History education is not just about the names of old dead people and dates of consequential events its about critical thinking skills that can be applied across disciplines and cultivated over time. Here are a series of images you can use for your class to emphasize and practice historical thinking skills. Challenge your students to demonstrate each skill and present to the class over zoom!
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Teaching students how to write a Historiography is important. It teaches them about previous historical literature, debates within historical circles and how to analyze historical claims and evidence. As an introduction to APUSH (after we cover pre-columbian Civilizations) students will examine the historical literature on Christopher Columbus and write a mini- five paragraph essay after they create an annotated bibliography.
I have three important goals for this lesson: 1) Show how history is not Static- it can change, and it changes for specific contextual reasons and as historians we need to be conscious of that when we read primary and secondary sources 2) How to cite Historical Evidence 3) How to analyze historical arguments and 4) practice crafting a thesis. This is just getting our feet wet for more complex historical analysis.
1. Open up the assignment with a group discussion on Columbus. Pose additional questions to class: "Does History change?" "Who writes history?"
2. As a class analyze and annotate "The Youth's Companion, 1892" discuss as a class
3. Break up class into groups of 3-4 and have students work on the annotated bibliography together. Come back as a class and compare notes and findings.
4. Assign independent work: Drafting essay and schedule 1:1 sessions with students who need more individualized support and feedback.
I love teaching about the Renaissance. One way to get my students interested and STAY interested in this topic, is to take virtual field trips using Google Earth (Internet access required and only works on some devices like Chromebooks). If you cannot access Google Earth, use the Vatican's virtual tours link. Have students "wander" around in the museum for ten minutes and then have them write a short response of what it was like in the Sistine Chapel. They can also take screen shots of their favorite artwork and try to find the painter/ sculpture and write a brief biography.
Human sacrifice?! Have I got your attention? Students love to learn about the Aztecs and human sacrifice. Use this lesson to teach this remarkable civilization.
This DBQ reinforces the document analysis and writing process; this DBQ also introduces a new component: finding historical research to support their original thesis. Students will have to find a level 2 (secondary source) or level 3 (primary source) as evidence and explain how it can be used to answer the DBQ Question. Students will write a five paragraph essay answering the question: What was the purpose and role of human sacrifice in Aztec society?
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Not many people know about Mansa Musa. He was a remarkable leader and went on a remarkable journey. I am still waiting for Hollywood to make an epic Biopic about him. In this lesson students will be investigating whether he was the richest man to ever live (The answer is: we really don't have enough information to determine this, but the kids will find out for themselves!).
It is difficult for students to navigate the internet and find appropriate primary and secondary sources. In this lesson students will learn how to effectively research a historical question while simultaneously learning about West African Kingdoms during the Middle Ages. This is a fun lesson that students enjoy...for some reason kids love investigating "rich people."
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In this lesson students will evaluate why the time period under the Abbasid dynasty referred to as the Golden Age of Islam by developing a thesis and support their thesis by writing a historical essay with evidence. This is a great lesson to help teach historical thinking and historical writing while learning about a fascinating Civilization during the Middle Ages: The Abbasids!
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Teaching "Global Convergence" in 7th Grade?
In this lesson students will deconstruct the advantages that the Spanish had over the Aztec Empire. In the early 1800-1900’s (Western) Historical scholarship focused on the “Civilized” nature of the Spanish and their moral greatness which made them “superior men” and thereby able to defeat the mighty Aztec empire. But, really the Spanish had many advantages, not because they were “superior” but, rather- just lucky. Students will practice analyzing sources, finding corroborating sources and writing a historical analysis answering the question: How were the Spanish conquistadors able to defeat the mighty Aztec Empire with only 600 men?
This is a great lesson to examine how much of history and culture is shaped by luck and circumstance. It challenges the assumption of "Western Superiority" and rather uncovers the advantages European powers had.
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The purpose of this lesson is to show that the Renaissance covered a big period in European history and the concept is used to characterize the artistic and architectural advances of a select echelon of society and did not necessarily affect everyone across Europe in an equal manner. While, the purpose is not to underscore the accomplishments of the Renaissance (it is encouraged to teach the artistic advances and human accomplishment) but rather show a more complete picture of what life was like in Europe for all people not just the elite. Students will practice their close reading strategies as well as analysis strategies by answering the question: Is the “Renaissance” a Mischaracterization of an Age?
Students read five secondary sources, answer 10 comprehension questions, a handout how to quote, summarize, paraphrase and analyze historical evidence, an essay outline/planner (for students who need additional supports) and a rubric to help guide student's writing.
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