Making a Personal Connection to History

Posted by Teresa M. on Jan 14, 2015 3:04:05 AM

When a student makes a connection to a historical event, they are more motivated to learn. Here are some suggestions to help students make a connection to history and current events.


Through discussions, you can assess a students background knowledge. Students might have heard about the Bunker's Hill or the great depression. By making those connections to their background knowledge builds more knowledge.

Current Events can also help to teach topics. Using “Today in History” type lessons, students can see the impact of historical events on their lives. They understand how a day in history impacts other days in history.


Having a personal connection with people and events makes learning meaningful. If the family member is still living, you could have them interview that person. This would make a wonderful lesson of primary sources. Sample questions to include in the interview:

How old were you when _____ happened?________________

What do you remember?________________________________

How did this event make you feel?_________________________

This was a great lesson my students learned this past year. I had a student interview her grandmother about the great depression. The student learned far more from this interaction than from a book.


When using additional resources to supplement your lessons, students are taught other perspectives. Understanding other perspectives helps students to realize history is written like a story. Try these with your students.

Screen shot 2014-10-19 at 7.53.17 PMAmerican History 1

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2013 ISBN: 9781612476759
This two-part book program offers activities to supplement standard U.S. history classroom textbooks. Lessons can stand-alone or coordinate with any text. Activity pages include basic concepts, graphs, maps, vocabulary comprehension, and nonfiction informational excerpts that help make meaningful connections with historical concepts, facts, and ideas. Reproducible Books include table of contents and answer keys.

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 7.55.57 AMHistory and Geography Words

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2011 ISBN: 9781612471495
The reproducible lessons in this series focus on practical vocabulary terms, skills, and concepts in relevant situational settings. Struggling students learn over 3,000 high-utility words in 28 self-contained thematic lessons. Additionally, each lesson activates prior knowledge and continually reinforces fundamental language arts skills and concepts. These reproducible books include teacher notes and tips, answer keys, reference guides, lessons, unit reviews, and more.

Screen shot 2014-11-14 at 6.06.47 PMResearch for Writing: Doing Primary Research

by Valerie Bodden (author) © 2013 ISBN: 9781566601481
A narrative guide to conducting primary research, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for collecting and applying qualitative and quantitative data, and helpful resources.
Or you could search by historical event.

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.01.02 AMThe Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression 1920-1940

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2010 SBN: 9781602916937
Book features include: Four-color throughout; speech bubbles and illustrations allow struggling readers multiple access points to the text; speech bubbles (in yellow) are clearly separated from nonfiction (in blue).

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 8.03.00 AMBetween the Wars

by Christine Dugan ISBN: 9780743906661
The years between World War I and World War II were years of change and reform. The role of women changed and the social status of African Americans began the slow process of reform. Industry continued to grow as the demand for cars increased. When the Great Depression occurred in 1929, life in America changed drastically as many people found themselves poor and homeless.

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Reviews, Publisher Preview, Integration Ideas, Literacy

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