Teaching history in the primary grades





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This capstone studies social studies curricula for first and second grade students. It addresses discrepancies between the capabilities of young learners and the methods in the current programs used. The author describes the developmental stage of these children, highlights best practices in teaching history, provides a sample unit plan, and recommends considerations for using and choosing a social studies curriculum. She was motivated to pursue this topic due to disappointment when reflecting on her experiences with history as a student and as a teacher. After teaching a curriculum based on actively building connections, she realized how interesting history could be. The author checked websites of local schools to determine current curricula used. She learned that many social studies programs for young students lack historical substance. Looking to experts such as Levstik, Bruner, Taba, and Chip Wood, she sought to prove that young learners are capable of enjoying and learning history.

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