If you read my post on Common Core “look-fors” last week, you already know that the new national standards demand the use of more non-fiction texts and primary source documents.
Given that many of the textbooks in American schools feature few, if any, primary sources, where can teachers turn to find the texts they need?
One place is Stanford’s Reading Like A Historian Curriculum. It features a series of lesson plans, complete with primary source documents and suggested instructional strategies.
I like what Stanford has put together for 3 reasons:
- The questions in the lesson plans are engaging. – Students grapple with real issues and ambiguous situations in history. For example, which account of Pocahontas’ life is accurate? Why do you think so?
- The texts are rigorous. – Students read actual historical accounts and examine documents from different time periods. The lessons also provide accounts from historians, allowing students to examine and evaluate bias first hand. This builds the context that history is an active process that requires interpretation.
- The topic selection isn’t comprehensive; it’s purposeful. – You won’t find a lesson on every event from the beginning of time to the present. Stanford presents a carefully curated series of topics aimed at building student understanding.
I hope this helps!