Lesson Plans

American Memory & Me Birthday Project

Students learn about primary sources then analyze both secondary and primary sources to investigate historical events that happened on their birthdays, helping them to recognize that each person is part of and contributes to the ongoing American memory. After, students create news sheets that summarize key points of a seminal historical event or person in American history, celebrate their births, and describe the legacies they would like to imprint on the American memory.

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Pledge of Allegiance Image Sequencing

Most school children in the United States recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. But what does the pledge really mean? By analyzing primary source images and pairing them with the text, students deepen their understanding of a citizen's commitment to country. After, students create and decorate their own pledge to family, heritage, culture, class, or school.

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Natural Disasters: Nature’s Fury

Students analyze a variety of primary sources to examine Americans' life changing experiences with nature during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then research the Library of Congress online collections to broaden their understanding of how communities have dealt with disaster. Next, students connect their investigations to a literary work of historical fiction based on a natural disaster and conduct additional historical inquiry research. After presenting their findings students may examine a recent natural disaster, locating and analyzing primary source documents related to it, and noting similarities and differences in causes, effects and community responses to those of earlier times.

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Lessons for My Community

Students learn about a fable written by a past U.S. president, then write and illustrate their own fable that contains a lesson useful for their school or local community.

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Why I Believe in Santa

Students build knowledge and understanding of claims, arguments, themes, and community spirit as they analyze an historical newspaper page. After, students write about the spirit of a special holiday, describing why it is meaningful to them and the community they celebrate it with.

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For United America, YWCA

Students analyze a poster to investigate audience and creator purpose, then conduct research to learn more about the YWCA in order inform creation of a poster that conveys the advocacy organization's mission and reaches out to women today.

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Does the Camera Ever Lie?

Students do a close reading of an historical newspaper article to analyze the evidence presented as evidence of its argument. After, students search for contemporary examples of how cameras can lie and consider what that means for consumers of visual media.

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Poor Richard Illustrated: Lessons for the Young and Old

Students build vocabulary as they analyze illustrations and maxims for citizens published by Benjamin Franklin. After, students create modern-day illustrations with captions that teach similar lessons people would be wise to follow today.

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American Lives Across the Centuries: What Is an American?

Students will use the words of Jean de Crèvecoeur in his 1782 work, Letters from an American Farmer, to guide them as they analyze a life history documented by the Works Progress Administration from 1936-1940, using their analyses to create a patchwork of biographies. After, students consider what it means to be an American today and reflect on how the definition of being American has changed over time.

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