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Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook

Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook
Six Investigative Strategies, Grades 5-12

Foreword by James Percoco

January 2009 | 160 pages | Corwin
Yohuru Williams has developed an approach to teaching history that makes it easy to get students actively engaged, to think critically, and to become accountable for their own learning. This indispensable guide demonstrates how to turn students into investigators of history, rather than memorizers and regurgitators of dates and disconnected facts.

Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook presents six powerful teaching strategies, each with many sample lessons suitable for grades 5–12, that tap into students' natural curiosity and investigative instincts. Your students will become detectives of the past as they:

Ghost-hunt in their neighborhoods, researching mysterious buildings, monuments, and other "haunted" spaces

Solve historical crime scenes, or "cold cases"

Analyze primary and secondary sources using fingerprinting techniques

Reconstruct "accidents" that occurred at important intersections in history

Prepare arguments as defenders or prosecutors in famous court cases

Undertake paranormal investigations to communicate with figures from the past

Foreword by James Percoco
About the Author
Introduction: History Education: A Matter of Life or Death?
1. Haunted History: Revealing the Hidden Past
Discovering Haunted History

What Is Haunted History?

Constructing HOST Files

A Sampling of HOST Files

Questions for Review and Reflection


Resources and Further Reading

On the Web

2. The CSI Approach: Making Students Detectives
What Is the CSI Approach?

Constructing Cold Cases

A Sampling of Cold Cases

Questions for Review and Reflection


Resources and Further Reading

On the Web

3. Historical Fingerprinting: Analyzing Primary and Secondary Sources
Learning to Think Like a Historian

What Is Historical Fingerprinting

Constructing a Historical Fingerprinting Kit

A Sampling of Historical Fingerprinting at Work

Fingerprinting the Declaration of Independence

Fingerprinting the Preamble to the United States Constitution

Fingerprinting Political Cartoons

Dusting Secondary Sources

Questions for Review and Reflection


Resources and Further Reading

On the Web

4. The Intersection: Reconstructing Historical Accidents
What Is the Intersection?

Setting Up the Intersection

A Sampling of Historical Intersections

Questions for Review and Reflection


Resources and Further Reading

5. Meet SCOTUS: Engaging Students in the Drama of Court Cases


A Sampling of Court Cases


Resources and Further Reading

On the Web

6. ESP + C: Providing a Student Mental Organizer and Writing Strategy
What Is ESP+C?

Using ESP+C

A Sampling of ESP+C

Questions for Review and Reflection


Resources and Further Reading

On the Web


Further Reading


"No longer is history something to be ingested and regurgitated on a test, but rather something that absorbs the intellectual imagination of the learner. That is a rare quality in good teaching. The author has done a marvelous job of bridging what are otherwise conflicting paradigms."

Lynn E. Nielsen, Professor of Education
University of Northern Iowa

"This book offers experienced social studies teachers endless ideas and inspiration to revitalize their classrooms so that students look forward to learning social studies, especially learning experiences placed in their own communities."

Nancy P. Gallavan, Professor
University of Central Arkansas

"An excellent guide for making history a compelling subject to students through the use of sleuthing and crime analysis metaphors and techniques. Any teacher using the models outlined in the book will find his or her classes more exciting for all involved.”

Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., Professor
University of Miami

"Williams presents engaging and unique strategies from his broad range of experience. The connections between historical events and the polemics and mysteries of crime scenes make history learning a thrill."

Brett Piersma, Social Studies Teacher
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, CA

"This is not your typical social studies methods book by any means. Williams's highly readable prose shows a deep respect for the marriage of American history content and teaching."

Elaine Wrisley Reed, Retired Executive Director
National Council for History Education

"Williams's passion for helping teachers look at content in new ways and with clever devices to engage their students is precisely what we need. This informative and well-designed book challenges educators to think outside of the box."

Dennis Denenberg, Professor Emeritus
Millersville University

"Great teachers are national treasures, and Yohuru Williams is one of them. In this book he shares ideas and teaching methods. He also includes some terrific historic vignettes."

Joy Hakim, Author

"Williams is one of the most knowledgeable and exciting history education presenters in the nation. Finally, teachers will have the opportunity to read, digest, and implement these fantastic teaching methods into their lessons."

Kevin T. Brady, President
American Institute for History Education

Although this is not the subject area that I will be teaching I liked the activities that could be adapted to any historical study.

Mrs Susan Buckman
Education, Dundee University
November 18, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1



For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412966214
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