Students Guides - History

Students Guides - History

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Girl Guides

Girl Guides (known as Girl Scouts in the United States and some other countries) is a movement found worldwide, which was originally and still largely designed for girls and women only. This organization was introduced in 1909, because girls demanded to take part in the then grassroots Boy Scout Movement. [1]

In different places around the world, the movement developed in diverse ways. In some places, girls joined or attempted to join Scouting organizations. [2] In other places, all girl groups were started independently, and as time went on, some of these all girl groups started to open up to boys, while others' started to merge with the boys' organizations. In other instances, mixed groups were formed, sometimes to later split. In the same way, the name Girl Guide or Girl Scout has been used by groups at different times and in different places, with some groups changing from one to another.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was formed in 1928 and has member organisations in 145 countries. There are now more than 10 million members worldwide. [3] WAGGGS celebrated the centenary of the international Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting Movement over three years, from 2010 to 2012.


Informal Scout and Guide Clubs have existed as early as 1915, when the first generation of Scouts grew out of Scouting age yet wanted to keep some sense of fraternity. Some early organizations at colleges were known as Baden-Powell Guilds and Saint George Guilds. [ citation needed ] A world equivalent to this exists today in the International Scout and Guide Fellowship, or ISGF. Some of the first clubs were set up in university towns, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and London. Inter-club activities were run intermittently until 1927. By 1920, Rover Scouts had been set up for people over 18 but many people were also part of Scout and Guide clubs. University clubs banded together to form an Inter-Varsity organisation while College based clubs formed a similar set-up. It was not until 1947 that inter-club meetings started again, and even then only for the Varsity clubs (those from universities, rather than colleges). Only two colleges (Loughborough and North Staffordshire) were admitted to Varsity. No other colleges were admitted, partially because of snobbery in the old red-brick establishments. The Federation of Scout and Guide Clubs in Training Colleges was set up in 1956 for colleges, and a year later it formed the Intercollegiate organisation. In 1967, the Intercollegiate and Inter-Varsity merged to form SSAGO due to the dwindling number of colleges as many became universities.

SSAGO was 40 in 2007, to celebrate this event a special emblem was designed and the Summer Rally replaced with a Reunion Event held near Lincoln in July. Whilst this event was run as a Rally there were some noticeable differences there were fireworks on the Friday night, all members old, new and SAGGA (who themselves are celebrating their 50th Anniversary) were invited to attend along with visits from prestigious guests such as Liz Burnley the current Chief Guide.

United Kingdom Scout and Guide Clubs and Rovers Crews were responsible for establishing an international Student Scout and Guide event called the Witan, named after the Anglo-Saxon gathering of the wise called a Witan. The first two such events were organised by the Oxford University Scout and Guide Group at Gilwell Park in 1959 and 1961. [1] [2]

Rally is a national camp, held once every term where SSAGO clubs around the UK meet up to socialize and participate in a weekend of activities. The size of a rally can vary from around 100 to over 250 people. The three rallies are held each year in February, June and November and, as they are hosted by different clubs each time, they offer an opportunity for participants to visit new places. The host club for each rally is chosen at the previous years' national SSAGO AGM.

Each rally has a theme chosen by the host club, which is incorporated into the rally through the different activities on offer across the weekend. Often, this includes experiences such as walks or hikes, on-site activities, visits to nearby attractions or simply an afternoon off with which to explore. In addition, rallies can also include a ceilidh and themed fancy-dress competition. [3]


  • *Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer 2020 rally (Survival Rally, organised by Plymouth SSAGO) had to be postponed, [25] and later cancelled. [26] Build-A-Rally and Green Rally Yellow Rally were run as virtual events.

In addition to the three rallies, there is also an annual ball hosted every year by a chosen SSAGO club. Ball provides an alternative to the camping and outdoors often associated with Scouting and Guiding by offering a formal meal, dancing and another chance to socialize with other SSAGO members.

