Historical Thinking

What is History?

HISTORY versus history

Myths in American History

What does it mean to Think Historically?

Historical thinking is an active and logical process of learning history by conducting investigations of past events using both primary and secondary sources.

National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA

1. Chronological Thinking 2. Historical Comprehension 3. Historical Analysis and Interpretation 4. Historical Research Capabilities 5. Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making



1. Establish Historical Significance 2. Use Primary Source Evidence 3. Identify Continuity and Change 4. Analyze Cause and Consequence 5. Take Historical Perspectives 6. Understand Ethical Dimensions of History
Dr. Peter Seixas, University of British Columbia Director, Benchmarks of Historical Thinking Project http://www.histori.ca/benchmarks/


Sam Wineburg, Co-Director School of Education Stanford University Roy Rosenzweig, Co-Director Center for History and New Media George Mason University http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/ index.php


Conversations with the Past
Based on a lecture by Peter Seixas at the Historica Fair, Vancouver, British Columbia – May 1, 2009

What are the elements of a good conversation?

Conversations with the Past Challenges

1. Historical Perspectives
- The past is a foreign place.

2. Evidence
- The Past is Gone! - There is no perfect source.
http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/video/4 _weighing_evidence.html

3. Significance
- So What?
http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/video/8 _bts_howardzinn.html

4. Ethical Judgments
- Who is responsible for what happened in the past? - How should we judge them?

Why does Historical Thinking matter?

Building a Historical Thinking Program PreK-12

PreK – Grade 1
- Time can be measured - Chronological Order and Sequencing - Continuity and Change - Sharing Personal Histories - Artifact Analysis

Grade 2
- Timelines and Calendars - Continuity and Change - Primary Source (Artifact) Analysis - Biographies – impact of people’s action on the world

Grade 3
- Timelines and Line Graphs (Years, Decades, and Centuries) - Continuity and Change - Primary and Secondary Source Analysis - Document-based Questions

Grade 4
- Timelines of Significant Events (Years, Decades, and Centuries) - Primary and Secondary Source Analysis (including Tables and Charts) - Document-based Questions - Continuity and Change - Creation of Historical Narratives

Grades 5-12
- Multi-tier or Parallel Timelines - Primary and Secondary Source Analysis - Document-based Questions - Free Response Questions - Multiple Perspectives - Socratic Seminars and Debates - Formal Research Projects - Judgments and Issues in History

Where do we start?

Annie Oakley Historical Investigation


Primary and Secondary Source Analysis

Document-based Questions (DBQ’s)
AP Central

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