Periodically, I teach a course that requires a quick introduction to the task of history. It is usually just a brief initiation to how history is done.

Past semesters I used this video.

 

The distinction between the past and history is often new to students and this video does a great job making this point. In addition, we get to talk about interpretation and others ideas such as causation.

This past semester, I came across a blog post by Jonathan W. Wilson.

https://bluebook.life/2018/08/21/my-favorite-first-day-activity/

As he does a great job of writing up the class activity, there is no need to repeat it here. All to say, by asking students to identify what is the history of their life, makes for a fun way to introduce the task of history.

I tried it out this semester and the experience was great. We had an insightful discussion on interpretation, the importance of primary sources, our biases, and the significance of how failure to include certain information results in a poor history. If you haven’t already, I recommend you read through Wilson’s class activity.

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