Keith Long

I recently used Matthew Delmont’s book Half American to challenge students’ perceptions about World War II. Students read the introduction and completed blackout poems. Afterwards, small groups of students were assigned a specific chapter of the book to read, discover claims made, and see how the author used evidence to support these claims.

Students were tasked with a creative way to demonstrate their learning and could choose between the following: Creating an African-American “heroes” gallery; creating a movie trailer for the chapter using WeVideo or another platform; creating an infographic to demonstrate learning by numbers; creating a digital collage; or curating a collection of additional primary and secondary sources based on original research, or a student generated idea. I was very pleased with the student engagement and the creativity used to demonstrate learning.

Delmont’s book is an incredible resource for the classroom that challenges students’ perspectives about World War II. Delmont recenters African Americans in the narrative of the war to show what it really meant for African Americans from a variety of walks of life. I highly recommend teachers consider this exquisite resource. My students encountered people and ideas that they had never heard of, and leveraged technology and creativity to produce resources that not only demonstrate but advance learning.