November 15 - Session - 5:15-6:15
Secondary Level – High School
U.S. History
This thematic approach to teaching secondary
United States History connects the past to the
present by placing an emphasis on the
acquisition of higher-order thinking and
reasoning skills.
Presenters: Joe Soss
Shandon Nixon
Anne Pasco
A Thematic Approach to U.S. History
The Role of
American
Government
America’s
Changing
Demographics
The
American
Stratification
of American Expansionism
Society
A Thematic Approach to U.S. History
Insurrection
In
America
Mobilization
Of
America
America’s
Relationship
with the
World
Necessities of a Powerful
Curriculum
Appropriate
Content
(Standards based)
Development
of Skills
(Defined and
Chronicled
Approach)
Relevance
To Today
(Essential
Questions)
The Real Question
Chronological or Thematic?
Chronological vs. Thematic
Chronological
• Perhaps reaching the
present by end of school
year
• History as names and
dates
• Question of relevance
• Events seem equally
important
Thematic
• Reaching the present in the
first few weeks of class
• History as a story
• Topics can revolve around
an essential question that is
relevant to today
• Teacher prioritizes
events/facts
http://www.socialstudies.com/c/[email protected][email protected]_JlDVTnclG2
Elements of a Thematic Lesson
• The Essential Question
• Content Based Objectives
• Bell Work (The Hook)
• Skill Based Objective
• Instructional Methods
• Assessment
The Essential Question
• Questions that probe for deeper meaning and
set the stage for further questioning, ones that
foster the development of critical thinking skills
and higher order capabilities such as problemsolving and understanding complex systems.
• A good essential question is the principal
component of designing inquiry-based learning.
(http://mathstar.nmsu.edu/exploration1/unit/content_questions.html)
Essential Questions per Theme
• The Role of Government
– What is the purpose of government?
– What are the different approaches to
governing?
– What is the responsibility of
government?
– How should government protect its
citizens from threats?
– What are the strengths and pitfalls of
democracy?
Essential Questions per Theme
• America’s Changing Demographics
– What does it mean to be an American?
– Why do people migrate/immigrate?
– What shapes American immigration
policy?
– How does immigration impact American
society?
– How does migration impact American
society?
Essential Questions per Theme
• Stratification of American Society
– How does America group its citizens?
– What factors have determined the
placement of groups within American
society?
– How has the American government
addressed issues of stratification
between groups?
– How have individuals responded to
discrimination?
Essential Questions per Theme
• Insurrection in America
– What issues have caused
insurrection?
– How have Americans expressed
their discontent with government
policy?
– How has the American
government responded to
insurrections?
Essential Questions per Theme
• American Expansionism
– How has territorial expansion been
justified?
– What factors promote continental
expansion?
– What factors promote overseas
expansion?
– What responsibility does America
have towards the inhabitants of newly
acquired territories?
Essential Questions per Theme
• Mobilization of America
– What motivates American
engagement in military conflict?
– How does war impact
Americans on the home front?
– What factors determine the
outcome of war?
Essential Questions per Theme
• America’s Relationship with
the World
– What should America’s
world be in the world?
– Should American self interest
take priority over the interest
of the world?
– How has America’s role in
the world changed over time?