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7 Great Common Core Resources for History AND ELA Teachers

By Dave Stuart Jr.

I just added and annotated 7 great resources for both US and world history teachers in the Resources page of Teaching the Core. (For the sake of convenience, I've copied the list of resources below.) These books weren't written specifically with the Common Core in mind, but they all offer bountiful tie-ins to numerous CCR anchor standards.

Now, ELA teachers are probably thinking, “What the heck? These aren't for ELA teachers! I've been had!” But remember, just as the content area teachers are expected to do their part to increase literacy, so the ELA teachers are expected to help build knowledge. This is one of the Six Shifts that people are talking about, and it's part of the CCSS' goal to increase coherence across the disciplines.

So, consider picking up one of the books mentioned and seeing how you could incorporate a source or two into some of your units as a way of increasing the range of complex texts your students read (R.CCR.10). Or just enjoy being a curious student of history 🙂

Have fun!

Common Core Resources Related to World History:

  • The Human Record: Sources of Global History, Volume I: To 1500, by Alfred J. Andrea and James H. Overfield
  • The Human Record: Sources of Global History, Volume II: Since 1500, by Alfred J. Andrea and James H. Overfield
    • Both of Andrea and Overfield's books are going to be an invaluable part of my complex text collection during the upcoming school year. They’re an excellent, highly accessible wealth of primary source documents across world history, and I plan to use them for tying into both ELA and world history units.
  • History’s Greatest Lies: The Startling Truths Behind World Events our History Books Got Wrong, by William Weir
    • This book contains some great (and not so great) examples of conflicts in the discipline of history; I’m excited to have students compare the chapter on Galileo with a chapter from their textbooks and some primary source documents from elsewhere.
  • World History in Documents: A Comparative Reader, by Peter N. Stearns
    • Stearns was one of the pioneers of the teaching of world history, and this book is one great proof of it. Although it’s primarily a book of primary source documents, Stearns does such a good job of introducing documents and providing compelling groupings of documents that it’s hard not to get sucked in to just sitting down and reading it. I’m looking forward to pulling a lot of source material from here in the coming year.

Common Core Resources Related to US History:

  • Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School History Classrooms, by Sam Wineburg, Daisy Martin, and Chauncey Monte-Sano
    • This book’s pedagogy applies to all areas of history, but its examples are specifically US history examples, hence why I include it here.
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen
    • This is a great book for discovering controversy and how to handle it in US history. Obviously, there’s a boatload of argumentative writing (W.CCR.1) or informative/explanatory writing (W.CCR.2) prompts waiting to be drawn out of this book. Loewen opened my eyes to how fun and deep teaching history can be.
  • A History of US: Eleven-Volume Set, by Joy Hakim
    • No matter what level of US history you teach, you’ve got to check out Hakim’s historical writing. This set is filled with model explanatory texts, and it also makes ample use of primary documents (not to mention that it’s final book is simply a book of primary sources). In Loewen’s survey of US history textbooks (found in Lies, above), Hakim gets pretty glowing reviews. It’s accessible to 5th graders but engaging reading for all ages.

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