Class 6: Teaching Historical Thinking

Teaching historical thinking

Today we begin our study of historical thinking skills based on the work of Sam Wineburg and the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG). We will focus on three key skills – Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating. See historical thinking chart (pdf at SHEG).

Our class is based on assigned work:  Sam Wineburg reading and TEDEd flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom?

Three student teams will present their jigsaw lessons on specific skills:

  • Sourcing – Taran and Paxton
  • Contextualizing – Nancy and Kelly
  • Corroborating- James and David

Next, we will practice our historical thinking skills and see some options for delivery using a shared Google Doc – Japanese Incarceration and a shared Google Form – Zulu Chief Photograph.

Assignment 6

Each student will design a lesson using one or more historical thinking skills. They are free to use hard copy delivery or a digital format. The lesson should be posted in accessible form in a blog post.

Video tutorials: Using Google Docs | Using Google Forms 
More on Google tools in our edMethods Toolkit

Students should be prepared to “teach” their lesson with peers taking the role of students. (E.g. Introduce their lesson as they might to their class).

Lesson  / Post should include:

  1. Title
  2. One or more historic documents. Could be text, image, video.
  3. Source information and URLs for all documents used.
  4. Introduction and background as needed.
  5. Questions.
  6. Instructional goal that indicates one (or more) of the historic skills to be studied – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroborating.

Image credit: Adobe Spark

Class 3: Teacher as Curator

Teacher as curator

Skillful curation is based on skills across Bloom’s Taxonomy – a good grounding in lower order understanding of content, analysis of theme, evaluation of appropriate content and assemblage into a new context (or exhibition). This class will explore how history teachers can be skillful curators – designing engaging experiences where their students can “be the historian.”

This class will open with a lecture / activity that explores three elements of curation: Teacher as curator handout  1MB pdf

  • Select the artifacts
  • Think like a historian
  • Scaffold the content
Assignment 3

See completed student assignments 3 here

Students will curate a small exhibit of at least 3 artifacts. There should be a clearly stated theme and artifact labels and / or explanatory text as needed. Choose to do an exhibit based on any historical theme that interests you. Historical artifacts could include images, audio or video – but all should be in the public domain.

…. Or get creative and choose a theme based on artifacts in your possession – for example how would future museum goers understand three objects from your Star Wars collection or cooking utensils? (if you choose this approach, take photos of the objects you have.)

Please complete your post by Sat 16. All students should look at the other exhibits and leave a comment on at least one. Did you “get” what they were trying to say? Suggestions?

All students should use AdobeSpark to create featured image. It’s a very useful tool for creating striking title slides with public domain content.  ( I use them for most of my featured images in this blog). I’ll explain how to use in class.

Image credit: Adobe Spark

Class 7: Designing a Document Based Lesson

I is for India

I is for India,
Our land to the East
Where everyone goes
To shoot tigers, and feast

Common Core offers an incentive for teachers to use historic documents to build literacy skills in a content area while empowering students to be the historian in the classroom. But a document-based lesson (DBL) in this context requires four key elements to be successful:

  1. The right documents.
  2. Knowing how to look at them.
  3. Letting students discover their own patterns, then asking students to describe, compare and defend what they found. These historical thinking skills correlate with edTPA’s language functions.
  4. Basing the task on enduring questions, the kind that students might actually want to answer.

Class 7 offers strategies for assisting students to more closely read a document (in all their multimedia formats) by answering three Common Core questions.

  1. What did it say?
  2. How did it say it? See: SHEG – Sourcing, Contextualizing
  3. What’s it mean to me? See: SHEG – Corroborating

Here’s a handout of my slide deck 1.7MB pdf


Students will design their own literacy document based lesson.  See assignment here (note – various due dates)

For source material refer to our edMethods Toolkit – Be The Historian

Here’s some some sample DBLs that I have designed:

Page from: “An A B C, for baby patriots”
Creator: Ames, Mary Frances
Publisher: Dean & Son
Place of Publication: London (160a Fleet Street E.C.)
Publication Date: [1899]
Archive: University of Florida UF00086056:00001

Class 6: Sharing our Lesson

School Begins - 1899
School Begins – 1899

Students will present their historical thinking lesson to the class for feedback via large group discussion. Students will have class time to collaborate with peers and teacher to implement the suggestions.

Our goal will be to assist each other in designing a great lesson that supports student mastery in skills of  Sourcing, Contextualizing or Corroborating. Lessons will be modeled after History Assessments of Thinking developed by SHEG. For more on the assignment click here.

Assignment for Class 7

Students will write a post that introduces their lesson to the world. The lesson should be embedded into their blog post. More on how to embed Google Docs and Google Forms into WordPress

They should also write a reflection about what they learned from the development process – that reflection could include: working with SHEG model, insights from peer feedback, and/or the workflow used in this course to produce the lesson (how it was assigned, use of Google tools, peer feedback before final posting).

Image Credit: Library of Congress

  • Title: School begins / Dalrymple.
  • Creator(s): Dalrymple, Louis, 1866-1905, artist
  • Date Created/Published: N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann, 1899 January 25.
  • Summary: Print shows Uncle Sam as a teacher, standing behind a desk in front of his new students who are labeled “Cuba, Porto Rico, Hawaii, [and] Philippines”; they do not look happy to be there. At the rear of the classroom are students holding books labeled “California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, [and] Alaska”. At the far left, an African American boy cleans the windows, and in the background, a Native boy sits by himself, reading an upside-down book labeled “ABC”, an a Chinese boy stands just outside the door. A book on Uncle Sam’s desk is titled “U.S. First Lessons in Self-Government”.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-28668