Typically balls will be themed, with accommodation available nearby, varying from hotels to scout huts depending the participants' budget. Balls offer a packed evening program, giving everyone a chance to make new friends, catch up with old ones and have a great night outside of the campsite. Often, the ball will include activities nearby to help participants make a weekend of the event. [3]

  • *Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Steel Ball was postponed from April 2020 to February 2021, with a virtual event being held on the original date, however due to the continued restrictions on social contact within the UK the physical event was ultimately cancelled.

There are currently more than thirty universities with a SSAGO club. There are also at least ten that no longer exist. The Universities with a functioning SSAGO club are:

Activity Guides for Special Exhibitions

Throughout the year, the Bullock Museum hosts special exhibitions that allows visitors to explore history, art, and science in a different way. Use these downloads to enrich your students' experience while visiting the Museum or back in the classroom.

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World

From its origins in the Nile Valley to today, the guitar has rocked the world for more than 5,000 years. This exhibit takes visitors on a fascinating exploration of the science, sound, history, and pop culture behind the world's favorite instrument. Featuring an impressive display of rare and antique guitars, the exhibition is fun and educational for all ages.

  • Use the Educator Guide for curriculum connections and ideas for hands-on classroom activities. Please note, some elements of the exhibit have been modified due to COVID-19 protocols, so may be displayed differently than described in the Educator Guide.

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World is a Touring Exhibition of the National GUITAR Museum.

Sponsored by The Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hall Fund.

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow

Through personal stories, artifacts, music recordings, and historic footage, students will explore the struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the 50 years after the Civil War. Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow takes a national perspective on these transformative years with a particular focus on evolving definitions and expressions of equality and citizenship. Narratives center on African Americans who pursued the ideals of Reconstruction and persevered in the face of a developing legal system of Jim Crow laws and policies promoting racial inequality.

  • Request the Downloadable Classroom Poster Set to display. This free 8-piece poster series explores the years from the Civil War through World War I.
  • Use this Curriculum Guide with your students for an in-depth study of many of the primary source artifacts, images, and documents from the exhibition
  • "Visit" this interactive, virtual version of the exhibit and use this Discussion Guide to lead engaging and thought-provoking conversations with your students. that can be used at home or in the classroom to explore the topics from the exhibition as well as lessons that look more broadly at Black historical figures and the Black experience in American history.
  • More details on the exhibition

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow was organized by the New-York Historical Society. Lead support for the exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Major support provided by the Ford Foundation and Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Local support provided by Jeanne and Michael L. Klein.

Most people believe that history is a "collection of facts about the past." This is reinforced through the use of textbooks used in teaching history. They are written as though they are collections of information. In fact, history is NOT a "collection of facts about the past." History consists of making arguments about what happened in the past on the basis of what people recorded (in written documents, cultural artifacts, or oral traditions) at the time. Historians often disagree over what "the facts" are as well as over how they should be interpreted. The problem is complicated for major events that produce "winners" and "losers," since we are more likely to have sources written by the "winners," designed to show why they were heroic in their victories.

History in Your Textbook

Many textbooks acknowledge this in lots of places. For example, in one book, the authors write, "The stories of the conquests of Mexico and Peru are epic tales told by the victors. Glorified by the chronicles of their companions, the conquistadors, or conquerors, especially Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), emerged as heroes larger than life." The authors then continue to describe Cortés &rsquos actions that ultimately led to the capture of Cuauhtómoc, who ruled the Mexicas after Moctezuma died. From the authors&rsquo perspective, there is no question that Moctezuma died when he was hit by a rock thrown by one of his own subjects. When you read accounts of the incident, however, the situation was so unstable, that it is not clear how Moctezuma died. Note: there is little analysis in this passage. The authors are simply telling the story based upon Spanish versions of what happened. There is no interpretation. There is no explanation of why the Mexicas lost. Many individuals believe that history is about telling stories, but most historians also want answers to questions like why did the Mexicas lose?

What Are Primary Sources?

