apple domain specific vocabulary, compose arguments / opinions, and to create informational and narrative text.

The things that drive Bruce

The idea that:

  • Historians ask questions that frame a problem for them to solve
  • Historians gather and asks questions of a variety of sources
  • History Lab activities

A History Lab has four basic components:

  • A great central question
  • Evaluation of sources with any information gained applied to development of an answer to the question
  • Employment of literacy skills to evaluate sources
  • The development / refinement / defense of an evidence-based answer to the central question

Bruce used a sample lesson focused on the 1970 invasion of Cambodia. His central question? Is Nixon trying to widen the war or to achieve Peace with Honor?

He started with the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song Four Dead in Ohio. We also looked at some basic Kent State and Hard Hat riot information, Nixon’s speech announcing his plan to invade Cambodia, a few political cartoons, a poster demanding a protest march on the White House, transcripts from Oval Office conversations between Nixon and Kissinger, and a 1968 Nixon campaign ad.

A nice exercise that looked at a wide variety of sources with a good question for students to address. We also talked about different ways for students to create their own secondary source that addressed the question.