Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

Doing History: Investigating with Children in Elementary and Middle Schools

Synopsis

Doing History offers a unique perspective on history instruction in the elementary and middle grades, one that begins with the assumption that children can engage in valid forms of historical inquiry-collecting and analyzing data, examining the perspectives of people in the past, considering multiple interpretations, and creating evidence-based historical accounts. Through case studies of teachers and students in diverse classrooms and from diverse backgrounds, the text shows children engaging in authentic historical investigations, often in the context of an integrated social studies curriculum. The grounding of this book in contemporary sociocultural theory and research makes it unique among social studies methods texts. In each chapter, the authors explain how the teaching demonstrated in the vignettes reflects basic principles of contemporary learning theory; thus they not only provide specific examples of successful activities, but place them in a theoretical context that allows teachers to adapt and apply them in a wide variety of settings. Features: *Classroom vignettes. Rather than a "cookbook" of lesson ideas, this text illustrates the possibilities (and obstacles) of meaningful teaching and learning in real classroom settings. *Inquiry-oriented instruction. The approaches shown in the classrooms portrayed are those which accord with the recommendations of practically all theorists and researchers in the field of history education. This text is not a hodge-podge of cute activities, but a consistent and theoretically grounded illustration of meaningful history instruction. *Diversity of perspectives. This is emphasized in two ways. First, the text helps students to look at historical events and trends from multiple perspectives. Second, the classrooms illustrated throughout the book include teachers and students from a wide variety of backgrounds-this gives the book widespread appeal to educators in a variety of settings. *Assessment. Teachers are provided with explicit guidance in using multiple forms of assessment to evaluate the specifically historical aspects of children's learning. Assessment issues are addressed throughout the text, including the need for assessment of specifically historical skills and knowledge; the integration of instruction and assessment; and the use of multiple forms of assessment-including anecdotal records, scoring guidelines [rubrics], and checklists-to evaluate the historical aspects of children's learning in presentations, projects, essays, and discussions. New in the Second Edition * Expanded treatment of assessment, integrated throughout the work. The second edition provides more practical guidance for teachers, addresses the need for assessment of specifically historical skills and knowledge (rather than more general, literacy-oriented assessment), and stresses the integration of instruction and assessment. Readers are introduced to the use of multiple forms of assessment--including anecdotal records, scoring guidelines [rubrics], and checklists--to evaluate the historical aspects of children's learning in presentations, projects, essays, and discussions. * Updated booklists and citations. The most recent quality children's literature that can be used to support instruction has been added. Citations include the most recent research and other scholarship on the teaching and learning history in the elementary and middle grades. * Epilogue. New to this edition, the epilogue draws together the primary themes of the text.

Excerpt

In the first edition of Doing History, we invited readers to take a mental journey with us--to picture primary students debating whether Christopher Columbus should be considered a hero or eighth-grade students producing a video to examine whether a historic document--the Bill of Rights--speaks to current issues. We asked readers to further imagine classrooms where students regularly, and actively, do history--frame questions, gather data from primary and secondary sources, organize and interpret that data, and share their work with different audiences. Finally, we asked readers to imagine a history curriculum that reflects the rich diversity of people in the United States and around the world.

We have been fortunate to spend a number of years working with teachers and students in just such classrooms. We have seen powerful historical study in classes where many of the children were recent immigrants, as well as in classes where children's families have lived in the same area for nearly 200 years. Some classes are full inclusion programs where the special education and "regular" teachers collaborate; most include students with special needs, at least for social studies. The classrooms range from urban and suburban to rural settings. But despite their many differences, these communities of inquiry have several things in common. In each one, even the youngest children describe historical study as interesting and important. Moreover, historical study in each of these classrooms deals with important historical content and engages students in authentic historical inquiry. All students are invited to be historical participants. Throughout the book, we draw on these classrooms to provide models of instructionally sound, thoughtful, and thought-provoking history teaching with students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most chapters also begin with a vignette from one of these classrooms.

Many of the teachers cited in this book worked with us on research related to the development of historical thinking. Some continue to do so. We met others through our work with teacher education programs or through professional meetings throughout the country. All of them generously shared their time, ideas, and classrooms. Although we would prefer honoring each of them by using their real names, confidentiality agreements sometimes preclude that possibility. Many appear under their own names--Amy Leigh, Dehea Smith, Jeanette Groth, LeeAnn Fitzpatrick, Rebecca Valbuena, Rhoda Coleman, Ruby Yessin, and Tina Reynolds--whereas others are identified by pseudonyms. Similarly, all children's names are pseudonyms except where we had permission to credit a child for a specific piece of work. Again, we wish we could identity all of the students who so generously indulged our curiosity and answered questions that often must have seemed foolish, who lent us their . . .

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