Inquiry-Based Lessons in U.S. History
eBook - ePub

Inquiry-Based Lessons in U.S. History

Decoding the Past (Grades 5-8)

Jana Kirchner, Andrew McMichael

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eBook - ePub

Inquiry-Based Lessons in U.S. History

Decoding the Past (Grades 5-8)

Jana Kirchner, Andrew McMichael

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Buchvorschau
Inhaltsverzeichnis
Quellenangaben

Über dieses Buch

Inquiry-Based Lessons in U.S. History: Decoding the Past provides primary source lessons that focus on teaching U.S. history through inquiry to middle school students. Students will be faced with a question to answer or problem to solve and will examine primary sources for evidence to create hypothetical solutions. The chapters focus on key chronological periods (e.g., the Age of Exploration to the Civil Rights era) and follow the scope and sequence of major social studies textbooks, with activities linked to the U.S. History Content Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies. The three lesson plans in each chapter begin with an essential question that sets the focus for the primary sources and teaching strategies that follow. The lesson plans include differing types of primary sources such as photographs, speeches, political cartoons, historic maps, paintings, letters, and diary entries.Grades 5-8

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Information

Verlag
Routledge
Jahr
2021
ISBN
9781000493719
Auflage
1
Thema
Bildung

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

WHY WRITE THIS BOOK?

DOI:10.4324/9781003235781-1
“How do I find primary sources that go along with my textbook?”
“Where do I locate political cartoons and maps that are appropriate for middle school students?”
“I want to use primary sources, but I don’t have time to find good ones that fit in my units.”
“I know I need to integrate literacy skills, but I don’t know how with all this content to teach.”
These are the types of questions and comments that United States history teachers at all grade levels have asked during our 10 years of working with three U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History (TAH) grants. While designing and implementing TAH grants with more than 200 elementary, middle, and high school teachers, we developed lessons that model teaching U.S. history through an inquiry format, with an essential question and primary sources for students to examine. This book is the culminating product of those professional development sessions, planning and coaching conferences with teachers, and site visits to watch inquiry-based, primary source lessons with students.
We have targeted the lessons in this book at middle school students, as that is often the first time that United States history is taught as a stand-alone subject rather than within an existing social studies course. The lessons in this book, however, would also be appropriate as lesson extensions for elementary students gifted in social studies, as supplemental history lessons to use in pullout programs for advanced students, or for home-schooled students studying American history. Finally, although the target audience is middle school students, the lessons can easily be adapted for high school students as well.

INQUIRY IN SOCIAL STUDIES: UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARDS

At the time of publication, the focus in social studies is on the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework (National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS], 2013). Published in 2013 by a team of social studies professionals—curriculum specialists, K–12 teachers, social studies organizations, and university professors—from across the United States, the C3 Framework has been referred to as a “watershed moment for social studies education in America” (Herczog, 2013). The authors based the development of the C3 Framework on the following guiding principles about high-quality social studies instruction:
  • ■ Social studies prepares the nation’s young people for college, careers, and civic life.
  • ■ Inquiry is at the heart of social studies.
  • ■ Social studies involves interdisciplinary applications and welcomes integration of the arts and humanities.
  • ■ Social studies is composed of deep and enduring understandings, concepts, and skills from the disciplines. Social studies emphasizes skills and practices as preparation for democratic decision-making.
  • ■ Social studies education should have direct and explicit connections to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies. (Herczog, 2013, p. viii)
The foundation of the C3 Framework is its focus on the inquiry arc using four dimensions:
  1. Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
  2. Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools
  3. Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence
  4. Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action (NCSS, 2013).
Dimension 1 focuses on teachers or students creating compelling and supporting questions to frame a unit or lesson, and then determining helpful sources to answer that question. This dimension guided the lesson plan organization for this book as each lesson begins with an organizing question. In each lesson, teachers present the organizing question to their students; however, allowing students to generate their own questions is also an effective inquiry strategy. Dimension 2 targets the four content areas of civics, economics, geography, and history as “lenses students use in their inquiries” (NCSS, 2013, p. 29). This book focuses on history content and skills through student exploration of the story of United States history. Dimension 3, evaluating sources and evidence, includes gathering and evaluating sources, developing claims, and using evidence. Each lesson requires students to read and analyze a variety of primary sources as evidence that they will use to answer the organizing question. Dimension 4 involves students communicating and critiquing conclusions. Although the lessons in this book require students to develop a hypothesis and share it with the class, teachers ultimately have the flexibility to plan how the communication of conclusions will occur (i.e., the product for the lesson).
Gerwin and Zevin (2011) described the teacher’s role in teaching history through inquiry as follows:
First of all, encourage students to learn how to draw their own conclusions, and defend themselves against criticisms from other “detectives.” Each participant, in effect, becomes a partner, a team member, in an investigation to which all have a chance to contribute. And contributions, including your own, must be defended and supported by evidence, sources, references, and reasons. You can join in with more suggestions, questions, and pointers, but this must be done carefully so as not to destroy students’ sense of independent inquiry. (p. 21)
To successfully implement the lessons in this book, teachers must develop a classroom environment based in inquiry. Wineburg, Martin, and Monte-Sano (2013) expressed the importance of historical inquiry for 21st-century learners in this authentic way:
In an age where ‘I found it on the Internet’ masquerades as knowledge, history serves as a vital counterweight to intellectual sloppiness. When a video uploaded from a cellphone in Tehran reaches San Francisco in half a second, history reminds us to start with basic questions: Who sent it? Can it be trusted? What angle did the Flip Video miss? (p. ix)
The teacher is no longer the provider of knowledge but rather the facilitator of historical thinking. The strategies used in the lessons in this book help teachers achieve this.
Although the C3 foundational principles and the four dimensions of the inquiry arc are embedded in every lesson in this book, we chose to use the National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS; n.d.) standards for United States history (grades 5–12) as the source for specific content standards. At the time of publication of this book, individual states are developing social studies standards targeting the C3 Framework. The NCHS standards provide a common, national set of history standards that are often referenced in the social studies field.
Each chapter also includes the targeted Common Core State Standards (CCSS; National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) for Literacy in History/Social Studies appropriate for grades 6–8. Historical inquiry requires students to assemble information and draw conclusions from a variety of primary and secondary sources, which is the focus of the literacy standards. In describing this reading process, Wineburg, Martin, and Monte-Sano (2013) noted that “Historians have developed powerful ways of reading that allow them to see patterns, make sense of contradictions, and formulate reasoned interpretations . . . ” (p. ix). With this focus on disciplinary literacy, or reading and thinking like a historian, the lessons in this book integrate multiple primary sources, including letters, journals, political cartoons, artwork, interviews, posters, pamphlets, and maps to encourage the students to do historical inquiry. The concept of “thinking like a historian” frames the way the lessons are created with a historical question, analyzing the evidence, creating a hypothesis, and using the specific evidence to support the hypothesis.

