As a history and English teacher, I love integrating the two subjects whenever possible. As an undergraduate, I double-majored in both.
I’ve always loved reading and writing. Stories make the world go round. I love grammar and language (hard to believe that anyone can, but I do, and I know I’m not alone).
But the ultimate surprise to me was how hard I fell for history in college.
I remember the class. It was Cultural American History. I always liked world history, but up to that point, I thought American history was boring. Law this. Amendment that.
But in American Cultural History, we discussed everything from the impact of religion on colonial America to why American women started shaving their legs (an influence of Vaudeville, probably).
“Really?” I remember thinking. “History’s not just about kings and wars?”
Most definitely not.
History is everything–from the clothes we wear to the books we read to the ideas we embrace–history is all encompassing.
My high school teachers (who were amazing, by the way) always focused on war and politics. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t decide to make it my major until I jumped into that Cultural American History class and saw that history is about the everyday lives of people like you and me.
In tandem with the standards we are required to teach (and you know we have to teach them), I always try to add a bit of everyday life from the times. A warm-up about the “scandalous” waltz during the Napoleonic Era, a brief prezi about Ancient Egyptian music, a look at the newly discovered writing system of the Inca (a binary-style system)….
History is all-encompassing, and I want my students to understand that they are a part of it–both creating it and living in its midst. That is why I bring source analysis into the equation whenever I can.
I want students to see through primary sources what people were thinking at the time we are studying, and through secondary sources how historians can offer differing interpretations of the same events.
History is rich–history is alive, and I believe my primary and secondary source analysis help students to see that.
I sell them individually here, but I’m also offering a bundle at a 20% discount. If you get it, the benefit is that as I add sources into it, you can download them at no additional cost.
How do you use source analysis in your classroom? Leave a comment below to let me know!