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In January, Dr. Elizabeth Washington and I had the distinct pleasure of providing professional development for social studies teachers in Clay County, relating to using primary sources effectively in the classroom. I had done a post earlier on some feedback we received from one of the participants, where a teacher shared her ‘tampered’ version of a document. Happily, we have been given permission to share with you another example of ‘tampering’ with history and how it might look in the classroom. This comes to us from Bryan Arnette of Ridgeview High School!
Here, Mr. Arnette describes how student responded to the 6 Ownerships approach, in conjuction with the ‘tampering’ aimed at making the reading and work on level with student ability. These draw on the work of Wineburg and Martin, the National History Education Clearing House, and of course the work of Drs. Washington and Humphries here at the FJCC. The ‘Six Ownerships’ he references below are:

  1. Telling the story of history
  2. Debating history
  3. Judging history
  4. Using popular media to understand history
  5. Politicizing history
  6. Translating history

Note how he describes both his approach and how students interpreted each of those ownerships.

Arnette LetterI love how he describes the ways in which students interpreted and interacted with history, actually THINKING about what they were reading! So what does a student sample look like? (Please note that the readings are drawn from http://sheg.stanford.edu/radical-reconstruction).

From the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh)

From the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh )

Student interpretation of the Johnson campaign speech

Student interpretation of the Stevens source.

from the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh)

from the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh)

Student interpretation of the Stevens source

Student interpretation of the Johnson campaign speech

From the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh)

From the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu/rlh)

Student interpretation of the Johnson Congressional address.

Student interpretation of the Johnson Congressional address.

You see the ways in which the student weaves in certain of the Six Ownerships that were used to approach the content. These student interpretations of the documents allow the teacher to do a couple of things. It ensures that students UNDERSTAND the documents and it allows the teacher to BUILD UPON what they have learned without fear that the kids haven’t ‘got’ it. They DO get it, because they have been allowed to TAKE OWNERSHIP of it!

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