A Passion for the Past by James A Percoco. Creative Teaching of U.S.
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A Passion for the Past

A Passion for the Past

Creative Teaching of U.S. History

By James A Percoco
Foreword by Gary B. Nash

James Percoco shows how to venture beyond your history textbook and provide students with opportunities to experience history firsthand by demonstrating how to use applied history to bring to life the people, places and events of our nation’s history.

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Full Description

    The real secret of the Percoco classroom magic is that unbeatable combination of a love of teaching and an all-out love of his subject.
    —David McCullough

James Percoco challenges you to venture beyond your history textbook and provide students with opportunities to experience history firsthand. He demonstrates how, using applied history, you can bring to life the people, places, and events of our nation's history, inspiring in your students a passion for the past.

Join Percoco and his students as they embark on what he calls "academic adventures." Taking advantage of the many resources in their surrounding community and beyond, Percoco's students travel to historic sites and exhibits, examine archives and other primary source documents, analyze movies and documentaries, conduct interviews, create sculptures, and much more. Throughout the book, Percoco lists numerous sources for historical information and documents, as well as practical suggestions for cultivating contacts and managing logistics.

As a result of the tangible experiences applied history offers, students come to appreciate the relevance of the past to their present and their future. As they work to make sense of the past, they will learn to question their assumptions, to think critically, and ultimately to develop their own personal yet valid understanding of our nation's history.


1. A Present of the Past
2. Friends and Colleagues
The Art of Networking
3. Bumper Stickers and Other Strategies
4. If Statues Could Talk
Using Monuments to Teach
5. Guest Speakers and Telephone Conferences
6. Teaching History Through Film
7. Doing History
Applied History and Interning
8. On the Road Again Field Trips