I want to organize and post some of the units and resources that I have planned and created for teaching US history thematically. Even though the formatting, language, and organization reflects the unique standards and context of the school where I taught the course, I hope it can be useful as a resource. Many activities, ideas, and standards can be easily adapted for different content, students, or grading systems.
I use a lot of primary sources in each unit. Many of these come from Stanford Reading like a Historian, Fordham Online Sourcebook, or other databases.
Standards: Proficiency Scales & Student Friendly Rubrics
These standards all came from the National Center for History in Schools. The numbers attached to each standard were for our own internal records keeping, but also align to the NCHS framework, linked here.
Each standard has a proficiency scale that follows the Marzano template and a student friendly rubric that was formatted based on a template by Danelle Elder in her book Standard-Based Scoring vs. Grading: A Classroom Guide. The “Assessment Notes” section of the proficiency scales became a catch-all for teacher ideas and notes; Otherwise, the Proficiency scales and rubrics are the same, just presented in different formats. These documents provided a firm foundation to the curriculum, but to an extent, they were living documents, thus expanding and being fine-tuned over time.
Measurement Topic 1: Chronological Thinking
Measurement Topic 2: Historical Comprehension
- “Sourcing” Primary Sources: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
- Contextualization: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
Measurement Topic 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
- Historical Perspectives: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
- Multiple Causation: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
- Historiography: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
Measurement Topic 4: Historical Research Capabilities
- Evaluating Sources: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
- Argumentation: Proficiency Scale – Student Friendly Rubric
Standards: Vertical Alignment Documents 6-12
Many of the standards stretch across grade levels. The following documents were an attempt to unpack the standard for each grade level. NCHS did not already provide guidelines for grade level bands, so this had to be done on our own. With the argumentation expectations we tried to align to common core expectations. Some examples are below.
Unit 1: The American Character & Ideology
- America Character (article excerpts) – by Michael Collins
- Primary Sources – Stanford Reading Like a Historian – I use many of their primary sources since they are already excerpted and scaffolded. They integrate well with the NCHS standards.
- Presidential Speeches Analysis – Speech Excerpts – Analysis Assignment
- Formative Assessment Example: Primary Source Analysis Indentured Servant Contract
- Summative Assessment Example: Primary Source Analysis
- Unit Assessment: CCOT Research Project
Unit 2: Immigration
- Point of View/Perspective Analysis Chart – Build to align to the NCHS standards
- Manifest Destiny Summative Project – Assess POV/Perspective Analysis as well as use of primary sources
- Circle of Viewpoints Discussion – Summative Discussion – Industrial Era Immigration
- Evaluating Historiography Summative – Howard Zinn and John Higham
Unit 4: Boom & Bust: Economics and Development
- Summative DBQ Directions – End of the Great Depression
- Historiography Case Study – Road to the Model T Journal Article – Socratic Seminar Guiding Questions
- Pullman Strike Discussion Prep Sheet – Historical Points of View
Unit 6: War, Peace, and Global Leadership
- Political Cartoon Analysis Questions – Aligned to NCHS standards – Created to use with the Philippine-American War Political Cartoon series by Stanford Reading like a historian.
- Spanish-American War Timeline PPT
- Summative DBQ – US Foreign Policy 1850-1941 – Students brought a lot of outside info into this DBQ from our unit.
- Debates on US Empire Lesson – Great sources and structure from EDSITEment.