--Sherry L. Field and Linda D. Labbo
Read a biography. Then examine "pocket contents." In Lincoln's vest pocket? A draft for a speech, theater tickets, and a photograph of his family, among other items. "Artifacts" are suggested for the pockets of Benito Juarez (president of Mexico), Grandma Moses (artist), Mary McLeod Bethune (black educator), and others. --> read more »
By Robert Cohen
Many have questioned whether the document on which our nation is based sanctioned slavery. But renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who originally condemned the Constitution, came to view it in a much different light.
Thematic instruction in history has much to offer, especially given the demand to "cover everything" during high school history courses, an approach that leads to surface level treatment of many topics. Thematic instruction allows the teacher to provide in-depth coverage of carefully selected topics because, while time does not allow this approach for all topics, the teacher can choose a few topics to develop more fully than is the norm. --> read more »
How can I get my middle school students to keep sight of the broader themes of U.S. history in the middle of all the details they find in the textbook?Submitted by TimDaly on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 4:27pm
Joan Brodsky Schur
DBQ's are Document Based Questions that are used in certain Advanced Placement classes as well as in a number of state assessments. Because DBQ's make students write essays using a number of primary source documents, DBQ's require our students to think, analyze, and use and refine their literacy strategies. For this reason, in my experience as a middle school social studies teacher, the use of DBQ's are not just for higher level students only but are important for all students. --> read more »
Joan Brodsky Schur
One strategy for engaging middle school students is to help them identify with a person who lived in the past -- someone who affected the course of events and/or was affected by them. Research assignments through which students assume the identity of historical individuals can help middle school students surpass their age-appropriate egocentricity, while allowing them to have "big egos" as someone of historical importance. --> read more »
Here are my recommended "Do's" and "Don'ts."
- Consider the language of your lectures and the resources to be used. Look for "loaded" words such as "frontier," "settler," and "explorer." Discuss with your students how those terms may sound to an American Indian.
- Look at the illustrations used in the resource materials. Reject them if they portray American Indians in stereotypical ways.
Teaching and learning about the women’s suffrage movement is a favorite experience for me. My grandmother voted in the first election open to women. Then I voted in the first election open to 18-year-olds.
- Creating time lines to show the progression of voting throughout U.S. history and geography.
- Developing other graphic organizers to illustrate requirements for voting, finding primary sources through the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/index.html
- Interviewing people with knowledge and experience
Literature is an excellent way to help teach the events leading to and during the Civil War to elementary students. When selecting a piece of literature, always check for its historical accuracy and that it does not contain misconceptions, oversimplifications or stereotyping.
The following list is divided by subject according to the aspect of the war being introduced to the students. --> read more »