Thursday, October 4, 2012

A History Of Us - A 10-Volume History Text

I taught a 5/6 combination class for many years and the social textbook for 6th grade was okay but the 5th grade textbook was old, out  dated, and filled with misinformation. I used to read aloud parts of The People's History Of The United States, by Howard Zinn. Students always asked me why they didn't have good texts to read, texts with multiple viewpoints. I decided to do research and found A History Of Us, by Joy Hakim. It is a 10-volume, award winning series about the birth and development of the United States. Students love it, as a matter of fact, I had to pry it away from my 6th graders because it is so well-written, in a storybook style with lots of visual aids, weird and interesting facts, diverse viewpoints, and humor!

It also comes with a teachers manual. I would divide the series teaching the first five volumes in 5th grade and the second five volumes in 8th grade.

My next  challenge was how to find the money to purchase the series. I decided to approach one of my neighbors, a local entrepreneur. He said he would give me a donation to buy the texts if I agreed not to tell any one where I got the funds as he was concerned other teachers would ask him for money too. I agreed and my students ( I did let 6th graders read) loved reading the texts and activities.

When I retired I gave my teaching materials to my student teacher and the last time I talked to him he was still using the series and told me how much his students enjoy the books and the activities found in the teacher manual.

I highly recommend this series to engage students.

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