Xtreme HISTORY
Social Studies LITERACY Skills “SAMPLER”

The following are ways we can take our content and have our students “process” through different LITERACY “skills”, MIXING both CRITICAL THINKING and CONTENT:

Four basic THINKING SKILLS skills I try to teach are:
1)Main Idea + evidence
2)Cause and Effect
3)Bias-Perspective
4)Grouping-Classification

Then I MIX CONTENT-CURRICULUM from the history STANDARDS with the LITERACY SKILLS techniques to work the “Xtreme” LEARNING “PROCESS”.

Here are some examples:

1)MAIN IDEA + EVIDENCE

The following is an example of what I call M-S-S-S activities. The students must identify which one is the main idea and which ones support the main idea.

Place an “M” next to the one that summarizes that main idea of the group of statements, an “S” next to the statements that support the main idea.
Group #1
____a)The French economy was regulated by the government. Tax rates were high,
especially for the poor peasant class.
____b)France was governed by an elite made up of king, nobility and Church.
_M__c)French society was “feudal” – characterized by a hierarchal pyramid.
____d)Class distinctions and privileges in France were largely based upon birth,
with “superiors” and “inferiors”.

A variation of this is to give them the three supporting ideas and have them write out a sentence with the main idea.

2)CAUSE and EFFECT

The following is what I call “Inferential Chronologies” I borrowed from an English teacher colleague. The students call identify the order of things based upon clues within the reading. I usually give them the first one.
Place the following groups of statements in order of chronology. (#1 – #5)
Read the statements to give you “clues” to the order in which they happened.
Group #1 Louis XIV’s France
____1)Louis XIV built the palace of Versailles to symbolize and exercise absolute
power over French society.
____2)French feudal society was symbolized by the “absolute” power exercised by
Louis XIV at the top of the feudal hierarchy.”
____3)Louis XVI was unable to maintain the spending habits of previous French
absolute monarchs. This led to a financial crisis.
__1_4)The feudal society of France under Louis XIV left many/most French people
dissatisfied with the burdens placed upon them to maintain
Louis XIV’s absolute rule.
____5)Louis XIV and his palace at Versailles emphasized the social and economic
inequalities his absolute power was based on.

3)BIAS-PERSPECTIVE

Reaction Guides are excellent ways to review content and have students “interpret” historical events. You can have students do these individually or in “think-pair-share groups. It is also a way to incorporate writing into the curriculum.
You can have them do a “free write” at the end or have them explain each of their responses.

NAPOLEON Reaction Guide

Agree? Disagree?
____ 1)Napoleon was a “nobody” from Corsica who rose to power, _______
a positive and admirable symbol of “the people” and the Revolution’s
rejection of a corrupt and incompetent feudal king and nobility.
Explain why: (in 2-3 complete sentences)

____ 2)Napoleon was a power mad “punk” who vowed to destroy ______
France and the elitist French students who humiliated him in school.
He learned to hate “the mob”. He ultimately used France and its people
for his own benefit and their eventual destruction.
____ 3)Napoleon was a “liberator” from the old, corrupt feudal _____
ways of Europe. The French Revolution would eventually
free millions of people from a corrupt feudal tyranny.
____ 4)Napoleon was a “tyrant” who was worse than any of the French ______
kings. He was a megolomaniac who lusted over his own power
and position more than Louis XVI ever did.
WRITING ASSIGNMENT: In 50 WORDS, give your opinion of Napoleon. Was he good or bad, right or wrong? Provide reasons to support your point of view.

4)GROUPING

These are good for review activities, but can be used for virtually anything.

FRENCH REVOLUTION UNIT REVIEW
FRENCH FEUDAL SOCIETY REVOLUTION CAUSES
1) 1)
REVOLUTION REFORMS
1) 1)
2) 2)
RADICALS NAPOLEON
1) 1)

FILL IN the FOLLOWING ANSWERS TO THEIR MATCHING CATEGORY:
Financial Crisis Third Estate takes power Revolutionary Artillery Officer Jacobins Louis XVI – The Sun King Declaration of the Rights of Man
etc.

VISUAL REVIEWS:
A powerpoint semester review with pictures that require them to identify which unit of study applies.
(1 – Political Revolution 2-Industrial Revolution 3–Imperialism 4-World War One)

I then show the same picture with statements and ask WHICH ONE DOES NOT APPLY. For example, I show them a picture of a person working with a “spinning jenny” loom with the statements a)spinning jenny b)textiles c)Amish factory worker