The Colorado Story

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The Colorado Story
Series Title:
The Colorado Story
Elnicki, Chris
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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The Colorado Story | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:44:34 AM] Home The Colorado StoryThe Colorado StorySubmitted by jainlayconley on 3-4-2011 09:57 AMAuthor: Thomas J. Noel and Debra Faulkner Publishing: Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Education. Color images, index, glossary, maps. viii + 238 pages. $44.95 hardcover. Supplemental materials include: audio book, teachers edition, English language learner modified lessons, web edition. Reviewer: Chris Elnicki How do you create a Colorado history textbook for third and fourth graders that does justice to the many stories of Colorados lively past (v)? Foremost, solicit authors with passion and expertise. Next, involve leading educators to frame the expectations and inform the process. Be mindful of changing national and state standards in education, as well as best practice research. Dont forget the realities of the classroom, stay focused on essential understandings, create a dialog with students, provide fresh approaches to traditional content, and guide students to see the influence of the past in todays world. Finally, be sure to engage students in the practice of historical inquiry. Oh, and keep it simple. Overall, The Colorado Story by Tom Noel and Debra Faulkner achieves these goals and provides a timely new resource as school districts prepare to implement the new Colorado Academic Standards. To keep this book lean and student-focused, tough decisions had to be made. The reader wont find Baby Doe Tabor, but will notice special attention towards woman and diverse leaders in a broader context. A quote from the Denver Republican in 1884 illustrates this point, proclaiming the clearest heads and best judgment in the cattle business belonged to the 800 ranch women doing business in Colorado (141). Horace Tabor does rate two mentions. Augusta one. The text is divided into nine chapters, the first six following well-established organizational patterns for the genre. These chapters focus on thinking historically, geographic characteristics, indigenous people, exploration, U.S. movement west, mining, farming, ranching, and twentieth-century Colorado. The final three chapters, Modern Colorado, Economics and You, and Government for All, are more novel in title and approach, filling an important niche for educators required by the new state standards to teach aspects of history, geography, civics, and economics every year. In these final three chapters, attention is provided to issues such as schools, race relations, ethnic traditions, energy, the environment, mining, technology, water, and immigration. Students not only deal with these topics historically but learn to think economically as well. Concepts include incentives, goods and services, production, human and capital resources, opportunity cost, making good choices, and risk management. Concerning civics, students are provided with a beginners user manual to Colorado government and guidance on how to be an active citizen now and in the future. Sections of the Colorado Constitution are used as part of a primary source lesson (211). Rarely have Colorado textbooks engaged younger school-age children directly with the states constitution. Its a welcome change to see it here. Towards keeping it simple, inquiry activities follow a Look, Think, and Decide format and Big Questions EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanNow, thats wrong! Some of these Japanese are citizens of the United States. Colorado Gov. Ralph Carrs response to Executive Order 9066 forcing Japanese into internment camps during WWII.


The Colorado Story | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:44:34 AM] frame each unit. These include: How did early explorers and traders shape our history? In what ways did settlement affect Colorado? How did events in the 1900s cause change? Additionally, an ongoing dialog is built into the book. Students are encouraged to Become Better Readers by previewing, predicting, inferencing, and questioning. Students even learn to construct research-based questions (64). Well-selected graphics and photos enrich the reading and assist students in making meaningful connections, while ample white space and crisp print help the young reader to stay organized. Changing perspectives in history are handled directly. As a matter of respect, the term Ancestral Puebloans is encouraged as a replacement for Anasazi. By offering an explanation for the change, the authors provide students with a quick peak into the evolution of historical perspectives as new learning emerges. Additionally, the authors realize Colorado doesnt exist in a vacuum, and adequate attention is given towards the state in the context of U.S. history, geography, and governmentincluding federal, tribal, state, and local (214). Like all first editions this one has a few problems. A passage concerning the mountains reads, The higher the elevation of a place, the more snow and rain it gets. Some of Colorados highest mountains get up to 300 inches a year (22). Some students may interpret this to mean select mountain areas receive 300 inches of rain a year, more than the Amazon. Clearly the authors intended this to be snow, but the distinction is absent in the text. Another geographic issue concerns a physical map of the state which includes only three rangesthe Medicine Bow, Sawatch, and Sangre de Cristosbut does not include the Front Range or the San Juans (231). Although the book misses the mark on some basic geography, it deserves recognition for the variety of maps presented and the opportunities for students to think spatially. Students compare topographical, road, and physical maps (7) and utilize a land-use map of Telluride (34) in a Look, Think, Decide construct. Certainly, some critics will fault the book for what it has set aside and for its over reliance on accurate but quick generalizations. Still, one must keep in mind the target audience, as well as the new state standards, when making this criticism. Other simple improvements would include providing an example to help students understand what it looks like to turn headings into questions (54). For instance, in the section about the Utes, a heading titled Traditionscould provide a sample like, What traditions were most important to the Utes? Teachers should note that publisher Gibbs Smith has created digital and hardcopy support resources for the text, including student and teacher guides, audio, and other online learning opportunities. Noel and Faulkner know the history of Colorado as well as anyone. They care deeply about the state and are outstanding models of the active citizen qualities called for in Chapter 9. The community spirit of this book is a result of the many partnerships that were developed to make it happen. Hopefully this spirit carries over to more and more students as they interact with The Colorado Story Reviewer Info: Chris Elnicki is in his twenty-fifth year as an educator and is the K-12 social studies coordinator for Cherry Creek Schools. He is the past president of the Colorado Council for the Social Studies, a James Madison Memorial Fellow, a board member of the National Social Studies Supervisors Association, and received his MA degree from the University of Colorado Denver in history and political science with an emphasis on the Constitution, the environment, and the West. Elnicki seeks out wilderness experiences during all seasons and finds great solace wading in streams, waving a stick, and exploring the aquatic world beneath the waters surface.