Because elementary teachers are viewed as subject-matter generalists who are not specialized in teaching history, this qualitative action research project explored my practice as I designed, implemented, and evaluated a unit that utilized effective history teaching practices. The study took place in my fourth-grade classroom which resides in the Intermountain West. The data was analyzed with Cochran-Smith and Lytle's (1999) three types of knowledge as a priori codes. Inductive processes were then used to find patterns and themes. The study found that designing this unit involved engaging in historical practices and using traditional lesson planning techniques. Further, implementing the study involved engaging in disciplinary literacies through questioning and responding to student needs during the unit. Finally, the evaluation of the unit involved reflecting on mistakes and making plans for future units. These findings added to the research that has been done on history teaching by showing how I used historical practices (such as visiting historical places, finding primary source documents, and engaging in collaboration) to gain more knowledge for practice. These findings also showed that I used my knowledge in practice to generate questions that helped my students to utilize the disciplinary literacies of history. Finally, this study showed that going through the action research cycle was a meaningful experience for me and helped me to generate more knowledge of practice. Thus, the recommendation is put forth that preservice teachers are taught how to engage in historical practices and how to utilize the action research cycle in their practice.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





historical literacy, history education in elementary schools, historical source material



Included in

Education Commons