Learning to Think Historically and Archaeologically (unit 1)

By , August 21, 2011 12:43 pm

Sem. 1, 2019/20:


Our course question this semester will be: Did the benefits of civilization outweigh the negatives? It will become more relevant in unit 2. For now, we will jump into history and how to study it. 


Tues. Sept. 3: Get Contact Info Form signed by parent/guardian. Do “Welcome Back” activity (on front page of this blog) for tomorrow.


Wed. Sept. 4: Intro to Thinking Historically

Teacher in a box

  • history vocab from teacher in a box activity:
    • inferences (reading between the lines – figuring out what the evidence is telling you – making an educated guess or prediction)
    • evidence (things from the past (objects = artefacts and documents))
    • corroboration (confirmation, backup of a source)
    • context (the surrounding environment, situation, circumstances).
  • history themes from reliable website/video activity:
    • Fact-checking in history
      • don’t trust the first thing you see
      • don’t assume anything is true
      • this is true for what you read, listen to and watch
      • CRAAP test (see writing package)

HW:  Get contact information form signed and return it tomorrow (Thursday) if not already done.



Thurs. Sept. 5: Thinking  Archaeologically

Image result for archaeology

Image result for underwater archaeology caesarea

Archaeology words:




Archaeology Ripped from the Headlines

7000-year old Cheese

Archaeologist who used beetles to unlock past

Archaeologists in the Yukon find a Remarkably Intact Dart Lost by an Indigenous Hunter 1,000 Years Ago

Ancient Church Hidden in Turkish Lake. And a Pagan Temple May Lie Beneath It.



  • Frink’s Dig activity
    • how does archaeology contribute to history?
      • archaeologists unearth or uncover objects (artefacts) from the past

Read the handouts and look at the two diagrams and identify:

  • logical interpretations
  • evidence (artifacts) to back them up
  • Interpretations:
    • green light – pretty sure (probable)
    • yellow light – might be true (possible)
    • red light – not really sure (might, could) – we are going to practice using the language of NON-certainty regarding organized religion, trade, class structure, job specialization

HW: get contact information form signed and return it if not already done


Fri. Sept. 6: Archaeology

  • History vs. the Past
    • the past is much bigger – everything that EVER happened
    • history is a selection from the past
      • things that were found or recorded
      • a construction of what we see as important from the past (sometimes biased)


  • Historical Thinking Concepts – introduction of the package at the end of your handout package – for today we just learned not to be presentist (don’t judge the past by today’s values)



Mon. Sept. 9: Paleolithic Life

Is this your impression of paleolithic life? When did paleolithic people live? Where? Click to see a map of human migration. 

Key words: communal, barter, hunter-gatherer, nomadic, resourceful


CHW3M_Paleolithic_Society_Overview (reading to be annotated)

  • How to Annotate – watch these videos if you don’t know how:
  • Ms. G’s main ideas of annotation
    • interact and react to what you’re reading by marking up the page appropriately
      • this is more than highlighting, circling and underlining key words
      • use arrows to connect things
      • once you are familiar with HTCs you can connect text passages to different HTCs
      • imagine that annotating is meant to help you study for a test or exam
        • instead of reading everything over again, you have already indicated what is super important on each page by annotating it

Reindeer carving – artifact interpretation.  Intro_to_Paleo_2018 (PPT)


Skills: interpretation of artefacts, making inferences, annotating handouts


Persiat is an acronym of categories that we use to study a society from the bottom up:

P  political (government, power, decision-making)

E economic

R religious

S social (relations between people, groups of people, social hierarchy, gender, classes, ethnicity/race)

I intellectual (ideas, philosophies)

A artistic

T technological

PERSIAT is a way of looking at a society from the bottom up rather than the top down;  it allows us to look at all of society, not just the powerful people.

HW: Using pages 31-34 in the textbook, make a PERSIAT chart for Paleolithic society. Make sure it is titled and make sure it includes details.

  • the main goal of note-taking is to get the main ideas and the details (examples) to support them
  • if you don’t record details, then it’s all very general and Paleolithic society could sound a lot like any other society
    • I should see very specific artefacts (objects) named in your notes

Do you think any of the following apply to paleolithic people?

innovative, improved, inventive, intuitive, ingenious, adaptive, creative, resourceful?


Key Characteristics of Paleolithic Life: 

  • nomadic
  • hunter-gatherers
  • communal (band)
  • artistic
  • supernatural beliefs
  • trade/barter with outsiders



Tues. Sept. 10: Paleolithic society, con’t.

Minds On Videos: 

Paleolithic art video (National Geographic), Chauvet caves art video (BBC), 360 view of Lascaux video (NY Times), virtual tour of Lascaux video (vimeo), retrieving a paleolithic skull in Mexico video (PBS).

Take-up of paleolithic charts – there may be some disagreement on which category to put information in. Some things could go in multiple categories.

Fill in roles worksheet in handout package (page 2 – inside of cover page). For gender, most is speculation.

The appeal of paleolithic life – list some positive and negative features on the board. You’ll need this for the first assignment. It’s okay to be  presentist for this and to be judgmental.

HW: none (unless you didn’t complete your paleolithic chart)


Wed. Sept. 11: Transitioning to Neolithic Society

Minds On: Why don’t we live the paleolithic lifestyle today?

Jarmo classification exercise (we will read the article in handout package next week)

Were the people of Jarmo paleolithic? If not, make two hypotheses about them.

