I chose to utilize the chapter on Reconstruction in my US History I classroom. Before starting, I needed to introduce the concept of historiography. I told the students that they were going to read seven brief histories of reconstruction that were written between the years 1878 and 1995. Putting the onus on them, I asked them why they thought I would create such an assignment, given that they just read about reconstruction in their textbook that was published in 2007. What did they think that I expected them to learn? The common response of, "how history has changed over the years," set up a class discussion on how and why history changes, if history is based on facts and truth. Students were able to recognize the factors that influence history, specifically, the time period and background influences of the historian. The assignment, as it was probably their first introduction to historiography, was simple, I asked students to keep track of the content, what new information was added to the history of reconstruction throughout the different publications and to keep track of the historians' bias.
I was surprised by how involved and seriously students took this assignment. Not only did it reinforce the content, students generated questions about bias and perspective regarding the impact of race in this particular vein of history. The only improvement I would make would be to thoroughly address the concept of bias, how to identify it, and what could cause it.