In teaching U.S History, one of the greatest difficulties is to get students to be engaged with the content. Too often we teach it like a trivia contest to see who can memorize the most in the shortest time and then regurgitate it on a test. Then we move on. One of the things that attracted me to this lesson was the difficulty for students to opt out and the differing points of view that are often lacking in a textbook. The information provided in this lesson allowed my students to get more than a cursory glance of some of the issues that are brought up in the question of Reconstruction.
I particularly liked the excerpt from “Freedom’s Unfinished Revolution”…. The discussion questions included at the end of the document were well written to develop critical thought. There were good lower level questions that essentially asked for recall and then others that allowed for students to begin to synthesize multiple sources and build larger arguments.