To answer these questions, historians turn to primary sources, sources that were written at the time of the event, in this case written from 1519-1521 in Mexico. These would be firsthand accounts. Unfortunately, in the case of the conquest of Mexico, there is only one genuine primary source written from 1519-1521. This primary source consists of the letters Cortés wrote and sent to Spain. Other sources are conventionally used as primary sources, although they were written long after the conquest. One example consists of the account written by Cortés &rsquos companion, Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Other accounts consist of Mexica and other Nahua stories and traditions about the conquest of Mexico from their point of view.

Making Arguments in the Textbook

Historians then use these sources to make arguments, which could possibly be refuted by different interpretations of the same evidence or the discovery of new sources. For example, the Bentley and Ziegler textbook make several arguments on page 597 about why the Spaniards won:

"Steel swords, muskets, cannons, and horses offered Cortés and his men some advantage over the forces they met and help to account for the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire".

"Quite apart from military technology, Cortés' expedition benefited from divisions among the indigenous peoples of Mexico."

"With the aid of Doña Marina, the conquistadors forged alliances with peoples who resented domination by the Mexicas, the leaders of the Aztec empire. "

Ideally, under each of these "thesis statements," that is, each of these arguments about why the Mexicas were defeated, the authors will give some examples of information that backs up their "thesis." To write effective history and history essays, in fact to write successfully in any area, you should begin your essay with the "thesis" or argument you want to prove with concrete examples that support your thesis. Since the Bentley and Ziegler book does not provide any evidence to back up their main arguments, you can easily use the material available here to provide evidence to support your claim that any one of the above arguments is better than the others. You could also use the evidence to introduce other possibilities: Mocteuzuma's poor leadership, Cortés' craftiness, or disease.

Become a Critical Reader

To become a critical reader, to empower yourself to "own your own history," you should think carefully about whether the evidence the authors provide does in fact support their theses. Since the Bentley and Ziegler book provides only conclusions and not much evidence to back up their main points, you may want to explore your class notes on the topic and then examine the primary sources included on the Conquest of Mexico on this web site.

Your Assignment for Writing History with Primary Sources

There are several ways to make this a successful assignment. First, you might take any of the theses presented in the book and use information from primary sources to disprove it&mdashthe "trash the book" approach. Or, if your professor has said something in class that you are not sure about, find material to disprove it&mdashthe "trash the prof" approach (and, yes, it is really okay if you have the evidence). Another approach is to include new information that the authors ignored. For example, the authors say nothing about omens. If one analyzes omens in the conquest, will it change the theses or interpretations presented in the textbook? Or, can one really present a Spanish or Mexica perspective? Another approach is to make your own thesis, i.e., one of the biggest reasons for the conquest was that Moctezuma fundamentally misunderstood Cortés.

When Sources Disagree

If you do work with the Mexican materials, you will encounter the harsh reality of historical research: the sources do not always agree on what happened in a given event. It is up to you, then, to decide who to believe. Most historians would probably believe Cortés&rsquo letters were the most likely to be accurate, but is this statement justified? Cortés was in the heat of battle and while it looked like he might win easy victory in 1519, he did not complete his mission until 1521. The Cuban Governor, Diego Velázquez wanted his men to capture Cortés and bring him back to Cuba on charges of insubordination. Was he painting an unusually rosy picture of his situation so that the Spanish King would continue to support him? It is up to you to decide. Have the courage to own your own history! Díaz Del Castillo wrote his account later in his life, when the Spaniards were being attacked for the harsh policies they implemented in Mexico after the conquest. He also was upset that Cortés' personal secretary published a book that made it appear that only Cortés was responsible for the conquest. There is no question that the idea of the heroic nature of the Spanish actions is clearest in his account. But does this mean he was wrong about what he said happened and why? It is up to you to decide. The Mexica accounts are the most complex since they were originally oral histories told in Nahuatl that were then written down in a newly rendered alphabetic Nahuatl. They include additional Mexica illustrations of their version of what happened, for painting was a traditional way in which the Mexicas wrote history. Think about what the pictures tell us. In fact, a good paper might support a thesis that uses a picture as evidence. Again, how reliable is this material? It is up to you to decide.

