Students’ use of Historical Thinking

How students use historical thinking (e.g., concepts, inquiry skills, primary sources) in this project using specific examples from student work submissions:

Students first use historical thinking to analyze and interpret primary source documents. They note chronology, turning point events, and trends in progress and decline when studying continuity and change.  Research findings are organized in comparison charts, graphic organizers and concept maps. In all research phases, students create and document questions and responses to their findings. Depending on the student’s research focus and choices, any of the 6 Historical Thinking Concepts can be used in the student’s historical thinking.

Students identify individuals, groups, events and spaces that are historically significant. They assume historical perspectives and gather evidence to characterize the “voices” in the Ward. They then identify emerging ethical issues and develop a list of questions to scaffold their on-site field work and shape their summative assignments.

Sidelya G.’s research focused on the 1899 Old City Hall and how its construction displaced Jewish Immigrants in the Ward.  In her document analysis, she observed patterns of continuity and change, identified ethical issues of concern and looked for evidence of related historical perspectives. During her onsite fieldwork, she noted that the plaque for Old City Hall does not acknowledge the sacrifices of displaced Jewish immigrants in the Ward. Her assignment was the creation of an anti-plaque which commemorated the Jewish residents who experienced greater sacrifices in their relocation from the Ward.

Shahil P. and Jason B.’s research for their Found Historic Objects Walking Tour stemmed from their work with primary source documents and their research of multiple historical perspectives. Their tour told stories of the lives of children, semi-skilled workers, women, Jewish and Chinese immigrants and politicians who lived and worked in the Ward.  Akhsat P., Daniel M. and George M.’s research for their Historical Spaces Then and Now Tour required them to identify patterns of continuity and change when comparing archival and contemporary photographs of some of the Ward’s most important social, cultural and political buildings.


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