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How can you think like a

Historian?
“Not to know what happened before one was
born is always to be a child.”
Cicero 100 B.C.
By PMcElhaney (Point Loma High)
From Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and
Other Un-Natural Acts
How do Historians Reconstruct the
Past?
 What do they do?  What tools do they use?

 Why study history?


 History serves as a bank
of examples for
contemplating present
problems.
 Historians use the following tools to investigate
and reconstruct the past.
1. Historical Imagination 13. Economic History
2. Multicultural Perspective 14. Interpretation
3. Point of View 15. Bias/Subjectivity
4. Compare and Contrast 16. Evidence
5. Cause and Effect 17. Primary Source
6. Analyzing 18. Artifact
7. Distinguishing Fact From 19. Context
Opinion 20. Objective;
8. Evaluating Objectivity
9. Political History 21. Historiography

10. Social History 22. Frame of Reference

11. Military History 23. Credibility

12. Comparative History


 Define As Many of these as possible.

1. Historical Imagination 13. Economic History


2. Multicultural Perspective 14. Interpretation
3. Point of View 15. Bias/Subjectivity
4. Compare and Contrast 16. Evidence
5. Cause and Effect 17. Primary Source
6. Analyzing 18. Artifact
7. Distinguishing Fact From 19. Context
8. Opinion: Evaluating 20. Objective;
9. Political History Objectivity
10. Social History 21. Historiography

11. Military History 22. Frame of Reference

12. Comparative History 23. Credibility


One Pager
 TERM: Definition of term across the top of page
(write neatly)

 Create a visual depiction of the term.


 This can be a diagram, image, chart, graph, or
symbols

 In your own words write a brief explanation of


how this term may be useful for students of
history.
Think like a Historian, Look for:
 the author’s intention.
 bias
 evidence
 argument
 sources
 Context of the period the document was
written
Contextual Thinking:
Context of a document or event offers clues
that help understanding.
 When, Where, How?
 What proceeded?
 What followed?
 Why the document or event took place
 Who wrote or said it
 To whom was it written?
 What purpose?
 What intent?
 What Consequence?
A.C.A.P.S. is a great strategy.
 To understand documents and the
meaning they hold, analyze them
according to this method:
 Author
 Context
 Audience
 Purpose
 Significance
How about a S.P.R.I.T.E.?
 S. Social
 P. Political
 R. Religious
 I. Intellectual
 T. Technological
 E. Economic
Questions Kids should ask
themselves:
 How is the past different than today?

 What is the significance of this event,


person, place, or document…?

 What can the modern generation learn


from the past?
Kids need to
 Read aloud and think aloud through the
Historical Process.
 Think about people, places, and events in
the past through the eyes of someone
living in the past.
 balance present minded thinking with
thinking in the past
 Make connections and draw conclusions.
“Just the Facts”?
 Facts by themselves are meaningless.
 Facts are only important when we give
them meaning.
Skilled Readers of History
 Talk to themselves as they read-
 The conversation ranges:
 Meaning of the text
 Author’s purpose, message, and
personality/background-
 Think about why the author says what he
says and what he means by saying it.
Contextual Thinking
 or thinking about events through the
perspective of the period it unfolded.
Context of an event or
document includes:
 When, Where, How
 What proceeded?
 What followed?
 Why the document or event took place
 Who wrote or said it
 To whom was it written or said
 What purpose
 What intent
 What consequence
Students of History Need to:
 Talk to each other
 Write term papers
 Discuss the significance of topics they study
 Debate
 Get into the mind of the people who lived
history!
 Search for cause and motive
 Investigate- values, perspectives,
 Students need to embrace beliefs not their own
and argue them with zest.