NHD is the best social studies style program I have seen that gets students to apply their knowledge and skills to a real world question, and engage with the wider community about their research and passions.
I will never give up my intrinsic love of and passion for content, but it needs to be tempered with the recognition that students need more. Content is merely the roadmap to a skill set that will help every student think more deeply about and engage more critically with the world around them.
In the race to cover content it is easy to overlook the importance of scaffolding historical thinking during instruction. It is easy to ask students to analyze causes and effects, make comparisons, or effectively source documents; but harder to make sure students have a clear path to showing proficiency. Without clear scaffolding, without a system for teaching historical thinking, students are more likely to fall into "kitchen-sinkism." That is, they are more likely to think that copious amounts of detail and content, regardless of its relative significance, constitutes good history. Some students will always get to the goal on their own, but scaffolding helps all students have a clear path forward.
Although the complexity point is difficult for students to earn, it is possible. Depending on the historical thinking skill or topic being written about, there are some easy frameworks students can use in their arguments to make writing with complexity a habit.
Review activities for AP World History Modern
The use of primary sources has become increasingly common in history classrooms. Educators and researchers have been broadly pushing for this years. Specifically, this has been part of a call for the explicit teaching of historical thinking skills alongside prioritized content. Interestingly, the largest barriers to increased use of primary sources in the classroom that I have witnessed are not student reading ability, but a lack of teacher training and experience as well as access to materials.
As students grow older they ask fewer questions. How can teachers fight back against this trend, integrating questioning strategies into their pedagogy in order to encourage inquiry and analytical depth?
When I started teaching AP World in 2016 I relied heavily on tips and advice from my APSI as well as resources from other teachers kind enough to share them. I also borrowed a few structures that I had been successful with when teaching AP Econ. Over the years my approach has developed into several … Continue reading Approaching AP World History
Unit 6 is one of my favorite units to teach in AP World, and is arguably one of the most important for understanding contemporary global issues. The unit's content demands thinking about how we teach imperialism as much as what we are teaching. Student engagement is important, but also building historical empathy and training students to think critically about sensitive issues.
This post contains proficiency scales I have drafted for all C3 history standards for high school. Hopefully they offer a clear starting point for teaching and assessing historical thinking in addition to content.