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Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Education Services

Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) uses properties listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of products and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.

A Curriculum Framework
for Professional Training and Development

by Charles S. White and Kathleen H. Hunter

Table of Contents

Part One: Overview of the Curriculum Framework
I. Places and the American Experience
The Power of Place
Using places to teach history and culture


II. The Heritage Education Movement
Background of the heritage education movement
Heritage education today
The limitations of the heritage education movement


III. Educational Reform and Teaching with Historic Places
The education reform movement
How the Teacing with Historic Plces Curriculum Framework can support educational reform


IV. Audiences for the Curriculum Framework
School-based educators
Preservationists and museum and site interpreters
Partnership audiences


Part Two: Content
I. What Can Be Learned from Historic Places?
Kinds of historic places
Sources of knowledge about historic places
Kinds of historical and social science evidence provided by historic places
Elements of empathetic understanding


II. Skills Involved in Teaching with Historic Places
Ways of knowing about historic places
Observation skills
Critical thinking skills
Problem-solving skills
Decision-making skills
Writing skills
Values and attitudes
Participation skills


III. Linking Historic Places to the Curriculum
Topics relevant to the school curriculum
Opportunities for integration across the curriculum


Part Three: Implementation
I. Instructional Strategies and Techniques for Teachers, Interpreters, and Preservationists
General strategies
Strategies for developing thinking skills and classroom thoughtfulness
Questioning strategies
Use of primary sources
Appropriate field-based activities


II. The Power of Partnerships: Locating and Selecting Historic Places to Support the Curriculum, and Navigating through the Nation's School Systems
Where to find material on historic places
Navigating through the nation's school systems


III. Checklists for Preparing Teaching with Historic Places Instructional Activities
Questions to ask when selecting historic places for study
Questions to ask about available resources
Questions to ask about planning a field study
Questions to ask abut student participation in taking care of historic places


Part Four: Using the Curriculum Framework
I. Curriculum Development Principles for Lessons, Workshops, and Courses
Principle one: Plan collaboratively
Principle two: Support curriculum change in schools
Principle three: Target a narrow range of grade levels in workshops
Principle four: Focus on field-based teaching methods
Principle five: Ground instructional materials in sound historical scholarship
Principle six: Emphasize primary sources, evidence, and inquiry
Principle seven: Pursue depth, not breadth


II. Model lessons
Exploring nearby historic places
Exploring distant historic places


III. Model Workshops for Teachers, Preservationists, Interpreters, and Others
A two-day workshop
A one-week workshop


IV. A Model Course for Teachers, Preservationists, Interpreters, and Others


Part Five: Readings and Resources
I. Readings
Teaching and learning history, geography, and the social studies
The education reform movement in history, geography, and the social studies
Applied history: historic preservation, public history, museum and site interpretation, heritage education
Teaching with historic places


II. Resources for Teaching with Historic Places
Finding information about historic places, preservationist, and interpreters
Finding information about state and local school systems, and the teaching and learning of history and social studies


APPENDIX: Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plan--Roadside Attractions