The act of thinking historically is not natural. We must consciously teach historical thinking to our students and give them the tools and skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Names, dates and locations are important in history- but anyone can find specific information on the internet. History teachers need to move away from just teaching “data” and instead teach critical thinking skills. Here are six lessons that can be implemented in 8th or 11th US History class that will help teach historical thinking skills. Click the image below for the free PDF.
Click the image above to download the student materials
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 am trying to be as organized as possible so my students know my expectations and students are successful. I wrote out all my AP Syllabi in advance (and to keep me accountable). I integrated lessons and activities from the College Board Sample Syllabi and after extensive research of projects, readings and other AP courses. While this is not all of our class assignments, there are many to choose from and will set the tone for the year. I just hope I don't scare my students on the first day of class (30 pages seems a little intimidating). I created the syllabus using Canvas.
APUSH Syllabus by Jaime Caldwell