One way to think about the primary sources is to ask the questions: (1) when was the source written, (2) who is the intended audience of the source, (3) what are the similarities between the accounts, (4) what are the differences between the accounts, (5) what pieces of information in the accounts will support your thesis, and (6) what information in the sources are totally irrelevant to the thesis or argument you want to make.

A student's guide to history

TABLE OF CONTENTS -- The subject of history and how to use it -- What historians are trying to do -- What history can tell you -- History and the everyday world -- A brief journey into the past -- How historians work -- Schools of historical interpretation -- How to read a history assignment and take notes in class -- How to read a history assignment -- How to take notes in class -- Class participation -- Giving a formal class talk -- How to write a book review or short paper, and how to take an exam -- Book reviews -- Short papers -- Essay exams -- Objective exams -- Take-home exams -- How to research a history topic -- Selecting a topic -- Formulating your topic -- Finding information -- The library card catalog -- Card catalog information on people -- Card catalog information on places -- Card catalog information on general subjects -- The periodicals catalog -- Newspaper articles -- Nonprinted sources -- Reference books -- Locating materials and using call numbers -- Determining whether a book will be of use -- Reading books -- Taking notes -- Avoiding plagiarism -- Outlining and organizing -- Budgeting research time -- Historical materials outside the library -- How to research your family history -- How to write a research paper -- The theme -- Organization -- Writing the text -- Example of good writing style -- Footnotes -- Quotations -- Organizing a bibliography -- Revising and rewriting -- Typing form

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Adapting Documents for the Classroom: Equity and Access

Preparing and modifying primary source documents so that all students can read and analyze them in their history classrooms.

Although they are useful for engaging students in the past, and teaching them to think historically, primary source documents often use antiquated or complex language. This can pose a challenge even for able readers, let alone those who read below grade level. Adapting a variety of historical documents for use in the classroom will allow students greater access to important reading and thinking opportunities.

Adapting documents for the classroom includes the use of excerpts, helpful head notes, and clear source information. It means adjusting documents for non-expert readers and making them shorter, clearer, and more focused. Adaptations can also include simplifying syntax and vocabulary, conventionalizing punctuation and spelling, cutting nonessential passages, and directing attention to a document's key components.

  • Choose a document that is relevant to the historical question or topic that your class is studying. Consider what you want students to get out of the document. Will they try to unravel a historical puzzle? Corroborate another document? Dive deeper into a particular topic? Write a focus question for the lesson and the document.
  • Make sure that the source of the document is clear. State whether you found it online or in a book, clearly identify when, where, by whom, and for whom the source was originally created.
  • Create a head note that includes background information and even a brief reading guide. This helps students to focus on what they're reading while using background knowledge to make sense of it.
  • Focus the document. Although some documents may seem too important to edit, remember that students may be overwhelmed by passages that look too long. Judicious excerpting with a liberal use of ellipses makes any document more approachable and accessible. If students are confused by ellipses, shorten documents without them.

Consider simplifying the document. This can include the following modifications, but use them sparingly and carefully:

  • Cut confusing or nonessential phrases to make it shorter and easier to follow
  • Replace difficult words with easier synonyms
  • Modify irregular punctuation, capitalization, or spelling

Every adaptation is a tradeoff, so when in doubt, consider whether a particular adaptation is necessary for your students to access, understand, and analyze the document. Work on presentation. Brevity is important, especially in making a document student-friendly. Other techniques to render a document approachable include:

  • Use of large type (up to 16 point font)
  • Ample white space on the page
  • Use of italics to signal key words
  • Bolding challenging words
  • Providing a vocabulary legend
  • Devise a focus question to use with prepared documents. Introduce the question to your class and explain that reading each document will help them to answer it. (The focus question used in the example is "Why is the Homestead Act historically significant?")
  • Explain that the document has been adapted to make it clearer and more useful for today’s lesson. You can provide students with the original and the adapted documents or give them the adapted document, while projecting the original on a screen.
  • Direct students’ attention to parts that have been added to the document. Show them the document’s source information—its author, and the circumstances of its publication—while discussing how such information can help them understand the contents of a document. Show them the head note.
  • Identify words that have definitions provided, reminding students to underline or highlight other difficult words in the document in order to build vocabulary skills.
  • Encourage students to notice any italicized words which indicate emphasis and to make notes in the margins as they read.
  • Have students answer the focus question, using information and quotes as evidence from the document to support their answers.

