Teaching Materials

Exploring Women's Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Exploring Women’s Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class

Teaching Activity. By Dale Weiss. 3 pages. Rethinking Schools. A teacher's reflections about a curriculum unit on women's rights contextualizes the history of the feminist movement within the broader struggle of people working for greater equality in the United States.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909
Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History
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Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Five Years After the Levees Broke: Bearing Witness Through Poetry

Teaching Activity. By Renée Watson. 7 pages. Rethinking Schools. A teacher's reflection on the power of poetry to spark critical discussion and reflection on current issues of inequality surrounding disaster response in the United States.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Climate Justice, Environment, Art & Music, Language Arts, Laws & Citizen Rights, Media, Racism & Racial Identity
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Photo of La Via Campesina women | Zinn Education Project

Food, Farming, and Justice: A Role Play on La Vía Campesina

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow, Chris Buehler, Julie Treick O'Neill, and Tim Swinehart. Rethinking Schools. This role play invites students to take on identities of La Vía Campesina activists around the world, to compare/contrast circumstances in order to discover the common goal of “food sovereignty.”
Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Food, Organizing, World History/Global Studies
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The Fugitive's Song | Zinn Education Project

Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A lesson to introduce students to the numerous and varied ways African Americans resisted their enslavement, using the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: African American, Slavery and Resistance
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Factory workers | Zinn Education Project

Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 6 pages Students work with a chapter from Milton Meltzer’s classic book, Bread and Roses, to see the impact of late 19th century factory work on workers’ home lives.
Themes: Labor, Social Class
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Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Greed as a Weapon: Teaching the Other Iraq War

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 14 pages. Rethinking Schools. A role play investigating the economic consequences of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Economics, Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies
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Haiku and Hiroshima: Teaching About the Atomic Bomb

Haiku and Hiroshima: Teaching About the Atomic Bomb

Teaching Activity. By Wayne Au. 3 pages. Rethinking Schools. Lesson for high school students on the bombing of Hiroshima using the film Barefoot Gen and haiku.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: Language Arts, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Radical Vision (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Hidden in Plain Sight: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Radical Vision

Teaching Activity. By Craig Gordon, Urban Dreams, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project. 2003, updated in 2017. Lesson to introduce students to the speeches and work of Dr. King beyond "I have a dream."
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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History Textbooks: “Theirs” and “Ours”: A Rebellion or a War of Independence? (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

History Textbooks: “Theirs” and “Ours”: A Rebellion or a War of Independence?

Teaching Activity. By John DeRose. 4 pages. Rethinking Schools. Analysis of textbook passages from different countries, videos and books are used to explore different perspectives about the same event in history, i.e. "Philippine-American War" vs. "War of Philippine Independence."
Time Periods: 20th Century, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
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The Homestead Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 10 pages. This role play activity on the famous 1892 Homestead Strike, explores the possibility of solidarity among workers of very different backgrounds and at different levels in the workplace hierarchy.
Themes: Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Social Class
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How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. Rethinking Schools. The mixer role play is based on Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, which shows in exacting detail how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Economics, Laws & Citizen Rights
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How to Make Amends: A Lesson on Reparations

Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, Alex Stegner, Chris Buehler, Angela DiPasquale, and Tom McKenna. Students meet dozens of advocates and recipients of reparations from a variety of historical eras to grapple with the possibility of reparations now and in the future.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Asian American, Native American, Organizing, World History/Global Studies
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collage of six Black abolitionists in the United States.

‘If There Is No Struggle…’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages. Rethinking Schools. In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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It’s a Mystery—White Workers Against Black Workers

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages. In this “mystery” activity, students receive clues and discuss some of the factors that contributed to the intensification of racism in the 1920s in the United States.
Themes: African American, Labor, Racism & Racial Identity
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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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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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Lawrence, 1912: The Singing Strike

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Role play on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Mass.
Time Periods: 20th Century, World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: Art & Music, Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Women's History
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