How to Read, Write, & Think Like a Historian

Why it's Important to Think Like a Historian

Developing the Joy & Skills of Reading, Writing, & Thinking Like a Historian

  • Do you want to help students develop skills related to analysis and critical thinking, master complex texts, consider different source perspectives or biases, and perform better on standardized tests?
  • Do your students groan when it’s time to analyze primary and secondary source documents?
  • Do you want to help students develop life skills who become productive citizens in our globalized, 21st century society?
  • How can we identify students' diverse learning styles mentioned in Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences to differentiate instruction for higher levels of historical skill development?

The solution to these issues is to raise the levels of historical skills and processes in the classroom, also known as reading, writing, and thinking like a historian. The memorization of prior people, places, events, and dates alone will not raise levels of historical thinking skills - students need to critically think and reflect about real-world contexts that people see, hear, or think about every day. Adolescents need to "want" to understand how prior historical and social contexts have influenced current factors that continually shape society today . Students won't choose to learn these skills unless they enjoy learning about history and understand why it remains relevant for their everyday lives, as well as the future going forward.

This course will introduce you to ways that you can help students develop a love of reading, which can transform your classes

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Intended audience for this course

Who is this course for and who can benefit from it?

This course is designed for teachers in secondary grade levels 7-12 who would like to help students develop skills related to reading, writing, and thinking like a historian. The course is primarily designed for social studies teachers, but it is possible for teachers in other subjects or grade levels to find something useful here. Besides social studies teachers, social science teachers may find it useful to bring in some of the ideas here, such as book clubs, inquiry-based questioning prompts, and/or differentiation strategies to accommodate diverse learning styles derived from Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences. STEM teachers such as those who teach classes designed for Math and science may find it difficult, but it's certainly possible for teachers seeking to help students develop life-long skills. These skills and learning styles from Gardner's theory can be incorporated into any grade level or course, as long as there's a willingness to do so and enough freedom granted by standards imposed from the school.

What will you get out this course?

When finished with this course, learners will:

  • Be able to identify, use, and apply historical thinking skills using a number of diverse learning styles from Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.
  • Be able to understand the practices that lead to higher levels of skill development and historical analysis.
  • Know where to access credited research that supports these interventions for skill-based learning.
  • Be able to demonstrate their newly learned knowledge and development of historical processes involved in this mini course by choosing two skills and assessment-type that aligns with one theme from Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory, which should strongly relate to their individual learning style(s) accordingly.

What will the learner do? (i.e., Performance Objectives in Course)

  • Students will be able to (SWBAT) reflect on and self-assess his or her own strategies for developing historical skills using Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory.
  • Following the presentation of resources and ideas, students will be able to (SWBAT) apply historical thinking skills to analyze CRQ documents in each unit based on 2 of the 8 intelligence types from Gardner's theory that suits their diverse learning styles.
  • Students will be able to (SWBAT) record and reference the resources/information accessed during the course to create a visual representation of particular resources that seem useful to them.
  • Students will be able to (SWBAT) create a final project of their choice based on the 8 features of Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory by using 3 or more types of historical thinking skills, and explaining how they could fit into their current/future lives.

Course Outline & Units of Study

Units of Studies

This mini-course includes a total of 5 units. The first 4 units focus on 2 types of historical skill-sets and are taught in ways that align with 2 kinds of learning styles mentioned in Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. At the end of the course, students will assess their new knowledge and skills they gained by completing the Final Assessment Project in the fifth and final unit.

Please click the title of each unit to go to its page and access information about specific learning goals, topics, and materials attached.

Global 9 Overview: Units & Topics

Unit 1: Primary v.s. Secondary Sources - Visual & Verbal Learners

Unit 2: Components of Sourcing - Logical & Kinesthetic Learners

Unit 3: Identifying Diverse Perspectives - Musical & Naturalistic Learners

Unit 4: Historical & Geographic Contexts - Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Learners

Unit 5: Final Product & Post Assessment

Proceed to Unit 1