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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.

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! 

Differentiating Instruction for Special Education ELL Students

In this example, a Special Education teacher who built a unit around a museum field trip describes a combination of teaching strategies designed to meet the needs of English Learners and students with disabilities, providing examples of student work.

She describes "the opportunity to supplement my curriculum units with visualizations and hands-on experiences to facilitate their learning of weather and climate concepts and to make connections between content areas and Museum exhibits."

Strategies described and illustrated include:

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. 

Child Immigrant Experiences of Early 1900s and Today

This lesson encourages students to visualize the journeys and lives of immigrant children in the early 20th century and also of immigrant children today. It features video interviews with kids who have recently immigrated and archival photos of child immigrants from the turn of the 20th century. The multi-day lesson is designed to help elementary school students learn from primary and secondary sources, and also uses historical fiction and imaginative prompts to develop understanding and empathy for the immigrant experience.

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.

Unexpected Connections: Using Local Primary Sources to Analyze the Five Factors of Community Development in World History

Through the examination of primary source documents demonstrating stages of community development in a community familiar to students, students will gain an understanding of Medieval History analysis of factors that occur during the development of communities. Students will work collectively, using the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool, to demonstrate their understanding of one of the following factors: Settlement, Agriculture, Towns, Population Growth, and Industrialization.

Mapping Springfield’s Industrial Growth

The following lesson on the industrial growth of Springfield, Massachusetts during the 19th century was created during the National Endowment for Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop – Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory and the Genesis of American Industry, in the summer of 2015. Utilizing both primary and secondary source materials students will explore the industrial transformation of the Pioneer Valley during the early 19th century.

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