Friday, January 16, 2004

Achieving History Standards in Elementary Schools.

Achieving History Standards in Elementary Schools. This is a good article on why history standards should be sought in elementary schools in the USA.

From the site:

Concern over the quality and quantity of history instruction offered in many U.S. public schools has resulted in National History Standards for grades K-12. The National Standards, along with recent research on history learning, have influenced curriculum guides, textbook revisions, and new instructional materials in various formats.


Children can and do understand historical time in a variety of ways (Downey and Levstik 1991). For example, children are capable of reconstructing patterns and sequences of historical events as they are represented in story-form narratives (Levstik and Pappas 1987). Children's ability to understand cause and effect relationships taking place over time--a basic dimension of historical reasoning--increases throughout childhood and adolescence (Zaccaria 1978). By the end of 5th grade, students have acquired a good grasp of historical time terminology, can detect historical anomalies, and show some understanding of time periods in United States history (Hoge 1991). Research-based conclusions about the delayed (late adolescence) development of formal historical thinking ability still stand, though new studies, stimulated by new theories and improved research methodologies, suggest that this ability arises earlier than indicated by older studies (Levstik and Pappas 1992).

Different methods of teaching history produce different history learning outcomes. For example, children taught with a traditional textbook-worksheet-quiz routine learn more names and dates compared to those taught in a topically focused, non-survey approach that employs a variety of instructional materials. However, students in the non-traditional approach develop better insight into the past, better historical reasoning abilities, and more positive attitudes toward the subject (Booth 1980).

Downey and Levstik (1991) conclude that history instruction should (1) begin in the early grades, (2) focus on in-depth, sustained study of significant material rather than shallow coverage, and (3) make use of age-appropriate learning strategies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

USA Presidents

USA Presidents This is an interesting site which has biographies and pictures of every American President. It also has information on the presidency and links to related sites.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Teaching History in the Elementary School.

Teaching History in the Elementary School. The teaching of history should begin in elementary school. This essay shows why.

From the site:

Recent studies have shown that the historical knowledge of young Americans is less than most educators and citizens would desire. Students' knowledge of history has suffered because of untrained teachers, reduced course requirements, and textbook treatments that are bland and voiceless and directed more toward trivial coverage of details than to the fullness needed to bring vitality and credibility to events of the past (Sewall 1987; Cheney 1987).

Content in history is practically absent from the curriculum of grades K-3 in most elementary schools; it usually is taught in combination with content from the social sciences in grades 4-6 (Ravitch 1987). A notable exception to national curriculum patterns is the new "California Framework" (1988), which emphasizes history at all levels of the elementary school curriculum.

This ERIC Digest examines (1) research related to the teaching and learning of history in elementary schools, (2) purposes of education in history, and (3) teaching practices to develop interest in and knowledge of history among students in elementary schools.