Teaching Materials

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. 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 SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages. A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: 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. 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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Water Rushing Through Tress | Zinn Education Project

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

Teaching Activity & Article. By Michelle Nicola. 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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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. 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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The War to Free the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

A War to Free the Slaves?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students examine excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation to explore some of the myths about the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Daisy Bates, Little Rock 9, and NAACP officers | Zinn Education Project

Warriors Don’t Cry: Connecting History, Literature, and Our Lives

Teaching Activity. By Linda Christensen. Role play and writing activities for language arts and social studies on the Little Rock Nine, Brown v. Board, and schooling in general. Designed for use with the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Racism & Racial Identity
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We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

‘We Had Set Ourselves Free’: Lessons on the Civil Rights Movement

Teaching Activity. By Doug Sherman. The author describes how he uses biographies and film to introduce students to the role of people involved in the Civil Rights Movement beyond the familiar heroes. He emphasizes the role and experiences of young people in the Movement.
Time Periods: 20th Century, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity
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What Rights Do We Have?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. This lesson teaches some of the nuts and bolts of labor unions and then moves beyond to ask students to consider what rights they have at work, and to recognize that “rights” depend in large part on what people have fought for and won.
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing
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What War Looks Like (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

What War Looks Like

Teaching Activity. By Howard Zinn. 2002. Background reading for teachers and high school students on the impact of war.
Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Jesse Hagopian. 33 pages. A mixer role play that introduces students to the pivotal and largely untold history of the Black Panthers.
Time Periods: 20th Century, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: African American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class, Women's History
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