The social studies department at my school bases its curriculum around what we call the “Zinn” philosophy. Instead of the traditional textbooks that gloss over so many important events and voices, we use A People’s History as our textbook.
Starting in 9th grade World History, our students are introduced to A People’s History of the World. That is followed up with A People’s History of the United States in the 10th and 11th grade. My Honors US History course is reading Eric Foner’s A Short History of Reconstruction as our outside reading for the final quarter.
Along with the textbooks, I also incorporate numerous activities in my class from the Zinn Education Project. One activity that had a lasting impact on my students was where we put Christopher Columbus on trial. My students loved getting to put themselves in that time period and really challenge themselves to argue both sides of the story.
Not only did they gain a greater appreciation for the magnitude of the cultural devastation that Columbus caused, but also the environmental devastation that Columbus ushered in during that time period. My students were able to make many connections to the current humanitarian crisis at our border and the effects of climate change on our planet.
The resources of this site have helped my students discover their passion about learning and the power that comes with fighting for social justice!