Real World History
Bringing History to Life
Combining academic coursework with internships at historic sites
The only credit-bearing course available to all public and public charter school students in Washington, DC, Real World History teaches history through inquiry, equipping students with crucial skills that prepare them to thrive in our complex 21st-century world.
Fall Semester: Building the Skills of a Historian
Students build the skills of a historian, including contextualization, corroboration, and sourcing. The class reads and discusses the award winning book The Warmth of Other Suns. The semester culminates with an oral history project in which students interview a local Washingtonian who was part of the Great Migration. Students complete projects involving first-hand documentation that are preserved in DC Public Libraries.
Spring Semester: Internships at Historic Sites
Students complete a 100-hour internship at a historic site or museum. Each site provides students with the opportunity to contribute to ongoing projects in meaningful ways while learning about public history, thereby gaining authentic work experience and exposure to a field that is rarely introduced to high school students.
Standards Addressed by the Real World History Program
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language
Conventions of Standard English:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Knowledge of Language:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing
Text Types and Purposes:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Range of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Key Ideas and Details:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Craft and Structure:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards
|Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries||Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Tools and Concepts||Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence||Dimension 4: Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action|
|Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries||Civics||Gathering and Evaluating Sources||Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions|
|Geography||Developing Claims and Using Evidence||Taking Informed Action|
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Competencies
Self-Awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.
Self-management: The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals.
Social awareness: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Responsible decision-making: The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.
Relationship skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.
Apply for Real World History
Join students from various DCPS and DC charter high schools for an innovative history course. Real World History focuses on the nature of historical thinking as well as the “doing” of history. During first semester, students will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school (5-7pm) with instructor Cosby Hunt of Inspired Teaching; they will focus on practicing the skills of historians as they study the Great Migration; in the second semester, students will practice their emerging skills through internships at a variety of museums, archives, and historic sites and the completion of a National History Day project.
Ask the Expert Interview Series
Due to Covid-19, the 2019-2020 class was unable to complete in-person internships. Out of necessity, the class transitioned to an online model and changed its focus. Real World History students conducted a series of online interviews with public historians to learn about their work. Recognizing the implications of the pandemic on institutions of public history, the students also asked their interviewees to discuss the short-term and long-term changes this health crisis would have on the field. Each Real World History student then wrote a reflective blog piece about their interview and the spring semester. Their unique insights offer readers a glimpse into the experience of high school students in the spring of 2020 and the inner workings of these institutions at a particular moment in history.
Smithsonian Center of Folklife and Cultural Heritage: Ask The Expert Interview Series
Michael Artemus interviews Dr. Sojin Kim about the impacts of Covid-19 on her curatorial work.
Speak Truth: A Year of Inviting Conversation
The 2019-2020 Speak Truth season came to end on June 18, but we’re already reflecting on how to apply the lessons learned when we start again this fall.
A Perfect Time to Speak Truth
At a time when we’re craving in-person conversations and missing the flow that body language can bring to a discussion, Inspired Teaching’s Speak Truth virtual sessions offer a beautiful antidote to all the things we’re growing fond of bemoaning about video...
Changemakers in Action: An Evening of Engagement and Celebration
Director, Program Administration Mara Duquette reports on Changemakers in Action, a celebration of the Inspired Teachers and students in our programs as changemakers in classrooms, schools, and society. We explored action research in the classroom, reviewed the power of engagement-based instruction, and heard from Real World History’s youth historians.
Past Internship Sites Have Included:
Anacostia Community Museum
Charles Sumner Museum and [DCPS] Archives
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
Freer|Sackler Museum of Asian Art
Library of Congress
National Archives and Records Administration
National Museum of American History
National Museum of African-American History & Culture
National Museum of the US Navy
National Portrait Gallery
The Phillips Collection
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
United States Capitol Historical Society
White House Historical Association
Woodrow Wilson House
Host a Real World History Intern
Real World History students can offer valuable support to an internship site while gaining new skills and experience. Each internship site should provide a specific project or long-term task that the intern can work on throughout the semester. Students complete their 100-hour internships in January-May each year.
To inquire about hosting a Real World History student at your organization, email Cosby Hunt, Youth Program Director at Cosby@inspiredteaching.org
I just recently conducted my [Real World History] oral history. I enjoyed every single part of it. I enjoyed meeting someone after a long search. I enjoyed listening about their memories and asking them questions. I am eager to do more.