Past, Present & Personal: Teaching Writing in U.S. History

Past, Present & Personal: Teaching Writing in U.S. HistoryPast, Present & Personal: Teaching Writing in U.S. History

By William C. Kashatus
Foreword by Gary B. Nash

129 pp. Photographs, notes, bibliography, index
ISBN: 0-325-00449-8 $17.00 soft cover 2002.


William Kashatus knows from years of teaching history that history education can be much improved by teaching the craft of writing. Without learning to write well, students also miss out on one of the most meaningful ways to develop critical thinking and reading skills. In this book, he offers methods to move students from basic descriptive writing to more complex expository essays and term papers on history. In the process. He shows teachers how to tap into students’ multiple intelligences and cultivate their intellectual curiosity while encouraging their writing success.

Reflecting his title, Kashatus divides his book into three parts. “Past History” explores interpretation and assessment of historic documents. “Present History” examines research-based writing. “Personal History” offers experiential techniques to create a “living history classroom.” Interspersed throughout his text are these special features to help you in your teaching:

• Primary source documents
• Speech excerpts
• Student writing samples
• Diagrams to aid visual learners
• Charts for in-class exercises
• Anecdotes about working with student writers

Create a more engaging history classroom — with more literate class participants. Replace the dry term paper with meaningful writing projects. Read Kashatus and see how.


Past, Present & Personal provides precise blueprints for teaching teenagers to write in U.S. history classes. It does so with spirit, self-criticism, imagination, and good humor. Above all, the book can inspire teachers to bring their classroom alive.” – Gary B. Nash, Director, National Center for History in the Schools, University of California, Los Angeles

“In gritty detail and in telling anecdotes, Bill Kashatus shows us how he has helped his youngsters to be more curious, to connect to their curiosity to their own lives, and to think more keenly about both curiosity and their own lives . . . No one has ever written so helpfully, or so hopefully, about what actually transpires between teachers and students in the classroom and beyond it.” – Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

“Teachers who believe in having their students write will want to read Past, Present & Personal . . . If you have your students write anything at all in history, you will find some good ideas in this book.” – National Council for History Education