Extension: As students become more adept with using documents, discontinue some of the reading supports. A useful companion lesson is to let students compare the original document with the edited version, to make explicit the modifications and consider whether they changed the document’s meaning or not.

  • Candidly explain that students are working with documents that have been specially prepared for the classroom. A phrase such as "Some of the language and phrasing in this document have been modified from the original" posted at the bottom of the page may be useful. Make sure the original document is available to students and allow anyone interested to compare it with the adapted version.
  • Do be careful, however, that the adapted document doesn't seem less valuable than the original. Emphasize to students that all historians struggle with using documents from the past. Adapting documents is simply a tool to help novice historians develop their skills and access rich content.
  • Use this method also when students are using multiple documents. In this case, instructional steps may be added to assist students in considering how documents work together and to help them answer the focus question.
  • The focus question should require that students read and understand the document, and use it as evidence in supporting their answers.

See here for original document, here for a transcribed version, and here for an adapted version of the Homestead Act of 1862.

See here for a transcribed version of "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" by Fredrick Douglass, and here for an adapted version of the document for use in a middle school classroom. To view the original document, see Foner, Philip. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II Pre-Civil War Decade 1850-1860 (New York: International Publishers, 1950).

See here for an original version of John Smith’s "A True Relation." See here for an adapted version appropriate for an elementary school classroom.

For more examples of modified document sets, see Historical Thinking Matters. Select "Teacher materials and strategies," select one of the four topics, and then select "materials" and "worksheets." For original and transcribed versions of milestone documents in US history, see 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Applying KWL Guides to Sources with Elementary Students

KWL Guides—what do I know, what do I want to know, what have I learned—offer a straightforward way to engage students in historical investigation and source analysis.

Using KWL guides in elementary history classes empowers students and teachers.

  1. KWL guides engage students via a simple format. They place the students' observations, questions, and knowledge development at the center of exploring historical sources. Students are able to connect new knowledge to prior knowledge, and generate and investigate questions.
  2. Most elementary teachers are familiar with KWL guides to structure inquiry in various subjects, from literature to science, but analyzing primary historical sources can be a new experience, leaving teachers hesitant to incorporate them in their teaching. Applying the KWL approach to primary source analysis encourages teachers to adopt a constructivist approach to history instruction, as it taps their confidence in using a familiar strategy to teach a new subject.

The KWL chart is a metacognition strategy designed by Donna Ogle in 1986. It prompts students to activate prior knowledge, generate questions to investigate, and inventory the new knowledge that emerges from investigation. The acronym stands for: K: students identify what they already KNOW about a subject. W: students generate questions about what they WANT to learn about the subject. L: students identify what they LEARNED as they investigated. In lower elementary history studies, the entire class looks at projected images or documents and together fills out a KWL chart. In the middle grades teachers may model the process. Once students gain proficiency, they are allowed to work in pairs or groups. Primary sources can be incorporated at various times during a history lesson. Teachers may use them to introduce a unit or to expand a student's understanding and empathy for a topic. Directions below describe how to use the KWL primary source analysis during a unit, but they are easily adapted to use at the start of a unit.