Characteristics of Neolithic Society

  1. stationary/settled (non-nomadic)
  2. had agriculture (control of plants)/farming
  3. domesticated animals (bred and raised animals for human purposes)
  • they also had art, traded (bartered) and were resourceful, just like paleolithic people; they were probably less communal (as we saw through the Emergence of Agriculture  =advantages and disadvantages )

Emergence of Agriculture (in handouts): make sure you know that agriculture came with consequences, both positive and negative.

HW: Using pages 35-36 in textbook, make a PERSIAT chart for Neolithic society. Make sure it is titled so you don’t mix it up with Paleolithic Persiat chart.

Ms. G introduced the unit culminating activity today. See below for all tips, rubrics, the outline, websites and instructions. Email Ms. G if you have any questions: risa.gluskin@tdsb.on.ca. Outline template is below but here’s another copy:

CHW3M_Unit1_CA_Sem1_2019-20_Outline_Template (send to Ms. G by Sunday Sept. 15)


Thurs. Sept. 12: Neolithic Society, con’t.

Characteristics of Neolithic society

HW: take notes from 1 or 2 websites for your paragraph research. Take notes in columns using this template:


Skills: note-taking


Fri. Sept. 13:  Paleo-Neo Paragraph Writing


Writing is a balance of evidence and argument, a balanced see-saw.

  • If your writing is evidence-heavy, it’s a LIST.
  • If your writing is argument-heavy, it’s a RANT.
  • You want a nice balance of both argument and evidence.

Also, when writing a paragraph, the first sentence should be your TOPIC SENTENCE. There is no introduction before it. Ms. G’s formula for a topic sentence is as follows:

TS = main argument + sub-topics described (not listed)

Here’s an example of a good topic sentence that follows the formula: 

Ideal writing is a balance of evidence and argument; evidence should be detailed, while argument should be explained. 



You’ll also notice that the TS above has a semi-colon (;). Ms. G is a fan of the semi-colon because it’s like having two sentences in one.

Another way to think about topic sentences is to have a strong position on a topic. That shouldn’t be too difficult when your topic is your opinion on the appeal of paleolithic or neolithic life.

For arguments: these are where you explain HOW the lifestyle was appealing/unappealing to you and how hard or easy the transition would have been. You have to try to relate these things to continuity and/or change. See word list below.

Paleo-Neo Paragraph Prep

Outline due by Sunday Sept. 15 – electronically (email attachment or shared google doc). Ms. G goes to bed at 10 pm so please do not send too close to that time.

Paragraph due in class on Thurs. Sept. 19 (no lates) – printed out, not sent in electronically. 

Ms. G will not accept your paragraph without an outline first (see below). 

CHW3M_Unit1_CA_Sem1_2019-20 (the assignment)

CHW3M_Rubric_Unit_1_CA_Sem1_2019-20 (always read the rubric so you know what you’re being marked on)



CHW3M_Unit1_CA_Sem1_2019-20_Outline_Template (save this as a document and type in it – make the boxes as big as you need – include all details)

Send outline to get written feedback from Ms. G by Sunday Sept. 15 – risa.gluskin@tdsb.on.ca



CHW3M_Paleo_Neo_Point_vs_Example (2)


Websites for Paleo/Neo Sites

search under news, newsletters, then choose a date and look under FINDS for material objects found


Gobekli Tepe (transitional between paleo and neo)

 (3 Column Note-taking Method )

Gobekli Tepi articles


Continuity and Change Vocabulary

change: progress, evolve, develop, transition, expand, revolutionize, foresee, notice, adapt

continuity: remain, preserve, stay the same, slow


Historical Perspective Phrases

I realize it was different back then, their way of life …

Avoid presentism: they were stupid and their technology was so backward compared to ours, they didn’t have technology, they didn’t use computers so they were stupid, they couldn’t figure out how to live like us


Outline Comments (Feb. 19, 2018)

Good job overall. Here are some important general comments in addition to individualized feedback.

Most people could stand to improve the detail in their examples. Many do not even include the location of the archaeological site or date of the find. If this information is available, include it: What did the object look like? How big was it? What was it made out of? Where was it found? What could it have been used for? Think like an archaeologist describing what he/she has dug up!

The arguments (connections to TS)  were pretty good. For the most part, students included a reason why the technology was advanced. There’s room to explain further. Explain means make your thinking clear to the reader. I always say, “don’t just say it, explain it.” When improving your writing you must put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to look at your own writing more objectively.  Your continuity/change vocab can really help you here to make deeper arguments.

Please cite your sources in brackets after the example(Smithsonian).

I do not want multiple paragraphs;  I only asked for one. Your page limit is one page and a half, typed, double-spaced. That length is fine for an argumentative, detailed paragraph.

Lastly, don’t forget that topic and concluding sentences can only be one sentence (plus semi colon) long. They are not a string of sentences. Try not to just list your sub-topics; try to describe them. A simple adjective in front of a noun (i.e., growing artistry) can make a big difference. CSs should not be exact replicas of TSs. Be more creative – it is part of the editing process, which, in turn, is part of improving your writing.

For Your Interest

Stonehenge (National Geographic)

Lascaux Caves – video (Rick Steves in Dordogne, France)


Stonehenge recent discoveries
(Toronto Star, Oct. 11, 2011)


Cool Archaeological digs – what has each one helped us learn about history?

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