Teaching Activities (Free)

Who Makes History?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 3 pages.
This lesson introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s poem, A Worker Reads History. Students reflect on the creative role of workers in making history.

Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Social Class

PaperAirplane_lineofpeopleThe way the past is presented or not presented affects how people think about their own capabilities. Here, using a Bertolt Brecht poem, students begin to consider the active, creative role that workers have played in the past and their potential strength in the future. Students will consider the choices that historians make in writing history and will develop an appreciation for the role of ordinary people behind great historical events. In the poem, Brecht notes:

Who built the seven towers of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?

The Power In Our Hands Available for Download

This is one of the 16 lessons available from The Power In Our Hands. Other lessons available for individual download are:

Unit I: Basic Understandings
Unit II: Changes in the Workplace/”Scientific Management”
Unit III: Defeats, Victories, Challenges
Unit IV: Our Own Recent Past
Unit V: Continuing Struggle

Order the book online from Monthly Review.