Making History Meaningful

This PowerPoint presentation, developed by Tom Morton for the BC Heritage Fairs Association, suggests how integrating historical thinking into heritage fair projects can make history very meaningful.



"Conversations With The Past" - Peter Seixas Engages Students at Historica Fair

In this 2009 podcast, Peter Seixas engages intermediate-level students in a dialogue about how it is difficult to study the past.


Historica Fair - Vancouver, May 1st 2009 from Historical Consciousness on Vimeo.

Podcast with Peter Seixas, June 2012

Listen to a 12-minute podcast interview with Dr. Peter Seixas discussing historiography:  how history is taught, what stories are told, by whom, and how. Especially, why history is important to teach. Professor Seixas also discusses the Toronto 2012 Summer Institute in Historical Thinking for educators.

Please note that the podcast will take a minute to load. You can then fast forward to the time signature 32:30 to hear the interview with Dr. Seixas.

Doing History with Wah Chong's Ironing and Washing

In this short article, Peter Seixas uses six historical thinking concepts to explore a photo of the Wah Chong family from Vancouver in 1884. Seixas asks:

What uses can we make of a trace, an archived remnant, in opening up early British Columbia history?

How can it help us to understand the process of doing history?

This article, and the activities it contains, works well at the secondary school level.

CBC Radio story explores Historical Thinking

CBC radio ran a back-to-school story on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 on the fundamental changes that are sweeping history education across the country.

This story features Professor Ruth Sandwell, of the University of Toronto, and her program Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, as well as Jill Colyer, national coordinator of The Historical Thinking Project, and the work the HT Project is doing in Canadian classrooms across the country.

Sandwell notes that the current changes in history education are similar to those that occurred in science education a generation ago: “Teachers realized that if you are going to teach science it is not really enough to memorize plant names or processes of the digestive system. There is actually something called a scientific method . . . so in a way what is happening to history education is an equivalent kind of revolution.”

Colyer adds that this shift in history education is crucial as educators try to prepare students for the 21st century, particularly because students are drowning in information accessible online. “It is difficult to make sense of that information unless you have a conceptual framework that allows you to ask particular questions, think hard about sourcing and accuracy and quality of evidence.”

Listen to the story.


Exemplary History Teaching Videos Using Historical Thinking Concepts

Our partner THEN/HiER filmed two teachers delivering exemplary lessons in the classroom using the Historical Thinking Concepts. Click on the link below to see the following videos:

Video 1 - Ms Janet Thompson's classroom (19:02)

This is a video of a Social Studies 11 lesson asking students to consider the question "Does Canada deserve its reputation as a peace-loving nation?" by examining a number of post WWII events from the perspective of which pole--peace or war--they appeared to push Canada towards.

Video 2 - Mr. Lawrence Jakoy's classroom (14:31)

This video features a Social Studies 11 lesson that asks students to consider change over time in Canada's record on racial tolerance over the 20th century. Here in the first of two lessons, the group spends some time defining terms and then students are broken down into groups that move through a number of resource stations examining political cartoons, old newspaper stories, Statistics Canada data, immigration policy details, and sections from the textbook to gather evidence which they jot down on timeline worksheets.

Video 3 - Mr. Lawrence Jakoby's classroom (15:00)

Here in the second part of the lesson, students work in groups to build 'tolerance thermometers' which take the shape of large line graphs where students chart the relative degree of tolerance shown by Canadians towards five specific ethnic groups over the 20th century.

Video 4 - Ms Janet Thompson's classroom (19:11)

This video features a Social Studies 9 lesson in which students classify a series of causes of the Northwest Rebellion that the class had generated in a previous lesson.

What is a Benchmark?

<p>John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising &amp; Marketing History,<br />Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections</p>

A surveyor cut a "benchmark" into a stone or a wall when measuring the altitude and/or level of a tract of land. A bracket called a "bench" was secured in the cut to mount the surveying equipment, and all subsequent measurements were made in reference to the position and height of that mark.

The term "benchmark" was first used around 1842 to refer to a standard of quality by which achievement may be measured.

The foundation documents available through the Benchmarks site attempt to help teachers establish standards for assessing student learning of the modes of thought that constitute historical thinking.

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History,
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections