Pedagogical Toolkits


Pedagogical Toolkits for Historical Reasoning


We curated a toolkit of useful resources for teaching and practicing Contextualization, Making Connections, and Argumentation. Each toolkit provides an introduction to the skill and a list of resources used by BRI staff, BRI master teachers, and other open resources found online to support the development of that skill.

 

Identify at least two of the following historical thinking/reasoning skills you would like to focus on this school year. Review the links and evaluate the resources, keeping in mind how each might work in your classroom and with your students. Make note of what you want to use and start building your own toolkit.

 

If you’re interested in exploring more about Sourcing and Situation or Claims and Evidence in Sources, please check out our series Considering the Source.

Step 1: State the Goal

When introducing a class to the norming process, state that the goal is to develop a class culture that promotes academic achievement. To address potential impatience, I explain that our class is like a supertanker. “It won’t turn quickly based on one person’s needs, but we will arrive at the intended academic destination.” In addition, mention that the class will revisit norms later in the semester and make course corrections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Complete a Problem/Norm T-Chart


Next, ask students to complete a problem/norm T-chart in small groups. Before learners begin this task, talk them through the first entry (see italics, below) to model the process.

Step 3: Check T-Chart Against Potential Problems

After 10-15 minutes, disseminate a list of potential problem areas and ask if they have already been addressed in each group’s T-chart. If not, direct students to keep developing more norms that will handle these issues.

Potential Problem Areas

What (if any) norms are needed to address these areas?

  • Student-to-student interactions
  • The physical space and/or personal property
  • Sensitive topics
  • Transitions
  • When the instructor leaves/is absent from the room
  • Communication
  • Using the pencil sharpener, drinking fountain, and/or restroom
  • When tasks are finished early
  • Smart phones
  • Confusion or frustration
  • Intolerance
  • When needed materials are missing

Step 4: Record and Vote on Norms

After students finish developing norms in teams, write down everyone’s contributions on the board. I always add my favorite norm to the list: enter class with the academic swagger of Matthew McConaughey, ready to take care of business. If there are disagreements, ask, “Does the norm promote academic achievement?” Finally, have students vote on which ones to adopt and post the agreed upon norms in the classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Record and Vote on Norms

After students finish developing norms in teams, write down everyone’s contributions on the board. I always add my favorite norm to the list: enter class with the academic swagger of Matthew McConaughey, ready to take care of business. If there are disagreements, ask, “Does the norm promote academic achievement?” Finally, have students vote on which ones to adopt and post the agreed upon norms in the classroom.