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.

Breaking the “Content Trap”

Historical content is cool, interesting, surprising, scary, humbling, inspiring, and funny; sometimes all of those things. But, learning or memorizing content is not in itself and education. It does not train the brain to think critically, analyze, investigate, nor infer. It is the best part of the journey of historical education, but should not also be final destination for students.