  1. Choose a source to explore with your students. Books in school or public libraries also offer historical images and documents.
  1. Motivate historical inquiry
  2. Supply evidence for historical accounts
  3. Convey information about the past
  4. Provide insight into the thoughts and experiences of people in the past (1)

1. Review the class's history learning to this point. Have students take turns walking and talking sections of your unit timeline, or ask students to brainstorm important themes they have explored thus far. In middle elementary, ask students to pair up and explain to another student what they learned the previous day. For lower elementary, call on students at random to share their thoughts with the whole class. 2. Following this review, explain that students can explore more about (the unit topic) by studying an information source from the actual time of the historic event. To illustrate this idea, contrast the date of the source you are examining with the copyright date of a fiction or nonfiction book you have read to your class. Eventually, at the end of this activity, you will return to the book and help your students understand how its author may have examined primary sources as s/he prepared to write it. 3. Introduce the KWL chart with knowledge questions as a guide to explore a source. If you have not used a KWL before, or if students are not familiar with the format, explain what the letters stand for and how they help us look closely at a source of information, make a list of what we already know about the source, and ask questions to help us learn more. 4. Model the KWL process with the entire class. Project a source via LCD or overhead projector. Conduct the K portion of your KWL (what do I think I already know about this source). After students carefully read or view the source, brainstorm a list of things they know about the image, artifact, or document. To help students activate their knowledge, structure interactions with sources by asking:

What/who do you think is in the source? (inventory the objects in an image or the components of a written source) What do you think is happening? (summarize the action or meaning) When do you think it is happening? Why do you think it is happening? Why do you think someone created the source in the first place? How did you come up with your answers? If people appear in the document or image, how do you think they felt?

5. Conduct the W portion (what do I want to know and how can I find out more). Ask students to:

Brainstorm aspects of the source they are uncertain about Brainstorm a list of questions about the source itself Brainstorm how they might find answers to their questions

6. Conduct the L portion of your KWL (what I've learned about or from this source).

Seek answers to the questions, or return to them as you investigate other sources and topics for your history unit and as answers emerge from those explorations. If you decide to investigate some questions right away, have the entire class work together, or divide students into groups and assign each group a question to investigate. Groups can use such research resources as the internet, school media center, or oral history interviews. Give the groups any books related to their question. When you send groups to the media center/library, alert your media specialist in advance so s/he may assist students with their searches. This activity is an excellent way to introduce or reinforce the use of search engines, tables of contents, and indexes to locate information. Update the guide by inventorying what your students have learned about the source and about the larger history topic by studying this source.

7. Brainstorm and take inventory of remaining unanswered questions raised by students while investigating the source.

Extend learning for better readers. Ask them to decipher and summarize the document. They can then share their results with the rest of the class. If you determine a document is too difficult for any of your readers to decipher, create a simpler version for students to study.

  • Copying images. Sometimes it's difficult to get a good copy. File size and type vary and may affect the quality of a reproduced image. If you find an image you want to use but it does not copy clearly, try using Google or another internet image search engine to locate that image in a different format or size.
  • Selecting documents. When a document is only available in an original handwritten form, deciphering it can pose a challenge for teachers as well as students. Try to find documents that have been transcribed into readable type.
  • Some documents are beyond the comprehension level of those students who read at or below grade level. If you want to use a source that fits this scenario, try the following:
  • A common pitfall in executing KWL is the inclination to close discussion following the L step. Authentic learning exploration begins and ends with questions. When teachers demonstrate that it's natural and desirable to have ongoing questions, they send the message that questions are a crucial part of education. Asking questions doesn't indicate a lack of knowledge, but is evidence of an active mind. To honor questioning as the foundation of learning, KWL should perhaps add a fourth step: Q.

KWL Image Exploration: Segregated Public Places The history of Jim Crow laws in the U.S. is the history of segregated neighborhoods, schools, public areas, hotels, restaurants, marriage, transportation—essentially every aspect of daily life. Though these practices were outlawed by civil rights legislation in the 1960s, their legacy of poverty and prejudice persists. It is essential that today's students not only learn the history of segregation but care about its aftereffects. Photos of Whites Only and Colored signs on water fountains, restrooms, waiting rooms, and entrances to buildings are powerful resources that engage student empathy for the African American experience under Jim Crow. This KWL photo analysis is most effective when preceded by explorations of pre-slavery African cultures, slavery, the Civil War, the 13th and 15th Constitutional Amendments, and sharecropping. As the first activity that explores segregation laws, it illustrates the reality of separate public accommodation as humiliating, degrading, and a clear signal that not all people were considered equal in America.

