SBG in My History Classroom Part 4: My Standards for next year

(This is also a response to Liz’s post)

Next year, I’m teaching a new Global History course. At this point, I have three groups of standards to work with:

  1. Writing Skill Standards
  2. Historian Skill Standards
  3. Essential Understandings Standards

I described the writing standards in my previous post:

  • Thesis is convincing, thoughtful, relevant, & precise
  • Thesis is developed thoughtfully, logically & persuasively throughout the piece
  • The work use a variety of convincing evidence to support their thesis
  • The work uses analysis to demonstrate how evidence supports the thesis
  • The work has a clear introduction presenting the thesis in a highly engaging, compelling manner
  • Each paragraph presents an argument clearly and supports an overall structure
  • Consistent, effective transitions develop ideas and arguments logically & build to compelling, persuasive conclusion.
  • The work consistently and beautifully applies a format and diction that is appropriate to purpose, audience and context
  • The work uses varied sentence length and structure to enhance meaning
  • Mechanical and grammatical errors are non-existent
  • Follows MLA conventions for quotations and citations flawlessly

The Historian Skill Standards are from the OAH National History Standards, which my department decided to adapt, braking them up between the four grades (unfortunately, New York only has content standards, not skill standards). In 11th grade, we are responsible for the following standards:

  • Challenge arguments of historical inevitability by formulating examples of historical contingency, of how different choices could have led to different consequences.
  • Hypothesize the influence of the past, including both the limitations and the opportunities made possible by past decisions.
  • Formulate historical questions from encounters with historical documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, art, architecture, and other records from the past.
  • Obtain historical data from a variety of sources, including: library and museum collections, historic sites, historical photos, journals, diaries, eyewitness accounts, newspapers, and the like; documentary films; and so on.
  • Interrogate historical data by uncovering the social, political, and economic context in which it was created; testing the data source for its credibility, authority, authenticity, internal consistency and completeness; and detecting and evaluating bias, distortion, and propaganda by omission, suppression, or invention of facts.
  • Identify the gaps in the available records and marshal contextual knowledge and perspectives of the time and place in order to elaborate imaginatively upon the evidence, fill in the gaps deductively, and construct a sound historical interpretation.
  • Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and contemporary factors contributing to problems and alternative courses of action.
  • Identify relevant historical antecedents and differentiate from those that are inappropriate and irrelevant to contemporary issues.

Finally, the Essential Understandings were developed with my planning team as part of our curriculum mapping (these are very much a first draft):

  • Your environment can dictate the type of life you lead
Culture is how people make sense of their world

  • Different religions share similar truths
  • Cultural diffusion affects the conquerer and the conquered
  • Freedom ain’t free
  • Winning the revolution doesn’t mean that the revolution has been won
  • The past determines the present but not necessarily the future
  • Eurocentrism happened because of guns, germs, steel & geography
  • Change is possible
  • Change is the only constant

That makes for 29 total standards right now as the focus for the year, which seems like a manageable number.