We both teach history in the Los Angeles metro area – Aaron in Compton USD, a large public system, and Jody in an independent day school. We often plan together. Although our methods may sometimes differ, we have the same goal for our eighth graders: We want our students to read, comprehend, and analyze text.
So the question is: how to make them responsible for the material? We aren’t going to have them answer the questions at the back of the book. (Are there questions in the back of our history books anymore?). So it begs the question: what do we do so that
(1) the students will read; and
(2) the students will understand and be responsible for what they read?
Our shared answer: We taught our students how to annotate as they read and study history.