Why “Historical Thinking” Matters?

We have been working through historical thinking from the Exploration & Colonization time periods of American History.

Students have been learning the skill of breaking down a historical event and a primary source. They have sourced the document (who wrote it? why did they write it? what was their angle or motive?), created context (what is going on in the world while this event happened?), corroborated the documents (what do these documents have to do with one another? Are there different versions of the same story?) and close reading the document (What claims does the author make? Does he/she support their claims? How does the document make me feel? Does the author leave any information out?) These skills also are a huge part in critical thinking when it comes to other decisions through life!

These are the skills we have been practicing with the following events through American History:

Pocahontas:  Did Pocahontas save John Smith’s life?

Mapping the New World:  Why do maps change over time?

Examining Passenger Lists from 1635:  What can passenger lists tell us about who settled in the New World and where they settled?

King Philip’s War:  What Caused King Philip’s War of 1675?

We are moving into the Revolution / Early Nation portion of our American Journey. I have modeled to them the process of analyzing a document and had them analyze their own document from the Stamp Act of 1765.

Stamp Act:  Why were the colonists upset about the Stamp Act?

What can I do as a parent to help?

You as parents can play an important role in your children’s lives by asking them to explain this process to you. It is a short review for them and an interesting insight into history class that we as adult probably did not have!!! It is really fun! Imagine that… a FUN history class!!

Here are some pictures of the students working through the answer to the broad question: What is an American?

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