USING THE BOOK

We designed the lesson plans to align with the scope and sequence of a typical United States history course so that teachers can use them in several ways. First, teachers can use the lessons individually, tailoring them to local state standards and existing classroom curricula. Second, the lessons are also structured so that they can be used in a complementary fashion at appropriate places within the larger unit topic. Finally, teachers can swap out primary sources in each lesson with sources that they might already be using in their classrooms.
The chapters in this volume follow a similar structure. Each begins with a short essay on detailing the historical context to provide teachers with a reference point for the primary source materials in the lesson plans. Next, we list the NCHS United States history standards as well as the CCSS for Literacy in History/Social Studies targeted in the lessons. Following that introduction, each chapter contains three lessons.
We have divided each lesson into several parts, beginning with an organizing question that helps frame the lesson and the teaching strategies employed in the lesson. Each lesson also lists the primary source materials and web links to easily locate them. Depending on the ability of the students, teachers can use the entire primary source or choose their own excerpts. In some cases, the authors have provided excerpts within the lessons.
The lessons each follow a similar structure focused on students doing inquiry—thinking and reading like a historian. We developed individual lessons based on these phases: Lesson Hook, The Organizing Question, Examine the Sources, and Making a Hypothesis. Each part of the lesson includes detailed instructions for planning and implementing the lesson. The teaching strategies section in each of the lessons includes commonly used literacy strategies. Background information and tips for implementing these strategies are available from many online sources.

AN EXPLANATION OF THE SOURCES USED IN THE BOOK

This book uses many different types of primary sources to engage students. Some of the most common are photographs, cartoons, maps, and political writings. In cases where the lesson worked best with the original document, we provide a link to a stable website where teachers can easily locate the primary source. In cases where the lesson required an extract of the document, we have provided that.
Documents created at the time in which the event they portrayed occurred can sometimes be difficult to understand and interpret. Likewise, some of the more complex symbolism on some of the maps, for instance, might be too intricate for even the most advanced middle school child. However, all of the sources can be understood to some degree or another by all children. We chose the sources with the intent that each one has something for any child, regardless of current achievement level. For example, Johann Baptist Homann’s map in Chapter 4 is rich with multilayered symbolism, some of which continues to elude even professional historians. Nonetheless, this is a lesson we have used with hundreds of schoolchildren in elementary and middle schools with great success—all children can find something.
The original language in some of the documents can seem strange to 21st-century readers. People did not always use modern spellings, and in many cases there was no standard way to spell a word. In cases where the original English was too difficult, we have updated the language to modern English and indicated such on the text. In cases where the original English was archaic, or contained misspellings, but was still readable, we have left the writing intact but acknowledged the misspellings in the original with [sic].

SIMPLE SEARCH TIPS FOR FINDING OTHER SOURCES

Finding additional primary sources to use with these and other lesson plans is as easy as turning to Google and keeping in mind a few search tips and tricks. The most important thing to remember is that Google returns the results it thinks you want, not necessarily the ones you actually want. To get the search engine to return useful results, it helps to narrow the search parameters using some simple modifier commands. For example, the plus (+) and minus (-) signs will force the engine to either include or exclude certain terms. So the search in Figure 1.1 will force Google to return only those results that contain the word colony along with Jamestown, while the search in Figure 1.2 will return the same results but without any pages that mention Pocahontas. It often helps to narrow ...

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. TABLE OF CONTENTS
  6. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
  7. CHAPTER 2 LIFE BEFORE 1600 COLLISION OF CULTURES
  8. CHAPTER 3 1607-1650 SETTLING IN
  9. CHAPTER 4 1650-1750 COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT
  10. CHAPTER 5 1750-1783 THE PATH TO THE INDEPENDENCE
  11. CHAPTER 6 1783-1800 THE NEW NATION
  12. CHAPTER 7 1803-1850 WESTWARD EXPANSION
  13. CHAPTER 8 1850-1865 SECTIONALISM AND THE CIVIL WAR
  14. CHAPTER 9 1863-1877 RECONSTRUCTION
  15. CHAPTER 10 1840-1914 A NATION IN TRANSITION
  16. CHAPTER 11 1840-1900 INDUSTRIALIZATION AND IMMIGRATION
  17. CHAPTER 12 1914-1945 THE ERA OF WORLD WARS
  18. CHAPTER 13 1940-1970 CIVIL RIGHTS
  19. REFERENCES
  20. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
  21. COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ALIGNMENT