Social History for Every Classroom

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Social History for Every Classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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The Poetry of Chinese Immigration

In this activity students read poems written by Chinese immigrants to understand the hopes of and challenges faced by Chinese immigrants during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Then students write an original poem about the Chinese [...]

Decoding U.S. Foreign Policy: The Iran-Contra Affair

In this activity students analyze a timeline and official and unofficial documents that reveal the events of the Iran-Contra Affair. This activity also models the types of questions that can help students analyze foreign policy documents from other [...]

What's In a Phrase? Finding Historical Understandings in an Immigrant Guidebook

In this activity students analyze a Chinese-English phrasebook from the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Students match phrases from the textbook to specific historical understandings, write their own historical understanding, and then [...]

The Evolution of the Preamble

This short activity helps students compare two drafts of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. It contains scaffolds for low-level readers.

Scaffolded Reading of "Drawing of an African Burial Ground Grave In Situ"

This brief activity leads students through analysis of an archaeologist's sketch of the grave of an African buried in colonial New York.

A Country within a Country: Understanding San Francisco's Chinatown

In this activity, students use a range of primary and secondary sources about San Francisco's Chinatown (1880s-1920) to explore what the community meant to residents and to outsiders.

Telling the Whole Story: Irish Americans in Five Points

In this activity students gather and analyze data from the 1855 census of the Five Points neighborhood. Students compare stereotypes of Irish immigrants with evidence from the census. Then students compare their census research with other primary [...]

Art, Commentary and Evidence: Analysis of "The White Man's Burden"

In this activity students analyze Kipling's famous poem about imperialism and read several poems that were written in response to it. Students discuss how effective the poems are as art, political commentary, and historical evidence.

Reformers versus Residents in Five Points: A Role Play

In this activity students learn about the religious, class, and ethnic tensions between reformers and residents in the working-class Irish immigrant neighborhood of Five Points. Students research roles of a Protestant reformer and two Irish women [...]

Analysis of "Showing the Light to the Filipinos"

This short activity helps students analyze a political cartoon about U.S. imperialism in the Philippines. To complete the activity, the teacher will need either a map or a globe to show students the relative distance between the United States and [...]

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