Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Making History Mine

Cooper, S. (2009) Making history mine: meaningful connections for grades 5-9, Maine:Stenhouse

In Making History Mine: Meaningful Connections for Grades 5-9, secondary school English and history teacher, Sarah Cooper, provides a framework and strategies for making history personal and bringing it to life for students. As a teacher, Cooper begins with the goal of knowing her students and finding personal connections through meaningful history assignments. The framework from which she builds curriculum revolves around:
1. The Role of the Individual: Assessing Who Makes History
2. How Opinions Become History: Analyzing Point of View
3. Fighting Words: Examining Rhetoric, Reasoning and the Role of Language in History
4. A Broader View: Finding Patterns in the Past
5. How Historians Think: Writing as a Way of Understanding
6. Current Events: Connecting Past to Present
7. The Power of Information: Igniting Passion Through Research
8. Global Citizenship: Learning to Evaluate Ethics and Solve Problems

Each chapter examines one of these standards and provides skills and strategies using examples from world and U.S history.

Sarah Cooper's knowledge of the adolescent mind is apparent from the very first page of her book. In the introduction she writes, "In all teaching, but especially the identity-forming crucible of middle school, the student is as important as the material." Love this! I believe that her experience teaching both middle and high school and her passion for her students and the subjects she teachers make this resource highly credible. As I read, I highlight and take copious notes. I know that I will be referring back to this text time and time again.

"Can we proble more of the mysteries and the miseries of global cultures and still prime our students' passion for activism and their hope for the future? Yes, we can. The solution, I believe, lies in the search for meaning through personal connections to history."

"You will all make history."

"Teachers can build students' understanding by forging strong, personal ties to the curriculum."

"Entering the minds of real figures from history is one of the most interesting ways to board a time machine to the past."

"History is really a form of glorified gossip."

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