Doing History: What Historians Do
Historians, Students and Teachers Doing History--Version: January, 2005
Understand context |
Draw conclusions |
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Choose a topic
|What historians do when they "do history"
||What students do when they "do history"
||What teachers do to help their students "do history"
- In response to current events, their own previous research,
or new publications or findings by colleagues, historians decide to
investigate a historical topic.
- Select a topic in history about which they can contribute knowledge
to the public discourse in a way that informs their community’s understanding
of the meaning of this person, place, or event.
- Start with a question and then revise that question in light of the documents
they find so that their final research question emerges out of a dialogue between
their interests and the documents available.
- In response to experiences provided by their teacher,
students choose from a selection of historical events, locations,
persons that provided them by their teacher.
- Write a list of anything they know about this event already (not every little
detail, but the large ideas)
- Build background knowledge
- Discern issues in the event(s), location(s), person(s)
- Decide upon the focus of their inquiry
- Pick a number of event(s), location(s), person(s)in local American
history that they find interesting
- Identify for themselves why they find these events, locations, people meaningful.
- Provide students with experiences to provoke interest, deeper questions.
- Make topic(s) compelling by relating it to students’ lives.
- Identify the larger themes that are found within – identity, justice, idealism vs. realism, etc
- Do background research on the theme or period in American history and its local connections.
- Help their students to choose a topic in American history.
- Help them to find out enough about a series of events, locations, people with
local connections to make an informed decision to find out more about one in particular.
- Align their choices with the state history standards.