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History in the Present Tense

Engaging Students Through Inquiry and Action

By Jan Maher, Doug Selwyn

    . . . a unique and imaginative approach to education, taking the student out of the textbook, even out of the classroom, into creative contact with the world outside. Students and teachers will profit immensely from its suggestions.
    —Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, Author of A People's History of the United States
    . . . smooth, entertaining, witty, and personal—just the right combination of methods, social analysis, and philosophy of history for my secondary certification students.
    —Susan Starbuck, Professor, Antioch University Seattle, author of Hazel Wolf: Fighting the Establishment
    . . . a student-centered, intellectually invigorating, content-open way to engage students in the study of history.
    —Tarry Lindquist, Author of Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies, Ways That Work, and Social Studies at the Center

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    . . . a unique and imaginative approach to education, taking the student out of the textbook, even out of the classroom, into creative contact with the world outside. Students and teachers will profit immensely from its suggestions.
    —Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University, Author of A People's History of the United States
    . . . smooth, entertaining, witty, and personal—just the right combination of methods, social analysis, and philosophy of history for my secondary certification students.
    —Susan Starbuck, Professor, Antioch University Seattle, author of Hazel Wolf: Fighting the Establishment
    . . . a student-centered, intellectually invigorating, content-open way to engage students in the study of history.
    —Tarry Lindquist, Author of Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies, Ways That Work, and Social Studies at the Center

In this practical guidebook, Douglas Selwyn and Jan Maher propose a different way of teaching history—start from today and keep asking questions. As students investigate possible answers, they make connections across miles and centuries. Along the way, they experience that essential insight of the social studies: Point of view has everything to do with how one perceives the world. To this end, each chapter explores projects connecting students' concerns with core content and concepts in history, geography, civics, and economics.

Lessons center on the economics of ordinary objects, understanding current events in historical context, creating readers¹ theater, photodocumentaries and more. While students dig deeply into issues of personal relevance, they also master the content and skills mandated in state and national standards. Students learn about history—and about themselves.

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