UNIT 1: What is a historian?

Essential Question:

What is a historian? How do I become one?


1. Describe the different roles of a historian.
2. Read historical documents from a historian's viewpoint.
3. Create primary sources about a historical event.
4. Examine and interpret primary sources from a historian's perspective.
5. Identify the main historical ideas of the Renaissance and Reformation in European history.
6. Collaboratively working in teams.

I. Introduction: What is a historian?

For the first couple of classes we will be exploring the question stated above. Today we will start off by watching a video from a very famous historian. While watching this movie clip think of the following questions:

What perspective is the historian coming from?
Is the historian accurate with his observations? Why or why not?
Is there bias in this historians statements?
What does this scene and our class have in common?

Download the lecture and follow along. Make sure to edit document by taking notes, putting questions of the side or filling in better examples in the way that you think.

To help you get a deeper understanding of what a historian is, follow the link and read the article "The Many Hats of a Historian" from BBC.com and answer the questions, 1-8, provided below. The assignment will be due next class, Thursday or Friday of this week. Your assignment must be typed with a proper heading including name, date and period. Print out and turn in.

Vocabulary- This needs to be done before you start the reading.
Faggot (British/English Definition, definition in reading)

1. In section 1, Heretical beliefs, the historian gives his account of a historical event. What is happening to Hogsflesh? What is the historian's “story” or main point of the article?
2. What are the roles of a historian defined by John Arnold? Do you agree or disagree with his assumptions? Can you think of any other roles?
3. What is meant by “treat(ing) their sources with fidelity?” Remember to put your response in your own words. Why is it important to remember this when reading historical references?
4. How can a single event be interpreted in more than one way? Can you think of an event in your life that historians could interpret with differing points of view?
5. Talk to a family member or friend about something that happened to you both a long time ago. Examine how you both remember the incident and write about it. With that in mind, when attaching meaning to history, is it possible for a historian to be completely objective? Use examples from the incident you just discussed to reinforce your response.
6. What problems may arise when historians practice subjective history? In what ways may subjective history be beneficial to the study of history? Think back to the incident you just discussed with your family member or friend. Why did it make sense for you to remember the event the way you did and for the other person to remember it the way he or she did? What does this tell us about history?
7. Why is every historian "a storyteller?" If all historians are storytellers and there are myriad versions of every story, can we trust historians? Why or why not?
8. How did your view of history and historians change based on this reading? How will you approach history now that you have explored these views?

The following document is "extra" information that has been compiled by James Brighton, a fellow teacher friend of Mr. Spivey's who taught at KIS last year (http://thebrightestman.wikispaces.com/), comparing the Middle Ages with the Renaissance. Please feel free to look at this helping your understanding of the primary source.

Due: Next Class

II. Creation of a Primary Source

A. Get textbooks first!

B. Working w/ Primary Sources
Now that you have explored and thought about what it is to be a historian, we will now go down the path of learning how to use the tools of the historian. If you look back at your notes there are two types of sources that one can use for gathering information. What were these two types of source called again? That's right, primary sources and secondary sources. Even though secondary sources confirm your ideas and help establish facts, it is the primary source that is the main vehicle for success. The goal of this lesson plan is to help you define the difference between a primary and secondary source. Follow the directions below for today’s project.

1. You will be broken up into groups of 3-4.

2. Once in your groups, get your thinking caps on and create a world altering event that will happen 50 years from now. For example, Africa Breaks off from the Middle East and has smashed into Spain. This event will have a lot of effects on the people of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Make sure that your event makes sense. I want you to be creative but not silly or way too unrealistic. Your topic must be approved by your teacher before you go on to the next step. You will have 5 minutes for this part of the project.

3. You will now write a story in your group that explains the event(s). This part needs to be taken seriously as the foundation of the project's success is based here. Your story should have important information that needs to include; when, where, how, whom and any key elements to the event. Your teacher will be checking up on your group while writing your stories for questions and possibly to help guide you a bit. Your group must complete this part of the assignment in 25 minutes.

4. Now that you have your story it is time to get creative and make some primary sources of your event. Each member of the group will have to decide what type of primary source they will be turning in. Some ideas include newspaper articles of the event the day it happened, letters, live news reports, live radio reports, interview a person who was a witness to the event, etc. Your teacher will have to approve of your primary source before you get to work on it. There are a couple of key notes that you need to be aware of for this part of the project:
  • At least ONE source needs to come from the "printed media family." Letter, newspapers, diary entries, etc. It is encourage that you add visuals to your source but not required.
  • No two will be the same in any given group.
  • If you decide to make a video, newscast, or other technology based project, there will be no extensions. Don't bite off more than you can chew. With that said, this is a great time in which you can use the computers to their full extent.
  • Have some fun with your projects! But be careful, because if you have to much fun, your project may not make sense. The key word I want you to think of while making your primary source is quality.
  • Your teacher is expecting each project to be done by the person to whom it is assigned. With that being said, make sure and borrow others in your group as peer editors, actors or other roles.
  • Time is limited! Don't waste it in class.

