Teaching Materials

Just an Environment or a Just Environment?

Teaching Activity. By Hyung Kyu Nam. 2003. Explores the multiple causes of racial segregation and environmental racism, and helps students understand how institutional racism is perpetuated in the post-Civil Rights era.
Time Periods: 20th Century
Themes: Racism & Racial Identity
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Kids in Birmingham 1963

Archive. An online collection of stories from people who were children in Birmingham in 1963.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements
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Labor Songs

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages. Students explore the power of songs to build solidarity and increase understanding. This is the final activity from Bigelow and Diamond’s labor history book, The Power in Our Hands, and draws on the other lessons.
Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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Modern Times

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. This lesson uses Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious classic film, Modern Times, to help students think about the impact of “scientific management” on the workplace.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class
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Paper Airplane Simulation

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. In this simulation, students make paper airplanes to learn about the origins and effects of “scientific management”—owners’ attempt to capture workers’ skills and knowledge, and then to exploit that knowledge to reorganize work and cut costs by deskilling workers.
Themes: Economics, Labor
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Paradise Lost: Introducing Students to Climate Change Through Story (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Paradise Lost: Introducing Students to Climate Change Through Story

Teaching Activity. By Brady Bennon. Rethinking Schools. A high school humanities teacher introduces students to the human cost of climate change, building empathy for climate change refugees like those in the island nation of Kiribati.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Pacific Islander
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Rachel Corrie | Zinn Education Project

Rachel Corrie: “Letter from Palestine”

Film clip. Voices of a People's History. Rachel Corrie's "Letter from Palestine" (2003) read by her mother, Cindy Corrie.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
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Rethinking What We Know About the Vietnam War (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Rethinking What We Know About the Vietnam War

Teaching Activity. Zinn Education Project. 21 pages. Two lessons to introduce key facts about the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers, documents that provide essential history that is often ignored by textbooks.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
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Roudanez: History and Legacy

Archive. The work of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, founder of the first Black daily newspaper in the U.S., the New Orleans Tribune, with articles, excerpts, videos, and a timeline.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Media, Slavery and Resistance
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SNCC Digital Gateway

Archive. Historical materials, profiles, timeline, map, and stories on SNCC’s voting rights organizing.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing
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Sandino Rebellion: A Documentary History

Archive. A digital collection of over 3,300 documents from the Sandino Rebellion in Nicaragua, 1927-1934.
Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies
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Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid: The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Teaching Activity. By Julian Hipkins III, Deborah Menkart, Sara Evers, and Jenice View. Role play on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) that introduces students to a vital example of small “d” democracy in action. For grades 7+.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing
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Shutdown!—Confronting Plant Closures

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. In this role play activity, students assume the roles of union members and attempt to figure out how to respond to a threatened plant closure.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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solar house from Rethinking Schools magazine | The Zinn Education Project

Solar Power Comes to Math Class

Teaching Activity. By Flannery Denny. Rethinking Schools, Summer 2019. A math educator brings data from a friend’s solar panels — and the story to win them in their community — into her 7th-grade classroom to build a bridge between math and climate justice education.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Math
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Standing with Standing Rock: A Role Play on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Bill Bigelow, and Andrew Duden. Article by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 15 pages. Rethinking Schools. A role play helps students recognize the issues at stake in the historic struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Imperialism, Native American, Organizing
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Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today

Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015. Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Social Class
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Sun City – A Teaching Guide

Teaching Guide. By Bill Bigelow. Lessons to accompany the 1985 video "Sun City" that promoted the cultural boycott of South Africa initiated by Little Steven van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E St. Band.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: Art & Music, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, World History/Global Studies
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“Taylorizing” Burgers: A Fantasy

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages. In this playful activity, students utilize the principles of “scientific management” to restructure a burger joint—one that has been run a good deal more democratically and imaginatively.
Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class
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