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Middle Level

Beyond the Bubble: A New Generation of History Assessments

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Stanford History Education Group

Beyond the Bubble features new kinds of history assessments that allow teachers to gauge whether students have mastered key historical thinking skills. These innovative assessments, called History Assessments of Thinking (HATs), prompt students to answer questions about historical sources and to justify their reasoning in two or three sentences.
Most HATs can be completed in ten minutes, some in less than five. HATs allow teachers to get a quick sense of what students do and don’t know. Teachers can use this information to adjust instruction to meet the needs of their students.

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Sam Wineburg
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What is the best way to prepare middle school students for DBQ’s in history?

Michael Yell

DBQ's are Document Based Questions that are used in certain Advanced Placement classes as well as in a number of state assessments. Because DBQ's make students write essays using a number of primary source documents, DBQ's require our students to think, analyze, and use and refine their literacy strategies. For this reason, in my experience as a middle school social studies teacher, the use of DBQ's are not just for higher level students only but are important for all students.

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What are some strategies to increase student interest and motivation in middle school history?

Joan Brodsky Schur

One strategy for engaging middle school students is to help them identify with a person who lived in the past -- someone who affected the course of events and/or was affected by them. Research assignments through which students assume the identity of historical individuals can help middle school students surpass their age-appropriate egocentricity, while allowing them to have "big egos" as someone of historical importance.

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Rising Again: Recovering the Story of Louis Sockalexis

--J. Allen Bryant
Civil Rights Pioneers came from various ethnic groups, rose up in many settings, and fought over many decades. One of the greatest baseball players of all time was a Native American who lived from to 1871 to 1913. Historical context -- Keep in mind that the massacre at Wounded Knee occurred in 1890.

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National Day of Listening Comes to Midland, Michigan: A StoryCorps Project

--Ann Burke

NPR's StoryCorps can be a opportunity for students to conduct an oral history project, or interview people about their daily experiences, or survey opinions regarding a current event. This project involved team teaching.

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