Learning List has reviewed Bedford, Freeman & Worth’s (BFW) Documenting United States History: Themes, Concepts, and Skills for the AP Course. This is a supplemental product to support instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History courses. Content is available in print format. The text is a primary source reader and includes a diverse range of primary source documents from each of the periods identified in the AP course framework. Instruction focuses on developing historical thinking skills. Students learn to read critically, to synthesize information, and to craft and express original arguments in written formats.
Documenting United States History opens with a preface that provides an overview of content and explains how to use the text’s resources to develop historical thinking skills and writing skills. Subsequent content is organized in nine chronological periods that match the historical periods in the College Board’s course framework for AP U.S. History (e.g., Period Six: 1865-1898). Periods are broken into chapters that address particular themes and concepts in the period (e.g., assimilation, industrialization).
Each chapter is broken into a set of “topics” that address themes from the period. Each topic presents textual and visual primary source documents related to the topic in rough chronological order. Instruction addresses writing strategies and the incorporation of primary and secondary sources in developing written argumentation. Content is scaffolded and builds from basic skills, such as prewriting and comparison, to more complex tasks, such as synthesizing information from sources with contrasting points of view.
BFW believes that what happens in the classroom matters, and that a good class, a good teacher, and good content have the power to change the world—one student and one idea at a time. BFW products have long been best-sellers for AP courses. Now, in response to the needs of teachers across the country, BFW offers materials for Common Core, elective courses, and on-level programs aligned to NGSS.
Information in this section is provided by or adapted from BFW.