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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Active Viewing: Daughters of Free Men

In this activity, students watch short clips of the ASHP documentary Daughters of Free Men to learn about the experiences of Lowell mill girls in the 1830s. Students follow the life of Lucy, a young girl working in Lowell in 1836. After each clip, [...]

Exploring Race Through Literature

Diverse literary texts provide opportunities for making connections about race and hearing multiple voices and perspectives. In this activity, students read literature and poetry from different American writers, reflecting on the meaning and [...]

Active Viewing: Eyes on the Prize "Awakenings"

In this activity students analyze the reasons why the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted so long and was successful. Students watch a short clip from the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize about the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Then students analyze primary [...]

Active Viewing: Becoming American: The Chinese Experience

In this activity, students watch short clips of the PBS/A Bill Moyers Special production of Becoming American: The Chinese Experience (2003). The documentary clips and accompanying materials cover the arrival of Chinese in California, their work on [...]

Reading Historical Fiction: The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker

In this activity, students are guided through a close reading of The Journal of Sean Sullivan: A Transcontinental Railroad Worker, a fictional book for young readers based on historical sources. Students will read a short excerpt from the beginning [...]

Jim Crow On Wheels

In this role-play activity, students act out a scene on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama prior to the famous bus boycott to learn how segregation operated on public transportation.

Active Viewing: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided

PBS American Experience’s Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided is a 6 episode mini-series available as a 3 DVD set. The following activity focuses on the causes and consequences of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation through an active [...]

Rights in Early America

In this activity, students are assigned roles as different members of early American society and move to different areas of the classroom according to whether they could always/sometimes/never exercise different rights in the 1770s and 1780s. This [...]

Claiming We the People: Political Participation in Revolutionary America

In this activity students will learn about how groups without political power—African Americans, women, and working-class men—sought to expand their political power in the Revolutionary era. Students will analyze primary sources to determine the [...]

Comparing Slaves and Servants in Colonial New York

In this activity students read a list of laws regulating Africans and African Americans and a servant's indenture contract from colonial New York. Then students find evidence in the primary sources to support a series of statements about the [...]

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