You will have the remainder of the class to work on this project and whatever is not done will turn into homework. Your completed projects will be due at the beginning of next class. Step 5 will be explained to you on that day but be forewarned; failure to bring in your primary sources will severely hurt your grade. If there are any questions or comments, first ask a fellow student(s) and if you can't get the answer raise your hand and your teacher will help assist you.

Turn in work here:
WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10
WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

III. Analyzing Primary Sources

A. Tech Issues and Fixes
B. Peer Evaluation: Exploring 100 Years from Today!
C. Practicing with Primary Sources

How to Read a Primary Source Effectively: APPARTS

The following strategy is adapted from Advanced Placement (AP) History courses to help students interpret primary sources more effectively. If you begin looking at primary sources in the same way, you will become more successful in analyzing and synthesizing primary sources in this class and social studies classes in the future. Please commit this mnemonic device to memory.

Author: Who created the source? What do you know about the author? What is the author’s point of view?

Place and Time: Where and when was the source produced? How might this affect the meaning of the source?

Prior Knowledge: Beyond information about the author and the context of its creation, what do you know that would help you further understand the primary source?

Audience: For whom was the source created and how might this affect the reliability of the source?

Reason: Why was this source produced at the time it was produced?

The Main Idea: What point is the source trying to convey?

Significance: Why is this source important? What inferences can you draw from this document? Ask yourself, “So what?” in relation to the question asked.

Primary Sources Homework

Read assigned article, take notes and be ready to work in a group with information gained. Reading is a must. These are harder texts so make sure and take your time with them. Next time we meet in class we will look at APPARTS more carefully and use it to analyze both the document and time period in a more meaningful way. Due next class.

Group 1
Group 3
Group 5

Group 2
Group 4
Group 6
Group 7

III. Becoming a Historian: Student Run Analysis of the 1700's

"Wanting everything in life to be perfect before you take action is like wanting to reach a destination without travel. For those who follow Tao, travel is every bit as important as the destination. One step after another." -Deng Ming-Dao

And so our journey begins. Before we can step forward and focus on today, we must accept the fact that we are simply on a long path starting at the beginning. For your teachers, this is an exciting time as they are simply guides showing you aspects of this world. What you do on this path is completely up to you. If you keep an open mind, sharp wit, and look at the beauty that is around the path we call history, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see, but remember, as with all paths, there are steep hills, rocks, rivers without bridges and other unknown hazards. In other words, sometimes you will have to face hardships on your journey so that you can get to your final destination. So today we take that first step and proceed from there. One step after another.

Welcome to your path...

As a benchmark, we will start at the 1700's. Traditionally, your teacher would stand up in front of the classroom and explain "all you need to know" about the time period. Today, things are going to change a bit. For the past week we have been exploring what historians do. You now understand what primary and secondary sources are. You have analyzed and discussed the roles of a historian. You have just completed an assignment in which you were able to practice some of the basic skills of a historian. We will now push you into the pool of history and have you start swimming on your own. In groups we will be discovering what life was like in particular regions in the world during the 1700's. Your key question for this assignment is:

Which factors were most prominent in each region during the 1700's?

Key Idea: Factors of Analysis

Today you will be divided into teams once again. You will be assigned a geographic locations below. It will then be your responsibility to show your class what did each world region look like during the 1700's (18th Century). You will display this by creating a wiki.
Here is an example of what it will look like:

Example Assignment
Note: This is by no means a perfect example. The main use of this link is to give you a visual idea of what is expected.

However, before we begin the assignment, it is crucial that each of you understand the term Factors of Analysis. So what are they?


Mr. Webster (above), a good friend of Mr. Spivey who taught at KIS a couple of years ago would say "...any of several methods for reducing correlational data to a smaller number of dimensions or factors; beginning with a correlation matrix a small number of components or factors are extracted that are regarded as the basic variables that account for the interrelations observed in the data." (TheFreeDictionary.com)

Okay well let's think of it a different way. What makes a civilization powerful? Let's go ahead right now and as a class clarify "What makes a nation powerful?"

Good! Simply put, factors of analysis means breaking up history into different categories. This will make comparing and contrasting much easier. Think of it this way, since many of you have lived abroad, you can see both the good and bad in your old host country because you can compare it to Korea. In this project you may find out that your area is very strong in technology. Try and convince us that technology defines a civilization. The same would be true for wealth, artistic creativity, or countless other indicators.

We will break the world up into sections that teams will explore. The key areas to consider are:

Now that we have explained it and given some examples, here is a List of Factors of Analysis that your group should consider analyzing as you research your project.

Directions for the Project Day One (Detective):

1. Teams will be decided by the teacher.
2. Each team will be assigned a geographic location.
3. You will start conducting research. In terms of research we will ask you to start off by using the following site: http://www.worldhistory.abc-clio.com.
To sign into the database use the following information:
PASSWORD: welcome
4. Start to identify Factors of Analysis that your assigned civilization focused on during the 1700's (18th century). The skills to both identify and pull out information is critical for your success. The purpose of "Factors of Analysis" is to help your organize you thoughts in a more coherent way. Remember that as historians, there is never a "right answer." There are only answers that are well thought out (through critical thinking) and backed by factual information (research/evidence: stats, primary sources, quotations, etc).

