Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Quiz Rules
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

An Introduction to Historical Thinking and Reading


This Flash movie begins by introducing history as a subject of study that requires thinking and asking questions. It then uses a case study about the opening hostilities in the Revolutionary War to show and explain historical reading and thinking. The movie includes historians thinking out loud about two primary source documents regarding the shots fired on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775.

Viewers simultaneously see the text and the comments and questions that historians make in response to that text (slides 5, 7). Longer, additional examples of historians thinking aloud and analyzing these documents are also available (slides 6,7). The narrator uses these examples to introduce and clarify four kinds of questions that historians ask: sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. With ten consecutive mini-episodes, the movie permits users to control the pace and choose to review or skip particular segments.