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OUSD K-12 History / Social Studies Standards

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OUSD Historical Thinking Standards 9th-12th Grade

2. Examining Evidence > EVIDENCE : When primary sources are used to support a historical argument or account, they become evidence. Without evidence, there are no grounds for our believing a person's account of the past.

2. Examining Evidence > PRIMARY SOURCE : A primary source is a document or artifact which existed or was created at the time in the past which we wish to study. Sometimes called traces, primary sources are one of the fundamental sources of knowledge about the past.

3. Diversity: Multiple Perspectives > PERSPECTIVE : To speak of the perspective of a person is to recognize that he or she had a particular set of assumptions and a limited way of seeing the world. To understand a person's perspective is to be able to see where the person is standing as they look outward. To talk about a person's perspective is value-neutral, and thus different from talking about their bias, which has a negative connotation. We can also speak of the perspective of a document or a group of people.

3. Diversity: Multiple Perspectives > HISTORICAL EMPATHY : : Historical empathy is the ability to understand what the world looked like from the perspective of a person who lived in the past, in very different circumstances from our own.

3. Diversity: Multiple Perspectives > MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES : To consider multiple perspectives of individuals or groups of people in the past is to recognize that people had different assumptions, interests, beliefs, and points of view. The best understanding of history comes from considering the multiple perspectives of those involved in any event.

4. Historical Interpretation > ACCOUNT / NARRATIVE : An account of the past is a narrative or a story telling how things happened. Accounts are more than lists of events: an account provides answers to the questions, "How and why did x I happen?" They may also include a moral judgement. Historians, textbook writers, novelists, and filmmakers frequently offer different accounts of the same event, because they ask different questions and bring different assumptions to their work. Thus every account is also an interpretation. Good historical accounts are based on evidence.

5. Determining Historical / Geographical Significance > SIGNIFICANCE : We can't know everything about the past, and what's more, we're not interested in everything about the past. Historical significance is a way of talking about what is worth knowing about the past. There are different kinds of reasons for a particular event or person being historically significant.

  • They may have affected large numbers of people (like the dropping of the atomic bomb).
  • They may have had important consequences for us today (like the Bill of Rights). Different events may be significant for different people or groups or they may be significant in different ways. Thus judgements of significance are like accounts, interpretations.