Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Historical Thinking Matters

One of the best free Websites available that adequately scaffolds students' evaluation, corroboration, and synthesis of multiple conflicting sources (yes, the full package of historical thinking) is Sam Wineburg's recent digital project, Historical Thinking Matters. Thus far, the four units include: Spanish American War, Scopes (Monkey) Trial, Social Security, and Rosa Parks/Montgomery Bus Boycott.

I often use this site in my methods courses to give students a sense of how essential/critical questions, graphic organizers, questioning strategies with heuristics (e.g., sourcing), think aloud models, highlighting critical features, and multiple representations can help learners engage in the rigorous task of historical thinking. Be sure to check out the Teacher Materials section for printable resources such as graphic organizers. (This link is an example of the resouces available for the Spanish American War exercise. The links that follow are also for the Spanish American War unit.) Also under the Teacher Materials section is a tab for sources, which include full, modified, and Spanish text to increase the accessibility of the written sources for diverse learning needs. Finally, be sure to check out different interpretations of each topic in the resouces tab under the Teaching Matierals section.