Reading Journal for Early American History
In the journal you will write observations and reflections on your reading in Connecting California. Please focus on a few documents in each of the sections we are covering. When you mention a document you read, please put the title of the document in bold (or a few words from the title). You may also comment on parts of our main textbook that you see as related.
Examine each document critically, and consider how it adds to our understanding of the history we are studying. You may also write your own reflections on what you are learning, and perhaps relate the material to other courses or experiences.
You can get about eight points when you write four high quality pages. Please double space. You may use any style, but please divide your writing into paragraphs so it is easy to read.
You may also devote some of your journal to sharing insights about your overall learning in the class, and how you are developing as a student and as a historical thinker.
Keys to Success:
• Plan to use about two documents (three at the most) for each page of writing.
• Use the section introductions to help you examine the documents in historical context.
• Consider the author’s perspective. How credible is this source?
• Make observations about how the documents help us understand the history we are studying.
• Reflect on how the reading relates to your own knowledge, experiences, cultural attitudes, etc.
Suggested Journal Prompts (these are just suggestions):
1. What did you learn from the documents in this section? What did you find surprising? How does the material in this chapter relate to what you learned earlier, perhaps in other classes?
2. What events do you see here that have shaped the world we live in today?
3. If you did a movie set in the time period of this section, what would be the key elements in your movie? Tell how you imagine the characters, and what challenges they would deal with.
4. How might we understand the history differently from someone living in the time period?
5. How do the documents help you understand the era? What are some important factors to consider when looking at these documents?
6. How do the selections in Connecting California compare with what you are reading in the main textbook for this class? Are you able to connect what you are reading in the two books?
7. How are these readings, or other activities in the class, helping you grow as a critical thinker?
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