Teaching Materials

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite? (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Role play on farm labor organizing in the 1930s shows how racism had to be challenged to create effective worker alliances.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Labor, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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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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Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. Rethinking Schools. Teaching about patterns of displacement and wealth inequality through the history of Chávez Ravine and the building of Dodger Stadium.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, 21st Century
Themes: Housing, African American, Economics, Latinx, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class
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Stenciling Dissent: A Student Project Draws on the Language of the Streets (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Stenciling Dissent: A Student Project Draws on the Language of the Streets

Teaching Activity. By Andrew Reed. Rethinking Schools. Teaching activity connects students to history of art as a means of protest and gives them opportunity and skills to create their own stencil with a powerful message.
Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Art & Music, Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights, 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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Rini Templeton Climate (Art) | Zinn Education Project

Stories from the Climate Crisis: A Mixer

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools. A role play introduces students to 22 individuals around the world — each of whom is affected differently by climate change.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, World History/Global Studies
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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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Classroom filling with water | Zinn Education Project

Teaching About Climate Change

Teaching Activities. By Bill Bigelow. 2009. Rethinking Schools. The environmental crisis requires a profound social and curricular rethinking.
Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Laws & Citizen Rights, World History/Global Studies
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Teaching Climate Disobedience: Using the Film Necessity in the Classroom

Teaching activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. A lesson about multiple cohorts of climate activists: Indigenous leaders in the Climate Justice Movement, valve turners using civil disobedience to stop the flow of oil, and the legal team that uses the “necessity defense” in the courts.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Native American
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Water Rushing Through Tress | Zinn Education Project

Teaching to the Heart: Poetry, Climate Change, and Sacred Spaces

Teaching Activity & Article. By Michelle Nicola. Rethinking Schools. Using Marshallese poet and climate justice activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner’s poem “Dear Matafele Peinam,” a teacher helps 7th graders think about the sacred spaces in their own lives and how they will be affected by climate change.
Time Periods: 21st Century
Themes: Climate Justice, Language Arts
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Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages. Rethinking Schools. A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, including freedom rides and voter registration.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: Voting Rights, African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, Women's History
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Street scene woodcut | Zinn Education Project

Teaching Sacrifice Zones

Teaching Activity. By Rosemarie Frascella. Rethinking Schools. Our extractive fossil fuel-based economy has always demanded that some people’s homes and health be sacrificed for the benefit of more privileged and powerful others. This article explores how one teacher engages her students in thinking about how “sacrifice zones” play out in their lives.
Time Periods: 21st Century, 2001 - Present
Themes: Climate Justice, Environment, Economics, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, World History/Global Studies
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Teaching the Vietnam War: Beyond the Headlines (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Teaching the Vietnam War: Beyond the Headlines

Teaching Activity. By the Zinn Education Project. 100 pages. Eight lessons about the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers, and whistleblowing.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Media, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
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Testing, Tracking, and Toeing the Line: A Role Play on the Origins of the Modern High School (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Testing, Tracking, and Toeing the Line: A Role Play on the Origins of the Modern High School

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Rethinking Schools. A role play on the origins of the modern high school allows students to question aspects of schooling they often take for granted, such as tracking (“ability grouping”) and standardized testing — and to reflect on the racial biases of these so-called reforms.
Time Periods: 20th Century, World War I: 1910 - 1919
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Education, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class
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U.S.–Mexico War Tea Party - Spanish Version | Zinn Education Project

U.S. Mexico War: “We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God”

Teaching Activity. Lesson by Bill Bigelow and student reading by Howard Zinn. 21 pages. Rethinking Schools. Interactive activity introduces students to the history and often untold story of the U.S.-Mexico War. Roles available in Spanish.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849
Themes: Imperialism, Latinx, Slavery and Resistance, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Union Maids (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Union Maids

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. Activity for students to write from the point of view of one of the women featured in the film Union Maids.
Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History
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