5 Lesson Plans
Reading Like a Historian: Anti-Suffragists
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did people, including women, oppose women's suffrage? It is recommended (but not essential) that the teacher begin by screening some of the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels to start a discussion about the motives of anti-suffragists. In groups, students then analyze 3 documents: 1) an excerpt from Molly Seawell's anti-suffragist book, 2) an anti-suffrage newspaper article, and 3) a speech by Tennessee Congressman John Moon. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer. In a final class discussion, students discuss the validity of anti-suffragists' motives, relate them to the film, and discuss what other sources they might want to read for further corroboration and contextualization.
Reading Like a Historian: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was a stronger advocate for African-Americans, Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. DuBois? The teacher first uses a mini-lecture and a streaming video clip from Discovery Education to explain late 19th-century race relations in the South. Students then analyze an excerpt from Washington's "Atlanta Compromise" speech as the teacher models-extensively-sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading techniques, answering questions on a graphic organizer. Students then do the same, on their own, with a selection from DuBois' Souls of Black Folk. A final class discussion evaluates the 2 men: who was more right in his approach, given the historical context?
Reading Like a Historian: Jacob Riis and Immigrants
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What was life like in American cities during the Industrial Era? The teacher introduces progressive photojournalist Jacob Riis and projects 2 of his photos; discussion questions ask students if the pictures are trustworthy (posed) and what they might tell us about Riis's audience. Students then read excerpts from Riis's book How the Other Half Lives: ugly stereotypes of ethnic Italians, Chinese, and Jews. Students answer guiding questions on the documents, and a final class discussion explores what Riis's work really tells about American urban life at this time.
Reading Like a Historian: Japanese Segregation in San Francisco
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did Teddy Roosevelt oppose the segregation of San Francisco's public schools? The teacher first informs students of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the resultant attempted segregation of Japanese students. Students then read 4 source documents-letters and public speeches-in which President Roosevelt discusses his reasons for opposing the law, as well as a political cartoon addressing the issue. For each, students answer questions on a graphic organizer: Why do you think TR opposed the issue? What can you infer about the U.S. in 1906? Finally, the class goes over a timeline of relevant events, enabling the teacher to show how reading contextually lets students learn historical context from documents. Students then respond in writing, using all evidence to reach a conclusion of their own.
Reading Like a Historian: Political Bosses
In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were political bosses corrupt? The teacher begins by explaining progressives' complaints about political machines and graft and then shows a political cartoon criticizing Tammany Hall. Students then read and analyze 2 documents: 1) a book excerpt by muckraker Lincoln Steffens, and 2) a "talk" by political boss George Plunkitt. For each, they answer guiding questions on a graphic organizer (the teacher models this extensively with the first document in the lesson). For HW, students write a dialogue between the 2 writers in which Steffens tries to convince Plunkitt to practice honest government.