What themes do you use to teach American colonial history? I came across an interesting critique in Common-Place by Darcy R.Fryer of teaching pre-Revolutionary American history in college survey courses . The observation rings true for secondary education too.
Fryer finds that textbooks tend to use themes of geography and demographics as a way to shape the material, but she has found themes of experimentation, innovation, failure, flexibility, borrowing, and change over time more fruitful. Certainly these themes align with Pennsylvania History standards that organize material, among other factors, around change and continuity and conflict and cooperation.
I'd love to know your thoughts on this. . .