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Literacy for History/Social Studies

History Labs (UMBC Center for History Education)
History Labs are research and investigative learning experiences that provide teachers with the necessary information, resources, and procedures to teach a full range of historical thinking skills by taking students through a process that is inquiry driven at its best.

In a History Lab, students:

  • Seek to answer an open-ended overarching question that permits multiple possible answers;
  • Analyze sources and apply information to develop answers to the overarching question;
  • Apply literacy skills in the reading, evaluation and analysis of historical sources;
  • Critically examine source materials for authorship and purpose, significant information, context and subtext, and multiple or conflicting perspectives;
  • Apply grade-level and ability-appropriate interpretive skills;
  • Adjust or modify the overarching question itself, as necessary;
  • Develop present, defend, and refine their evidence-based answers.

CLICK HERE to redirect to History Labs resources for further information. Sample History Labs ready for classroom use can be found at this link, along with templates for teachers to use to create their own labs.


Thinking Maps
These graphic organizers are consistent visual patterns linked directly to eight specific thought processes. By visualizing thinking, students can create images of abstract thoughts to help guide and direct their developing understanding. These patterns help all students reach higher levels of critical and creative thinking.  

CLICK HERE to explore more about Thinking Maps and how they can help you address literacy in your Social Studies/History classroom.

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Polk School District 612 South College St.
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