OUSD History Standards > Five Historical Thinking Standards & Introduction

OUSD K-12 History / Social Studies Standards

1. Chronological/Spatial Thinking
What students should be able to do:

1) Students know the key events of the historical eras they are studying, and place them in chronological sequence.

2) Students understand the relationships between a year (e.g., 1865) and the century (e.g., the nineteenth) in which it occurred. They use the terms "early (mid, late) ___ century."

3) Students use maps to identify physical and cultural features of neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries that they are studying, both historically and in the present.

4) Students understand that change happens at different rates at different times; that some aspects of a thing can change while others remain the same; that change is complicated and not always what it seems. They understand that change affects not only technology and politics, but also values and beliefs.

5) Students understand that we use periodization to divide the past into meaningful chunks of time (e.g., Middle Ages, the Civil Rights Era, the Reagan years). They understand that periods can be divided differently, depending on our purposes in examining the past.

6) Students understand that the present is connected to the past. They identify both similarity (continuity) and difference (change) between past and present.

2. Examining Evidence
What students should be able to do:

1) Students are familiar with a wide range of artifacts, photographs, stories, music, historical maps, and written sources from the periods they are studying. They use these sources to generate questions about the past.

2) Students identify the uses of an artifact. They identify parts of the artifact and how they might contribute to its usefulness. They identify the main subject of a photograph. They identify details in a photograph and explain how they contribute information to the picture. The students understand the meaning of the vocabulary used in written sources and accurately read information from them. They identify the main idea or ideas stated in the source as well as supporting details.

3) Students identify sources, primary and secondary, where they can gain information. They understand how the original intent or audience for the source can be used to evaluate reliability (e.g., diary vs. public letter).

4) Students understand that some sources are more reliable than others. They compare reliable and unreliable sources and offer reasons why one source should be accepted as more reliable than another. They understand that sources may conflict for a variety of reasons.

5) Students understand that primary sources also tell us about the person or people who created them. They use sources to help figure out the purposes and perspectives of their author(s). They explain how sources attempt to persuade audiences through use of vocabulary and other strategies.

6) Students discuss how different primary sources from a time period are related to each other. They explain how the sources are products of the time in which they were produced. They discuss how the author's beliefs and values are related to those of others at the time the source was created.

3. Diversity : Multiple Perspectives
What students should be able to do:

1) Students examine beliefs, values, and conditions of life of a variety of different people from different times and places.

2) Students imaginatively place themselves in the position of others in different circumstances - today or in the past - and explain what things would look like from those other people's positions. They explain differences between two or more participants' views of a particular event. They tell a story incorporating the views of mul-tiple characters. They understand that the meaning of a story or history changes, depending upon which participant's viewpoint is placed at the center.

3) Students understand the importance of considering the actions and perspectives of all of those involved in a particular event. They discuss how a person's circumstances were connected to how they viewed the world (e.g. a person who lived in the desert valued water highly; an enslaved person saw being able to travel as part of the meaning of freedom).

4) Students do not dismiss others because they are different. They value diversity; they value the attempt to understand why others act as they do.

5) Students understand that it is not sufficient to "imagine" multiple perspectives. They seek and are able to interpret evidence of various historical actors' views and perspectives in order to construct histori-cal accounts. They understand that it is difficult to understand others' assumptions and values without superimposing one's own.

4. Historical Interpretation
What students should be able to do:

1) Students understand that different interpretations of the same events may be the result of different questions being asked, or different sources being used, or different perspectives of the authors.

2) Students understand that historical interpretations have changed over time.

3) Students describe the strengths and weaknesses of different historical interpretations, based on their authors' use of evidence and their inclusion of multiple perspectives.

4) Students explain why different groups interpret and use history indifferent ways.

5) Students use multiple primary and secondary sources to construct a narrative of a historical event.

5 . Determining Historical/ Geographical Significance
What students should be able to do:

1) Students explain how certain events and decision's had consequences for others. They evaluate the consequences as positive or negative (or a combination of the two).

2) Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.

3) Students justify their own judgments of the historical significance-of particular events or people.

4) Students distinguish between the significant and trivial details, in relation to a particular historical development or account.

5) Students understand that different historical events, people, and trends may have different significance for different groups or individuals.

6) Students understand the significance of place in people's lives and in shaping historical events.