Teaching History Thematically

Today’s theme: the return of U.S. dominance in Women’s World Cup soccer. After 16 years, the trophy is coming home. But what caused tonight’s historic win? The plethora of developmental soccer programs at the youth level? A growing American interest in soccer? Title IX? Maybe it’s a combination of all of these…

These questions point at a key concern when teaching history. How do we teach a traditionally chronological subject, while still keeping themes alive and in the minds of our students. While most of us will continue the same approach we have always used, we will need to explicitly teach the five themes in the new AP European History curriculum redesign. These themes will tie together the centuries and allow students to analyze progress (or lack thereof) over time.

But it also presents another interesting possibilities. Some of us may choose to teach the course thematically, and the new curriculum outlines how that can be done. While challenging, this could be a new and interesting approach.

In my latest video, I go through the thematic learning objectives that are outlined in the new curriculum, and I try to give some context I learned at my APSI this summer. The opinions are my own, and we will all choose to teach the course differently, but hopefully this will help explain how the themes can be developed throughout the year.

I welcome your feedback, and I hope this helps in planning your course. If so, please subscribe to my blog using the link on the right, and subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’ll be busy all summer putting together materials for my classes, and I’ll be sharing all of them for your use.

On a final note, tomorrow is score release day. I hope your students did well on the exam.

And a big congratulations to the U.S. Women’s National Team who rocked their final exam and brought the championship trophy back to the U.S.A. My daughter is pumped, and hopefully are a whole generation of girls who will take this World Cup and use it as motivation to excel and maybe, just maybe, bring home another trophy in the future.

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