Beans & Rice for the Soul

teaching, learning and living around the world

What does it take to be a great historian?

My students recently wrote the most incredible letters to the rising 7th graders.  I asked them to give tips and advice on how to be a great historian. I was literally giggling in the library as I read these.  Here are a few highlights!

“First, you need to learn how to read.  You’re probably thinking, I know how to read. Yes, you probably do, but do you know how to read and analyze what you’re reading?  When analyzing sources, you always need to be critical and read between the lines.  You want to make sure you can really see what the writer/drawer/animator is trying to say.”

“Have an opinion on everything!  This helps getting a better idea of history and gives it a special personal feeling to it.  Sometimes, though, it is needed to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand something through their eyes.”

“The main thing to do if you are a historian is to look for different perspectives! If you don’t, you might get the facts wrong.”

“Since we live on earth, be sure to know different events that have happened ALL over the world, and not just in one specific place.”

“You need to use deeper or “outside the box” thinking.  This is important as a historian because it can help you make inferences and catch on to the “maybes” easier.”

“Take notes that you understand, that mean something to you and will help you.”

“You always need to have an open mind to take in new things and understand them. If you don’t try to learn, you just won’t.”

“What you need to know, if you want to be a great historian, is to always be curious.  Ask a lot of questions and research them.”

“To be a good historian, first you have to be motivated and interested.  Make history fun when you get the chance of doing your own research- pick something you love.”

“Be patient.  Just relax and be confident that you can do this and you will become an amazing historian.”

“It’s good to know a lot about what has happened over the years, so that you can understand how humans have become like this today.”

“One last very important thing to remember is: there is always more than one TRUTH.”

“P.S. Over the summer you should practice your silent speedball skills.”

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5 comments on “What does it take to be a great historian?

  1. Lonnie Rich (dad)
    June 3, 2013

    I especially like the one about more than one truth. That is because all statements of historical truth contain not just facts but opinion. While we are not entitled to our own facts, we are entitled to our own opinions. So there can be different historical truths! You have some smart (and wise) kids in your class!!

  2. stephanie wintjes
    June 4, 2013

    I love it, Sara. It shows these students are thinkers and they have a great teacher, no doubt! Looking for different perspectives, asking questions, there is more than one truth… They are on their way to becoming life-long learners. Wise teacher to be asking such an essential question.

  3. M Cornelison
    June 5, 2013

    Ah!! Silent speedball 🙂

    Also, NFE is tonight, I’ll send you some pictures!

  4. Pingback: What does it take to be a great historian? Part 2 | Beans & Rice for the Soul

  5. Pingback: Why Nancie Atwell should be a household name | Beans & Rice for the Soul

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This entry was posted on June 3, 2013 by in humanities, teaching.
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