Homework: Continue researching for homework using your (1) textbook and/or (2) ABC-Clio at home. It is suggested that you take your notes using factors of analysis. For the time being, YOU WILL NOT be able to use sources outside of the two stated above on this assignment for the time being. Get the basics down first!
  • Middle East (MWH 60-70)
  • East Asia (MWH 89-99)
  • Western Europe (MWH 34-57, 80-88)
  • Eastern Europe / Russia (Packet from Earth and Its People 575-581) + +
  • Americas (ABC-CLIO look under Eras)
  • South Asia (MWH 71-79)
  • Africa (ABC-CLIO look under Eras)

++Pick up packet from Mr. Spivey

Day Two: Little more detective work and Interpreter

Goals for the Day:

1. Organize your thoughts and as a group and develop a thesis statement.
2. Start working on your separate sections, using "Factors of Analysis," to create the group wiki.
3. Learn how to research more effectively. Presentation in the library with Mrs. Boerner. And suggestions from Diana Hacker.
4. Make sure you remember to cite your sources!
5. Have plan in place for organization of your wiki have it completed by next class. DUE DATE IS NEXT CLASS!

Rubric for Wikipage:

Turn in work here:
WH Spivey B 2009-10
WH Spivey C 2009-10
WH Spivey E 2009-10
WH Spivey F 2009-10

Here is an example of what it will look like: Example Assignment

At this juncture we will be able to expand the sources that we are using for your research. For the first part of the class we will go down to the library and learn how to use source other than the internet. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU TO USE WIKIPEDIA AS A MAIN SOURCE. Wikipedia is fine only for background information. Below is a way in which you can evaluate web resources while conducting research.

Evaluating Web Resources

To facilitate your expertise, you will first need to learn how to research appropriate websites and texts. To ensure that your website is appropriate for historical research, you must ask the following questions and follow the same line of reasoning that a historian would use when evaluating historical sources.

Who is the author of the website?

Where did the author get this information?

How current and up-to-date is the website? How often is it maintained?

What bias may the author have when presenting this information?

Would I feel comfortable citing this website in a major essay or project? Would my classmates and teacher have confidence in this source?

For more guidance on evaluating the suitability of web resources, click on the following link: http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/tips.html.

The following websites may prove helpful to you as you explore the world in 1700. These are examples of websites that your teachers deem appropriate for historical research. This is not an exhaustive list but will certainly lead you far along the path of developing expertise in your region. Click here for additional Web Resources to help you with your project.

Important: Citing Sources!!!!!!!!! MLA Format

As noted above, please research your work carefully by using trusted Internet and print resources. Remember Diana Hacker's rules for validating resources and apply them judiciously. More importantly, you need to enter as much information as possible into Wikispaces using your own words. Any time that you do not use your own words or material in Wikispaces, you must cite your resources correctly. While you are gathering research on the Internet for your Wikispaces page, you need to take note of the following:

1. Name of author(s)
2. Title of the website
3. Names of any editors
4. Date of publication
5. Name of any sponsoring organization
6. Date you found the website
7. URL of the website (ex: <http://www.google.com>)

Not every website will have all seven items listed above, but you need to write down as many as possible in the order listed above and then insert that information in parentheses at the immediate end of the material you enter. This will help you get in the practice of doing so when you have research papers later this year. Turnitin.com will be used for this assignment. In terms of MLA format below are some links that will help you out:

Questions about MLA Format?
Web-based program to help you with MLA formatting: Easybib.com

Day Three: Judge and Philosopher

There will be two outcomes of this assignment as follows:

1. 1700 Jigsaw: We need to analyze and assess the world circa 1700. To do this effectively, we have broken the world into regional pieces. You have been assigned to become an expert on one regional piece of the 1700 World Puzzle.

Once you have completed your piece of the puzzle, you will be joined with other regional experts to share what you have learned so that you can assess the world effectively as of 1700.

In this exercise, you will not only be graded by your teacher for the content you post on the wiki but also by how well you teach your classmates in the jigsaw breakout session.
external image msword.png 1700 Jigsaw Rubric.doc
In addition, your classmates will evaluate your performance in the jigsaw breakout session.
external image msword.png Jigsaw Breakout Student Evaluation.doc

2. Socratic Seminar: After the 1700 Jigsaw, you will reconvene with your regional team and prepare to discuss the following question with the rest of the class:

Which societies had the strongest combination of factors to dominate other regions? Why?

Your insights, comments and active participation in the seminar will be assessed by your teachers during this session. Here is the rubric that will be used during the debate. Make sure to look over it so you know what you have to do to get full points:
external image msword.png Socratic Seminar Rubric.doc
After the debate you will reflect on what you have learned on the student evaluation:
external image msword.png Student Evaluation of a Socratic Seminar.doc