For new teachers or teachers who want to completely overhaul their curriculum to align to the Common Core, the U.S. history lessons are ready to go and provide comprehensive coverage of the content. For teachers who want to supplement their existing curriculum, the collection offers many possibilities to integrate historical inquiry, reading strategies, and primary document analysis. Teachers should definitely take time to search through the different lessons to see what would work for their classroom. The introductory unit offers students a good opportunity to practice the skills necessary to effectively participate in the various activities. The lessons vary in terms of length, student configuration, homework, etc., and may need to be adapted to fit the needs of the students. Further links to additional curriculum, assessments, projects, and much more can help expand student understanding of history.Continue reading Show less
The Stanford History Education Group website provides teachers with document-based curriculum and innovative assessments that are ready to use in the classroom. The primary collection is called Reading Like a Historian and includes more than 100 lesson plans for U.S. and world history courses. The lessons follow a set structure in which students investigate historical questions. Each lesson begins with establishing background knowledge and identifying the key question. Students then engage with the documents by comparing them, using a historical reading skill, developing a hypothesis, or participating in a structured debate. Finally, the entire class discusses the topic as students are encouraged to make claims and allow for multiple interpretations of history. In addition to the lessons, teachers and students can explore an Introduction to Historical Thinking unit that introduces the learning approach. Keep in mind that teachers need to set up a free account in order to download all of the free materials.
This collection of free, downloadable resources is a gift to teachers and students that will increase learning in the classroom. The Reading Like a Historian curriculum challenges students to think for themselves about historical events rather than just memorize facts and dates. The lessons require students to gather evidence and make historical claims as they develop their ability to become independent thinkers. Highlights of the collection include an introductory lesson that evaluates different accounts of common school conflicts, a world history lesson that explores the issue of appeasement and the evidence for and against it, and a U.S. history lesson that examines correspondence between key figures in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The strength in all of these is that students are the investigators, and they're not relying on a textbook or a teacher’s lecture to understand the event. Although some of the documents are text-heavy, there are modifications available to make the content more accessible to all students.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.
Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.