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Historical Thinking Skills in the 21st Century
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Historical Thinking Skills in the 21st Century



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  • 1. Historical Thinking Skills in the 21st Century Tutti Jackson, Project Curator Ohio Historical Society
  • 2. Goals • Learn about Historical Thinking skills • Differentiate and analyze primary and secondary sources • Construct a narrative based on evaluation of evidence • Understand bias and points of view in sources
  • 3. What is History?
  • 4. What is History?• List• Dates• Names• Places• Facts
  • 5. Historical Thinking • Process • Constructed by People • Methodology • Critical Analysis • Primary and Secondary Sources • Interpretive Narrative supported by Evidence
  • 6. Textbook History vs. Historical Thinking• Referential illusion • People are actors• Eliminate “metadiscourse” • Situations are changeable• No positionality or stance • Position and stance• Hides documentary record • Unpacks record• Omniscient third-person • Multiple perspectives• No visible author • Student as historian
  • 7. But What about the Content?• Exercise historic thinking skills to support content to improve the quality of history education
  • 8. The Skills aren’t New• Historians have been practicing 21st century skills since the 19th century
  • 9. The Skills aren’t New• In 1917, Dr. J. Carlton Bell suggested that for most history teachers: – “I do not care to have my pupils learn dates and events, but I am particularly anxious to have them develop the historic sense.”• With Dr. David F. McCollum, Bell developed a list of skills called the Five Aspects of the Historic Sense (1917) Bell, J. C. (1917). The historic sense. The Journal of Educational Psychology, 8(5), 317-318. Bell, J. C., & McCollum, D.F. (1917). A study of the attainments of pupils in United States history. The Journal of Educational Psychology, 8(5), 257-274.
  • 10. U.S. Standards for Historical Thinking in Schools National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) • Chronological Thinking • Historical Comprehension • Historical Analysis and Interpretation • Historical Research Capabilities • Historical Issue-Analysis and Decision-Making
  • 11. What is a Primary Source?A Primary Source is…• An artifact of its time• A first-hand account of an historic eventA Secondary Source is…• A commentary or analysis of a historical event based on primary Clara Barton, ca. 1860 – 1865 Brady National Photographic Art Gallery sources Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division, National Archives
  • 12. ExamplesPrimary Sources Secondary Sources• Journal or diary entries • Textbook• Letters • Book or article about an• Newspaper articles event• Pamphlets • Wikipedia• Photographs • Documentaries• Clothing• Original buildings• Broadsides and posters• Artifacts• Cartoons• Maps Ulysses S. Grant Document Box, 1864 Ohio Historical Society
  • 13. Activity: Spot Analysis Is this a Primary Source? • Work with your group using the observable evidence and your knowledge to determine if your object is a primary source for the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) • If not, could it be a primary source for some other topic? • Use the activity sheet to guide your inquiry • Report to the classLong Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer, Frank BellewHarpers Weekly, November 26, 1864
  • 14. Historical Thinking Skills• Analyzing primary and secondary sources• Identifying the source of the historical document or narrative• Establishing temporal order
  • 15. Activity: Who’s That Lady? Description: Doing the Work of Historians• Working in your groups• Consider the phrase “The First Lady”• Quick, toss out 5 descriptive words and write each word on a card• Make a sentence using those words
  • 16. Activity: Who’s that Lady?• Now we’ll look at some sources• Come up with 5 new descriptive words based on your evidence and write each word on a card• Make a sentence using those words• Share your sentences with the class
  • 17. CONGRATUATIONS!You’ve just made history!What differences did you see between your two sentences?Why?
  • 18. Historical Thinking Skills• Analyzing primary sources• Drawing upon visual sources• Reading historical narratives imaginatively• Obtaining historical data from a variety of sources• Supporting interpretations with historical evidence
  • 19. Activity: Dateline History Analyzing and Interpreting CollectionsCollections are sets ofdocuments, objects, photographs, etc. thatare gathered together. Museums, archives and libraries accept collections from individuals, groups and businesses to preserve for the future and make available to writers, researchers and the public.
  • 20. Collections• The original recorder of a collection gathers materials together using their own criteria. For example, a corporation may order its records chronologically. An individual may group similar items together.• The way collections are ordered may provide important contextual information.
  • 21. Be Aware of Bias! Every source is biased in some way, and must be viewed critically and cross-checked. • Who created the source? Why? • Was the source meant to inform, or persuade? • What were the recorder’s interests? • What’s missing from the record?John Ford and Gregg Toland, December 7th, 20th Century Fox
  • 22. Track Down Other LeadsA good journalist (and historian) must be fair and balanced.• Use multiple sources• Report every side of the story possible• Approach every subject with objectivity and skepticism Howard Hawks, His Girl Friday, Columbia Pictures
  • 23. The Story, The Skinny, The Lowdown… In 1902, Buckeye Malleable Iron and Coupler Company decided to expand to meet the increasing demand for standardized steel parts for railroad cars.Because of limited (and expensive) real estate in the downtown area, Buckeye decided to build its new plant just south of the Columbus city limits, taking advantage of existing railroad lines, in a neighborhood that would become known as Steelton. The company would soon change its name to the Buckeye Steel Castings Company.
  • 24. Your Big Assignment! Alright, Scoop. You’ve just been handed the biggest assignment of your life…The cover!!! of Harper’s Weekly. Your crack staff has sent you some research. Look carefully through it in order to write your exposé on Buckeye Steel Castings. What’s it like to work there? What is the impact on the neighborhood and the city? Your readers want to know!
  • 25. Wrap Up• What information is missing from your story?• What sources are missing from your story?
  • 26. Historical Thinking Skills• Appreciating historical perspectives• Considering multiple perspectives• Evaluating sources for bias• Supporting interpretations with historical evidence• Constructing a narrative
  • 27. 21st Century SkillsDevelop the Skills of Historians – Analyze – Synthesize – Support an argument – Project-based learning
  • 28. 21st Century SkillsDevelop the Skills of Historians 21st Century Learning Skills- Critical Thinking – Analyze Exercise sound reasoning – Synthesize Make complex choices – Support an argument Understand interconnections – Project-based learning Frame, analyze and solve problems
  • 29. 21st Century Skills
  • 30. 21st Century Skills
  • 31. 21st Century Skills• Technology and Social Studies
  • 32. Social Studies 2.0 Post CommentTag Upload embed Share FriendFAN Like retweet CREATE Mashup
  • 33. How about a video?Created using Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows - Free Download
  • 34. PowerPointFREE Alternatives• OpenOffice IMPRESS Open Source Software• Google docs Presentations Advantage: Easy to share!• slideshare – This presentation on slideshare
  • 35. History as Conversation • In January 2008, the Library of Congress launched a pilot program on Flickr • Not only did people look; but they tag, favorite, share, comment, • and enhance the Prints and Photographs catalog records with new information!
  • 36. Social Media• facebook• twitter• blogs• flickr• YouTube• tumblr
  • 37. Social Media• facebook• twitter• blogs• flickr• youtube
  • 38. Questions?• Thank you