Integrating Thinking and Understandings
Chapter 2 presents the K-4 Standards in Historical Thinking, largely independent of historical content in order to specify the quality of thinking desired for each. None of these skills in historical thinking, however, can be developed or even expressed in a vacuum. Every one of them requires historical content in order to function-a relationship clarified in Chapter 3, in which the standards integrating historical understandings and thinking are presented for all four topics in history for grades K-4.
Figure 1 (see the book) illustrates the approach taken to integrate historical thinking and understandings in the standards. The example is drawn from Topic 2, The History of Students’ Own State or Region. As illustrated, the five skills in historical thinking (the left side of the diagram) and the three historical understandings students should acquire concerning the history of their state (the right side of the diagram) are integrated in the central area of overlap in the diagram in order to define (immediately below) Standard 3B: What students should be able to do to demonstrate their understanding of the first European, African, and/or Asian/Pacific explorers and settlers in their state or region.
Figure 2 (see the book) provides a further illustration of this same standard, presented this time in the format in which the standards are stated (Chapter 3). The selection is again drawn from Topic 2, The History of Students’ Own State or Region. As illustrated, the standard first presents a statement defining what students should understand: “The people, events, problems, and ideas that were significant in creating the history of their state.”
Directly below the standard is standard component 3A, a statement which zooms in on part of the full standard: “The history of indigenous peoples who first lived in his or her state or region.” This statement is followed by three elaborated standards which specify what students should be able to do to demonstrate their understanding of the history of indigenous peoples who first lived in their state or region. Each elaborated standard illustrates the integration of historical thinking and understanding by marrying a particular thinking skill (e.g., read historical narratives imaginatively) to a specific historical understanding (e.g., legends and myths of the Native Americans or Hawaiians). One thinking skill appears highlighted in brackets following each statement. The particular thinking skill was selected to serve as an example of the integration of historical thinking and historical understanding, and it is by no means the only one that can be employed. In fact, the standards encourage teachers to approach content through a wide variety of thinking skills.
Finally, each elaborated standard is coded to indicate in which grades the standard can appropriately be developed.
K-4 indicates the standard is appropriate for grades K-2, as well as for grades 3-4
3-4 indicates the standard is appropriate for grades 3-4
However, the order in which the elaborated standards are presented is driven by the logical unfolding of the particular topic rather than by grade level.