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I stand corrected. In an earlier comment, I suggested that the website would be enhanced with an anchor set of authentic student assessments as well as teaching points for instruction. Having browsed more, I see that it offers both. Now I'm wondering how I might effectively help train almost 200 teachers K-12 to understand and apply this approach in their various history/social studies classes. If any educators have done so, please e-mail. Meanwhile, thanks for giving me this wonderful resource.

The starting point for your educators is to get them to have the discussion that history is no longer about mere memorization. It needs to be about student ability to assess, evaluate, and examine historical events/concepts/situations through multiple perspectives and then to be able to defend their understanding. This will be the biggest hurdle as many history teachers believe content width is more important than depth and having the students really learn valid historical thinking skills.

Currently, within the district I teach we are in the process of evaluating our objectives as history teachers. What do we want our students to achieve within each grade level (the historical skills) and from there we then analyze and evaluate what tools we are going to use to advance students in learning history. We also realize that we need to make history relevant to ensure that we are sustainable as a discipline. Having educators exposed to CCSS also is vital as there are key standards that apply directly to history/social studies.

My PLC team is in the process of using this site as a major tool to help us develop new methods of assessing in history.

The level of thinking required by recognizing both the source and corroboration to this type of document is a lifetime skill that students need. It required students to challenge the phrase “the entire Union Army.” Recognizing sweeping generalizations and the accuracy of the statements are at the core of ELA. This skill would transfer immediately to reading today’s paper or listening to a news broadcast.

Agreed! We're talking about thinking skills - helping people develop critical skills that will help them as informed citizens.

I like the adaptation tips. They are practical and helpful. Concepts such as less text, larger font, and wider margins are very under-friendly. I'm attracted to the concept of quality instead of quantity, especially when the goal is to strengthen close reading skills. Focusing attention on core statements and making the text more reader-friendly = win-win!

What I don't understand is how to grade their responses. How do I put a numeric grade to these three categories? I suppose it would be A, B, C. But what constitutes lower than that?

Thanks for your comment! The rubrics that we have included on the website are intended to provide teachers with broad guidelines for evaluating student responses. Our rubrics identify the elements of exemplary responses and common students mistakes, but we do not know enough about the individual contexts of specific schools to make recommendations about assigning numeric or letter grades. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

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