Download Transcript: Student Historical Thinking

In this video (continued from the previous item), 4th-grade Virginia Studies teacher Stacy Hoeflich uses a primary source, John Smith’s 1612 map of Virginia, to help her students understand European settlement of Virginia. In this part of this lesson, Hoeflich conducts a de-briefing session with the students, in which they share what they noticed and discuss what conclusions they drew from the activity.

Putting primary sources in students’ hands is a great way to allow them to “do history.” Students engage in close reading, critical thinking, and interpretation. Students take ownership of their learning by constructing their own knowledge. They begin to understand that history is complex, that there are many ways of interpreting the past, and that individual events can be related to larger themes and ideas. Throughout this course you will have opportunities to use primary sources to learn more about Virginia’s history, and to think about how to use primary sources with your students.

Source: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Classroom: John Smith Map, Part 2 (Fairfax, VA, 2010), accessed September 16, 2011. Full video and lesson in Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and Loudoun County Public Schools, “Source Analysis: John Smith Map,” Foundations of U.S. History, accessed September 16, 2011.


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