Reading and Thinking Like a Historian

My job is “Literacy Specialist.”  That usually means that I am working in the areas of Reading, Writing and Thinking.  I am always looking for evidence of student thinking in what students do, say and write on their learning journey.

Today’s incredible resource was shared by my fabulous coworker @lynnselking, a math specialist. She finds the most amazing resources because she is a voracious learner!  Thanks, Lynn!

The Stanford History Education Group sponsors the Reading like a Historian site.  This site  has 75 social studies lessons arranged in 12 units that begin with an Introduction and continue through the Cold War Culture/Civil Rights.  They are free and advertised this way:  The Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry.

A quick review of two units (2 and 4) met evidence of learning that would support College and Career Readiness Anchor Reading Standards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 as well as Writing Standards 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10.  That was 17 out of 20.

As a professional development provider, I would be remiss if I did not caution you to consider the instruction and modeling that the teacher should provide in order to increase the likelihood of success for ALL  students as they read, write and think like historians.  (Passing out the tasks as independent assignments would not be the best use of this resource!) For those who have worked with Fisher and Frey’s Gradual Release of Responsibility, these lessons would easily fit into the basic GRR framework with a few adaptations for productive group work.   Caution:   this will be hard work for students who prefer the low-risk, low-thinking tasks of  skimming through the textbook to answer the “right-there” questions in the book.

Looking for a way to incorporate the Reading and Writing Standards into History?  Work with social studies teachers?  Know a social studies teacher who is looking for resources to help teach the Common Core Standards?  Check out the units for yourself and then pass on the link!

And the ultimate in history assessments?  Beyond the Bubble , A New Generation of Assessments, also from Stanford!


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