Journal Critique Essay

1532 words - 7 pages

In this article, the author Kristi Fragnoli discusses the incorporation of historical items into classrooms as instructional and motivational tools. Brining in historical items will not only allow the learner to touch history in his or her palms, it will also allow the learner to tap into higher-order thinking skills. Fragnoli presents a three-step approach to analyzing historical items in a classroom. The historical items can supplement written and oral sources and help develop a wide variety of skills that are included in the Common Core standards.
Fragnoli begins by discussing how the social studies classrooms of today are boring. However, Fragnoli believes that there is a cure for ...view middle of the document...

(Fragnoli, 2013)
In this article, Fragnoli writes a rationale for bringing items into the classroom. I found this as an important aspect in her journal. Fragnoli’s rationale is that bringing objects into the classroom will allow learners to touch history first hand and at the same time allow for the use of higher order thinking skills. Fragnoli says that learners that handle historical objects can learn who made the item and who used it. In reality, history is coming alive, as students are collecting cultural evidence of just who someone was in a certain time period. Fragnoli believes in historical investigation, which will gain the learner a different kind of knowledge than written or oral sources, but will still lead to the development of advanced intellectual abilities. Fragnoli’s historical items approach to teaching is centered on the key components of “defining problems, searching for textual evidence, comparing and contrasting texts, and complete expository writing” (Fragnoli, 2013) All of these key components are directed to a level of Bloom’s taxonomy, which ultimately if the historical items approach is done correctly, allow students to delve into higher-order thinking skills.
Fragnoli writes that research has shown that student-centered activities in social studies are the most desirable, as they allow students to gain in-depth knowledge and motivate them to learn social studies. Implementing historical objects is a way that will facilitate student-centered activities. Therefore, by implementing historical objects, students will be more motivated to learn social studies. As students interpret and analyze the historical artifact, they begin to wonder why the item was made, how it was used and the role it played in the community at the time. Instead of just learning the facts, students will discover how people at the time lived. (Fragnoli, 2013)
Fragnoli delves into object analysis, which is the technique used while analyzing the historical item. There are many skills required for object analysis. For example, a learner would need to search for information, discover connections and weigh the evidence. These skills are what historians and scholars use while analyzing historical artifacts. Fragnoli believes that learners should engage into history similar to how historians explore the past, instead of memorizing events and dates. (Fragnoli, 2013)
The skills for object analysis are aligned with the Common Core Standards. When learners are asking about historical information when looking at a historical object, it helps students acquire and master multiple higher order thinking skills. The author uses the example of the historical object being similar to a hook, which ultimately will lead students to research the item and find the answers to the questions that will arise from analyzing an object. To answer these questions, learners will have to infer, compare and even contrast the item to find the answers, which ultimately means they...

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