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How can you think like a Historian?. “Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.” Cicero 100 B.C. By PMcElhaney (Point Loma High) From Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and Other Un-Natural Acts. What do they do? Why study history?

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How can you think like a historian l.jpg

How can you think like a Historian?

“Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.”

Cicero 100 B.C.

By PMcElhaney (Point Loma High)

From Sam Wineburg’s Historical Thinking and Other Un-Natural Acts


How do historians reconstruct the past l.jpg

What do they do?

Why study history?

History serves as a bank of examples for contemplating present problems.

What tools do they use?

How do Historians Reconstruct the Past?




One pager l.jpg
One Pager reconstruct the past.

  • TERM: Definition of term across the top of page (write neatly)

  • Create a visual depiction of the term.

  • This can be a diagram, image, chart, graph, or symbols

  • In your own words write a brief explanation of how this term may be useful for students of history.


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Think like a Historian, Look for: reconstruct the past.

  • the author’s intention.

  • bias

  • evidence

  • argument

  • sources

  • Context of the period the document was written


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Contextual Thinking: reconstruct the past.Context of a document or event offers clues that help understanding.

  • When, Where, How?

  • What proceeded?

  • What followed?

  • Why the document or event took place

  • Who wrote or said it

  • To whom was it written?

  • What purpose?

  • What intent?

  • What Consequence?


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A.C.A.P.S. is a great strategy. reconstruct the past.

  • To understand documents and the meaning they hold, analyze them according to this method:

  • Author

  • Context

  • Audience

  • Purpose

  • Significance


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How about a S.P.R.I.T.E.? reconstruct the past.

  • S. Social

  • P. Political

  • R. Religious

  • I. Intellectual

  • T. Technological

  • E. Economic


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Questions Kids should ask themselves: reconstruct the past.

  • How is the past different than today?

  • What is the significance of this event, person, place, or document…?

  • What can the modern generation learn from the past?


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Kids need to reconstruct the past.

  • Read aloud and think aloud through the Historical Process.

  • Think about people, places, and events in the past through the eyes of someone living in the past.

  • balance present minded thinking with thinking in the past

  • Make connections and draw conclusions.


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“Just the Facts”? reconstruct the past.

  • Facts by themselves are meaningless.

  • Facts are only important when we give them meaning.


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Skilled Readers of History reconstruct the past.

  • Talk to themselves as they read-

  • The conversation ranges:

  • Meaning of the text

  • Author’s purpose, message, and personality/background-

  • Think about why the author says what he says and what he means by saying it.


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Contextual Thinking reconstruct the past.

  • or thinking about events through the perspective of the period it unfolded.


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Context of an event or document includes: reconstruct the past.

  • When, Where, How

  • What proceeded?

  • What followed?

  • Why the document or event took place

  • Who wrote or said it

  • To whom was it written or said

  • What purpose

  • What intent

  • What consequence


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Students of History Need to: reconstruct the past.

  • Talk to each other

  • Write term papers

  • Discuss the significance of topics they study

  • Debate

  • Get into the mind of the people who lived history!

  • Search for cause and motive

  • Investigate- values, perspectives,

  • Students need to embrace beliefs not their own and argue them with zest.