Credit for first using KWL as a historical source analysis guide goes to the second- and third-grade teachers who piloted the Bringing History Home curriculum at the Washington Community School District in Washington, Iowa. These teachers came up with KWL as a simple alternative to the NARA historical analysis guides. I am, as always, deeply indebted to BHH teachers for their innovative, inspired ideas.

For more information

See the essay Teaching Segregation History as you consider how students may react to the topic.

The materials you need to conduct this activity include a photo of segregated drinking fountains and a KWL chart. Two forms of the chart are provided: an empty one and one supplied with K questions.

Retaining Important Information

Even though we recommend studying and learning key data within a contextual understanding of the big picture, sometimes rote memorization techniques and strategies are required to order to memorize key dates, names and events you're likely to see on your history exam. In such cases, flashcards are an excellent tool for memorizing information, improving recall, and testing your level of retention. To create a flash card, on one side of a 3 x 5 card, write a key event, date or fact. On the opposite side, write the definition, description or explanation. The use of flashcards for memorizing is age old. But it's just as effective today as it was one hundred years ago.

A Student's Guide to the Study Of History

Given the fact that some of these guides have gone over 100 pages, I figured that the guide to history would do so as well, given how large of a subject history is and how essential knowing it well is to being able to get along in our contemporary world. Yet this book is very sort and very much to the point, and that makes for some very intriguing thoughts. To be sure, this book ought not to be a burden to anyone who wants to better understand history as a student [1], and even those whose for Given the fact that some of these guides have gone over 100 pages, I figured that the guide to history would do so as well, given how large of a subject history is and how essential knowing it well is to being able to get along in our contemporary world. Yet this book is very sort and very much to the point, and that makes for some very intriguing thoughts. To be sure, this book ought not to be a burden to anyone who wants to better understand history as a student [1], and even those whose formal studies of history are or appear to be over at present will find much to enjoy in a refresher course in history like this one is. To be sure, this book certainly encourages the reader to take a further look of history, but more so than in most subjects this book is merely the tip of the iceberg and does not pretend to say everything that is worth saying about history. The fact that the author is an accomplished author of history and avoids the temptation to urge the student to read his books makes this an even better achievement.

The less than 50 pages of this book are divided into six parts. First, the author seeks to introduce the reader to oneself, because knowing our own history and where we come from gives us a connection to the larger history we study as students, and points out the relevance of what history tells us. After that the author talks about the history of history, examining the way that history sprang from a concern for chronicling the deeds of great people and important events like wars and religion. The author's discussion of the professionalization of history points to concerns within the academy for how history is conducted and how people will behave if they become professionals themselves. After this comes a brief discussion of the methods of history, both in examining sources as well as providing continually fresh interpretations of past events. The author talks then about the interest in history and how it is to be properly fed and cultivated through the reading of good qualities and quantities of historical works. Finally, the author closes with a discussion of the greatness of historical literature that all readers should have at least a passing familiarity with.

What the author considers to be great history is worth at least some comment. He talks about the standard Greek and Roman choices like Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Livy, Julius Caesar, Tacitus, Pliny the younger and elder, Plutarch, and Seutonius (along with Edward Gibbon, famous for writing about the decline and fall of the Roman Empire). His choices for great history of the Middle Ages are a bit more obscure, and his choices for more contemporary history include Alexis de Tocqueville, Jakob Burckhardt, Henry Adams, Francis Parkman, William H. Prescott, Winston Churchill, and Arnold Toynbee, among others. By and large, this is a book about history that will give the reader at least some insight into what books to read more of, but one wishes the author had written more recommendations. At the very least, he can be praised for pointing out that to be a good historian one must be able to read well and write well, and to be a good history student one needs to read well, something that is often neglected in our times. Although I wish that this book was longer and had a lot more content, it can at least be praised highly and celebrated for saying well what it says, at least.

