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What Do Trains Do? Exploring Local History through Maps

Using familiar imagery of trains, young students can begin to make foundational connections to geography and history using primary sources. Kindergarten students will make a first exploration of local history through early railroad maps from the Library of Congress. This lesson addresses Kindergarten Common Core State Standards and several Massachusetts Social Studies standards and skills. centered around maps. The culminating activity has students create and modify their own town maps to include symbols, cardinal directions, labels, a key, etc.

Civil Rights & Disability: 1990 ADA, IDEA, & the Juvenile Justice System Today

Kelley McDermott, History teacher in a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services facility developed this lesson to attract her 8th grade students interest in research and public policy. Historically, students with disabilities are disproportionally caught up in the juvenile justice system. The lesson employs many strategies and tools for accessibility from Emerging America's Accessing Inquiry course. These include a focus vocabulary analysis and Universal Design for Learning plan.

Grafitti Boards

Facing History offers an introduction and classroom example of the ways a Graffitti board can engage students who don’t feel comfortable speaking up in class. Click here to watch a video of high school students using this strategy to brainstorm ideas for a project. (6:07 mins)

 

*** Before watching the video, download the "Viewing Guide" attached below.

Social Justice Books

From Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project, this powerful site offers more than 60 curated lists of books on social justice and multicultural points of view for children, young adults, and educators. Book lists are organized by topic areas–including Changemakers, Disabilities, Immigration (and specific immigrant groups), Organizing, and Voting Rights! 

Emerging America Lesson Accessibility Grid

 

Emerging America's lesson plan template features a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) grid borrowed from Social Studies & Exceptional Learners (see below). Three columns call for strategies that support the UDL instructional framework. Checklist items suggest tools and activities that could effectively support each element. Brief descriptions below explain how the teacher will apply checked items. 

Disability History Timelines

Analysis of the timelines below can help students to locate important events in Disability History in a larger historical framework. Timelines also offer opportunities to explore the impacts of activism, policy, and social change. Disability History timelines work best when students are also gaining contextual background knowledge about larger social forces and events. Thus these particular timelines are recommended for grades 6-12. 

 

Scan Multiple Timelines 

In or Out: Race and Disability as Legal Barriers to Immigration

Who gets accepted as a citizen or as an immigrant?  Who is considered a desirable immigrant? Students will work in small groups to examine a primary source text and image set about immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.  They will use the sources to develop a deeper understanding of the hurdles and discrimination many immigrant groups faced. In addition to learning about race-based entry policies, students will observe that many types of disabilities were considered undesirable and would keep an immigrant out.

Eugenics: Preoccupation with Genetic Fitness and Threats of Difference & Disability

The Eugenics movement in the early 20th century United States, a pseudo-scientific amalgamation of social Darwinist philosophy and animal breeding management, gained widespread approval across the country and influenced many internationally, most notably in the the Nazi racial policies of the era leading up to World War II.

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