AP World & Causation: Round 2

When students are making historical arguments they need tools that help them think through vast quantities of content quickly and provide a scaffold for complexity. I like to use two different activities that introduce two "Frameworks for Analysis" to help them do this, one for causes and one for effects.

Teach historiography in high school!

Seeing the methods and philosophical traditions that uphold the creation of narrative is an important lesson for any student of history. Interpretation is an act that is debated and ever-evolving, and it provides great opportunities for practicing historical thinking. There are some great entry-points into historiography in most curriculum that will deepen students' ability to analyze alternative viewpoints and get them discussing ideas and modes of thinking instead of fact. In my experience, students respond to such a compelling challenge.

Skill-based Enduring Understandings

I use skills-based enduring understandings to design my lesson activities, create and tune assessments, and plan my units so that they are aligned and have strong progression of skills. History teachers who already teach skills will not find all of these new nor incredibly insightful. It's how you use the enduring understandings that can be transformative in the classroom.

Teaching US History Thematically

Rather than try to teach everything, a thematic approach allows me to focus on the key concepts, essential questions, and enduring understandings that are central to understanding the development of the United States. These serve as a magnetic poles around which students can make sense of the content that is taught. I would argue this helps instruct historical significance while also preventing students from getting lost in a cacophony of historical details.