Historical thinking engages students in understanding how we discover new knowledge and make claims based on evidence. It is central to Lincoln Public Schools’ Social Studies Department philosophy that students gather information, analyze sources, and make meaning from the past as opposed to simply being asked to learn a “settled” narrative. These skills are emphasized in the C3 Framework, which was adopted by the National Council for the Social Studies. The specific skills of close reading, sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and considering multiple perspectives were adapted from the Stanford History Education Group.
As such, teachers write innovative inquiry-based historical thinking lesson plans that incorporate instructional technology, which helps students read and think about how primary documents can be used to answer important historical questions. Professional learning opportunities (available for secondary social studies teachers) are designed to equip teachers with strategies, such as multiple reads and text-dependent questions, to empower students to use feedback as they read and think like historians. Teachers help curriculum leaders design technology-enhanced district common assessments that make student historical thinking visible and facilitate discussions between teachers about curriculum and pedagogy.
Although all our social studies courses use the skills of historians, it is most prevalent in our history courses grades 3-8 and 10-11. We work regularly with ELA leaders and teachers to identify places in which our work supports one another. For example, the use of evidence to support claims.