In this activity, students work with quantitative data (charts, graphs, and tables) from the 1910 census and the 1911 Dillingham Commission Report to understand the lives of immigrants in the Ellis Island era. The activity includes an option designed for middle school and high school students, as well as a suggested strategy for elementary students. After studying the data, students write a narrative in the voice of an immigrant in 1910, incorporating the information gleaned.
In this activity students analyze a political cartoon, a presidential speech and an anti-immigration pamphlet from the early 20th century. After analyzing the documents, students write about why the United States passed immigration quotas in the 1920s.
In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.
In this activity, students read a series of primary source documents, including the 1872 print "American Progress," that depict the social, political and cultural conflicts between settlers and Native Americans during the 19th century. Then, working in small groups, students will consider the events from the perspective of Native Americans, and create an illustration to counter George A. Crofutt's famous print of "American Progress" moving across the Great Plains.
In this activity students analyze Theodor Kaufmann's 1867 painting On to Liberty. Students practice finding information and making inferences based on the painting by completing a graphic organizer. Then students read a descriptive paragraph of the painting, noting where the author has cited information from the painting and where the author has made inferences and drawn conclusions. Then students analyze another painting of a similar theme, Eastman Johnson's A Ride for Liberty. The activity concludes by asking students to synthesize what they have learned about the Civil War based on the painting. The activity may make a good culminating lesson about the Civil War or an introductory lesson on Reconstruction.
This activity teaches students how to break down different elements of a political cartoon. Students examine how different symbols and images can be combined to convey meaning. Then students analyze a 1902 political cartoon about U.S. expansion overseas and the acquisition of new territories in the Philippines in Cuba. This activity includes a Smartboard Notebook file.
In this game, students are assigned different immigrant identities and advance based on their access to economic opportunity and religious, political, and social liberties at different times in U.S. history.
In this activity students read short excerpts of documents that show how the expectations of women, African Americans, and working white men were raised by the rhetoric of liberty during the American Revolution. Students write petitions to the Continental Congress from one of the three group's perspectives, explaining how their group responded to the Revolution and outlining how their group should be treated under the new Constitution. This activity includes multiple learning supports that can help ESL/ELL students, special education students, or low readers.
In this activity, students use facts and make inferences to create narratives about the journey of the slave ship Brookes. Students work in groups to create narratives from one of three different perspectives: Captain, Sailor, or Captive.
In this activity, students read cards about various civil rights protests and events during the 1940s. For each event, students match the issue (voting rights, fair employment, fair housing, or segregation in public places) at stake, identify the key people involved and what region of the country it took place in. After students have completed all the cards, an optional writing task asks students to synthesize the historical content by writing a letter to a relative serving overseas describing the efforts of civil rights activists in the 1940s. There is some assembly of materials required for this activity. This activity has optional Smartboard elements but can be completed without a Smartboard.
"... When I first started teaching in 2015, I realized that many of my students didn’t fully appreciate that their stories were compelling. But then they started writing about growing up hearing gunshots and sirens at night, using fire escapes as basketball hoops, and a ritual I’d never heard of: dancing at Thanksgiving. One student wrote about how he and his brother, at ages 11 and 14, had to fend for themselves after their father was deported. As the students listened to each other, mesmerized, they came to realize that their own stories have the same effect on other people. That motivated them to learn literary techniques to weave their experiences into cohesive, artful narratives.
Many of the writers have since graduated and have become teachers and nurses; others are still in school or, having graduated, are struggling to find the kinds of jobs that they envisioned having, once they had earned a college degree. Yet, however their careers and their lives pan out, they know that continuing to cultivate their writing will give them some measure of power. Their stories of resilience and creativity reflect how American culture is enriched by their presence. To know them is to love them."
In this activity, students look at census records from antebellum Five Points and compare them to depictions of the neighborhood and its residents. Students will evaluate whether observers described Five Points as a neighborhood or slum. The activity includes a Smartboard file, but can be completed without this technology.
This activity features differentiation and scaffolding to help students understand the new social freedoms and new threats to the families of freedmen during Reconstruction. Students work in heterogeneous skill-level groups to analyze several primary sources and prepare to write a paragraph about freedmen's new social freedoms. The activity in the lesson is framed for several consecutive 45-minute lessons, but could be adapted to meet the teacher's needs. The activity features documents from HERB that have been edited for different skill levels; the edited documents are including in the attached PDF "New Liberties and New Threats Worksheet." New York City high school teachers Arthur Everett and Samantha Schoeller created this activity.
In this activity students research roles as either Irish immigrants or African-American residents in the midst of the New York City Draft Riots that took place in July 1863. Students gather evidence from primary sources to develop their characters, based on actual census records, and then enact a role play debating whether to stay in the city or flee (if they are African American) and whether to participate in the riots or protect their black neighbors (if they are Irish immigrants).
The digital age has created the need for a new kind of literacy-a literacy that empowers news consumers to determine whether information is credible, reliable and truthful. This is not just a skill; it is a new core competency for the 21st century. So-called “fake news” is hard to spot and spreads easily, leading to disagreements over basic facts. The antidote to the growing challenges posed by this digital revolution is news literacy. This mini news literacy course includes two three-hour sessions that will teach anyone to become a more critical consumer of news.
In this activity students write original corridos(a type of Mexican folk song) based on the oral histories of braceros. Before writing their own corridos, students learn about the formulas and themes of corridosand analyze a World War II-era corrido. This lesson works best if students have basic background information on the bracero program.
In this activity students perform a role play of immigrant mothers and daughters arguing over who should get to keep the daughter's wages. This activity is used to teach with the film Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl, but can be completed without the film.
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 immigrant experience in the U.S. This activity uses materials in both English and Spanish and includes a word bank to help ESL/ELL students create their poems.
In this activity, students compare World War II propaganda posters from the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Then students choose one of several creative or analytical writing assignments to demonstrate what they've learned.
In this activity students learn about literacy tests and other barriers that kept black Southerners from being able to vote. Students also take a 1960s literacy test from Alabama.