America The Story of Us Study Guides

America The Story of Us tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented, focusing on moments in which everyday people harnessed technology to advance human progress. HISTORY Classroom has created a series of viewing guides and individual episode guides designed for students.

Idea Book for Educators

Use this guide to create lesson plans when you watch with your students.

Activity Guide

America The Story of Us provides a fascinating look at the stories of the people, events, and innovations that forged our nation. This guide will provide you with opportunities to bring our nation’s history to life for your students.

Family Viewing Guide

Watching with your family? This guide will show you how to get the most of the experience fo you and your loved ones.

Episode 1: Rebels

This is the story of how, over seven generations, a group of European settlers survive against all odds, claw themselves up and then turn against their colonial masters. A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.

Episode 2: Revolution

July 9, 1776. The Declaration of Independence is read to crowds in New York. America’s 13 colonies have taken on the might of the world’s leading superpower, and by 1783, America is free. As the British leave, a new nation, the United States of America, is born.

Episode 3: Westward

As the American nation is born, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be explored and exploited. For the pioneers who set out to confront these lands, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that forges the character of America. America now stretches from "sea to shining sea."

Episode 4: Division

America becomes a nation at the moment a revolution in commerce and industry sweeps across the western world. This vast new country, rich in resources, experiences a rapid change--in trade, transport and manufacturing--quickly turning America into one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Now two different Americas, united in prosperity, but divided by culture, face each other across a growing gulf. The issue is slavery.

Episode 5: Civil War

The Civil War rages. It is 20th century technology meeting 18th century tactics and the result is a death toll never before seen on American soil. After General William Sherman's March to the Sea, the South is definitively crushed, and the industrial might that allows the Union to prevail leaves America poised to explode into the 20th century as a global superpower.

Episode 6: Heartland

The Transcontinental Railroad doesn't just change the lives of Americans, it alters the entire ecology of the continent. It's the railroad that creates a new American icon--the cowboy--who drives cattle thousands of miles to meet the railheads and bring food to the East. In less than a quarter of a century, the heartland is transformed--not by the gun, but by railroad, fence and plough.

Episode 7: Cities

Between 1880 and 1930, nearly 24 million new immigrants arrive in America. Many go to work building a new frontier: the modern city, one of America's greatest inventions. This new urban frontier draws rural migrants and newly arrived immigrant workers. Powered by steel and electricity, the city begins to be tamed and defined by mass transportation, stunning skylines, electric light. and the innovative, industrious American spirit.

Episode 8: Boom

In 1910 in California, a column of oil nearly 200 feet high explodes out of a derrick and sets off a chain of events that will turn America into a superpower. Mass production and job opportunities prompted by the First World War draw African Americans to northern cities like Chicago, but racial conflict follows. A popular campaign to ban alcohol succeeds, yet when it comes, Prohibition triggers a wave of organized crime.

Episode 9: Bust

In October 1929, the economic boom of the 1920s ends with a crash on Wall Street. The American Dream has become a nightmare. The stock market crash coincides with the start of the Great Depression. The New Deal and public works projects aim to save America from despair and destitution. However, world conflict is brewing in Europe, and it is brought home to Americans by the symbolic boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling.

Episode 10: WWII

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brings America into another world war, changing the nation from an isolationist continent to a global player--and ensuring economic prosperity once more. America launches a war effort, and as always, bigger is better. The might of America's strategy and supplies turns the tide of war. A new world order has been created--and America has changed forever.

Episodes 11 & 12: Superpower/Millennium

The country becomes enmeshed in a second Civil War of sorts-until, at long last, the Civil Rights Movement brings the words of the Declaration of Independence home to all Americans. America is united once again, but a new threat is on the horizon: Communism. The conflicts of the late 1960s and 1970s remind America of the rifts that divided the nation before the Civil War, but the boom of the 1980s heralds better times. America's confidence is rocked by 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, but the country remains the world's superpower. As the nation launches into the 21st century, what does the future hold?


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