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 5: Historical Thinking

PhrenologyPixOur class begins with a review of the Sam Wineburg reading and TEDEd flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? That will also provide a chance to discuss the efficacy of flipping content.  What are the challenges and opportunities for that approach?

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).

We will practice our historical thinking skills using a shared Google Doc – Japanese Incarceration and a shared Google Form – Zulu Chief Photograph.

It will give us a chance to compare both formats for delivering a lesson. (Note: While we could have done either as a hard copy worksheet, this activity gives us a chance to work with a two Google tools.)


Assignment for Class 5

You will each design a historical thinking mini-lesson based on the two sample lessons we did today. Both demonstrate Beyond the Bubble assessment model. All mini lessons should constructed as either a Google Doc or Google Form. (Note: a source video can only inserted into a Google Form).

See completed student work here SHEG-16

Students should be prepared to “teach” a brief lesson. (E.g. Introduce their lesson as they might to their class).

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

  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.
  7. How you would expect a proficient student might answer the question

Need some historical content for your lesson?
Check out our edMethods Toolkit-Finding Documents


Image credit: Phrenology diagram Wikipedia
Source From People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge (1883)