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Posts tagged ‘historical thinking’

So many geography resources! How many? Sooo many

What does it look like when we combine inquiry learning with geography? What resources are available? Check out some ideas and materials below:

Helpful article:

Inquiry lesson examples:

Geography: Read more

Tip of the Week: The problem with history classes, the Civil War, and hexagons

Several days ago, I wrote a quick post highlighting an article from The Atlantic titled The Problem with History Classes. In it, author Michael Conway suggests that traditional social studies instruction that focuses on the “right” answers doesn’t allow for enough academic discomfort. Social studies teachers need to go beyond basic foundational knowledge and create a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty in how things are going to work out.

One suggestion from Conway? If our students really are going to learn and master historical thinking skills, it is “absolutely essential that they read a diverse set of historians” and learn how a variety of historians who are scrutinizing the same topic can reach different conclusions.

But what can that look like? You may want to try an activity using hexagons – it’s an activity that can help your students grapple with historical viewpoints and start to understand connections between them.

The concept has been around for a while with lots of teachers using hexagons as part of a larger idea called SOLO. The basic idea is that Read more

Creating a document-based lesson

I ran across this infographic yesterday and love the information that it contains. We know that we need to create these sorts of lessons but are sometimes a bit unsure of what that can look like. User bschultz75 posted their version of what a document-based lesson looks on the Piktochart site and I figured I would pass it on to you.

(I can’t find any info on who bschultz75 actually is but whoever you are, thanks for the great graphic!)

The rest of you? Read more

Academic discomfort and the problem with history classes

More than several years ago, I asked my daughter, a fourth grader at the time, to work her way through the very cool Plimoth Plantation’s You Are the Historian simulation. It’s a wonderful online tool that asks kids to answer a very simple question – what really happened at the first Thanksgiving. Using evidence and video clips from experts, elementary students develop a thesis and create a final product that addresses the problem.

And I wanted a product review from a true end user. Used to these sort of requests from her history nerd father, Erin plunged in. During the in-depth debriefing over milk and cookies, I asked her a variety of questions about her experience. Much of the conversation is now forgotten but I still remember what she said when I asked her to tell me one thing that she would share with her teacher the next day.

The past is what really happened. And history is what we say happened.

I couldn’t have been prouder.

Of course, Read more

A Model of Cognition in History

Several weeks ago, Manhattan, Kansas, middle school teacher Jesse Peters shared the latest book that focuses on historical thinking and assessment. Edited by Kadriye Ercikan and Peter Seixas, the book is titled New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking and is a collection of 16 different essays. The essays highlight a variety of  perspectives from both Europe and the United States on how best to measure historical thinking.

It’s an interesting read – though incredibly nerdy at times – that gives some nice insight into current research and practice.

And an article by Bruce VanSledRight that talks about weighted multiple choice caught my attention. But it wasn’t the description of weighted MC that I walked away with. It was a simple graph, titled A Model of Cognition in History, that was my learning for the day.

It’s not really anything new but I think it’s a powerful visual that can make the whole historical thinking, balance of content knowledge and process skills, new way of instruction and learning thing more understandable to teachers. Read more

Tip of the Week: Sourcing Overlay Strategy

First things first. If you haven’t hung out at Russell Tarr’s Toolbox, you need to head over there when we’re finished here. Russell has been creating and sharing cool tools for social studies teachers forever and it’s all incredibly handy stuff. (You might have run across Russell’s ideas before on his Active History or ClassTools.net sites.)

About a month ago, I was on his site and ran across something that I thought was very cool. I’d been searching for ideas on how to help elementary kids source evidence. You know – author, date created, audience, intent, the sort of questions that are the foundation of historical thinking.

My goto strategy has been one shared by the Library of Congress that helps kids all the way down to kindergarten start the process of historical thinking – by training them to ask questions about primary sources. The LOC example focuses on the idea of Read more

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