We the Teachers

U.S. History Lesson Plans on the Great Depression and the New Deal

The Great Depression and the New Deal impacted a generation and forever changed the role of federal government in people’s lives to this day. For today’s high school students, the time may conjure up black-and-white images of people standing in soup lines or traversing the Dust Bowl. Iconic pictures and texts such as Grapes of Wrath have certainly helped people remember one of our nation’s most challenging times. But how did the government, including Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, respond with specific policies and institutions that continue to shape the United States?

Core Documents Collection

The collection of documents on the Great Depression and the New Deal makes clear the reasons why and the degree to which Franklin Roosevelt intended the New Deal to be a re-founding of the American republic after Hoover’s struggle to pull the country out of financial despair. The collection presents the arguments of those who opposed the New Deal — Democrats as well as Republicans — and those who thought it did not go far enough. Taken together, these documents bring immediacy to this consequential period of American history, shedding light on the origins of Social Security, minimum wage, and other institutions that have become a part of the fabric of our daily lives.

The Great Depression and the New Deal Core American Document volume contains the following:

  • Key documents on the period, from Hoover’s speeches to Roosevelt’s fireside chats, to dozens of other statements and letters, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context

You can use some or all of the core documents, tailoring them to your curriculum, schedule, and students’ needs. When you plan a lesson around Core Documents rather than a textbook, you will start to see your students making connections that bring the Great Depression and New Deal to life. Studied in conjunction with the Great Recession of 2008, these documents will also help your students understand patterns and themes that cross the eras.

Accessing the Great Depression and the New Deal Core Documents is easy. Just click on the link below and find everything you need to bring this era into your classroom today!  

Access the Core Documents: The Great Depression and the New Deal 

TAH One-Day Seminars in the Southwest

With a few months of the 2018-2019 school year under your belt, you may be starting to hit that fall/winter fatigue. Don’t lose the spark! Now is the perfect time to infuse new life into your teaching by exploring fresh ideas with like-minded history teachers. We have several one-day seminars scheduled this fall and spring across 5 states in the Southwest.

Teaching American History offers seminars at no charge for you and your fellow teachers, who will dive right into original historical documents, from the Bill of Rights to landmark Supreme Court cases, under the teaching of university scholars who are experts in their respective fields. Getting to the roots of our country’s exciting and complicated history will help you inspire your students for second semester and beyond.

Arizona

Robber Barons or Captains of Industry – the Gilded Age Revisited, hosted by AZ Dept. Education

November 5 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

The Bill of Rights, hosted by Sahuarita High School (Tucson area, AZ)

November 7 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Landmark Supreme Court Cases, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

November 29 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The New Deal and Great Society Compared, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

February 7, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Legislative Branch, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

March 28, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

New Mexico

Civil Rights – Speeches and Leaders – hosted by Sandia Preparatory School (Albuquerque, NM)

November 8 @ 8:20 am – 2:45 pm

Oklahoma

World War 2 hosted by the Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies (Norman, OK)

November 2 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The American Founding hosted by the Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies (Norman, OK)

November 2 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Social Reform – 1790 to 1850, hosted by Broken Arrow Schools (Tulsa, OK)

March 4, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Causes of the Civil War, hosted by OK CSS (Oklahoma City, OK)

March 5, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Modern Social Movements, hosted by OK CSS (Oklahoma City, OK)

March 6, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Texas

Lincoln and the Problem of Reconstruction, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

November 13 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

LBJ and Vietnam, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

February 11, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Lincoln and Reconstruction, hosted by Austin ISD (Austin, TX)

February 12, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

American Foreign Policy, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

April 11, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Utah

American Foreign Policy, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

December 14 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Congress, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

February 8, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The American Presidency, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

April 12, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

 

TAH’s Southwest seminars are just some of the free resources available to you as a teacher of American History. For information on Core Documents, online programs, Teacher Toolkits and more, visit us at www.teachingamericanhistory.org.

Also, we’d love to connect with you on social media – follow @teachamhistory!

Core American Documents: Reconstruction

 

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Reconstruction is one of these times in American History where you can learn the limits of what law can accomplish.”

TAH.org’s latest Core American Documents volume, on Reconstruction, is now available. Composed of 31 documents, study questions, an introduction to the topic by Professor Scott Yenor, a thematic table of contents, and a list of suggested additional readings, this volume will greatly expand your understanding of this watershed moment in American History. Yenor’s collection looks at the beginning, middle, and end of Reconstruction, going back to policies and plans implemented by the Lincoln administration during the early years of the war, and concluding with a speech by Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist, as he looked back, decades later, on what had – and hadn’t – been accomplished.

The volume is available for free in PDF or iTunes eBook formats, or for $.99 on your Amazon Kindle, or $10 for paperback on Amazon.

Teaching the Civil War and Reconstruction

The country was divided. A “nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” was struggling to define that equality in light of slavery and calls for emancipation. Questions stalked the minds of political leaders and citizens alike: What was the nature of the federal union and Constitution in relation to state sovereignty? How would the war progress and end, and how would the nation rebuild? As a teacher of American History, you know there is nothing remotely boring about the Civil War and Reconstruction.

But for students in the 21st century, the era conjures up images of muskets and southern belles–if any images at all–making it difficult for them to connect with the real human emotions and events experienced during the time. The Teaching American History Civil War and Reconstruction Toolkit, centered on original documents, is designed to bring you and your classroom face to face with the realities:

You can use some or all of these Toolkit resources, tailoring them to your curriculum, schedule, and students’ needs. When you plan a lesson around a Core Document or corresponding resource, you will start to see your students making connections that bring the Civil War to life.

Accessing the Civil War & Reconstruction Toolkit is easy. Just click on the link below and find everything you need to bring the drama, voices, and complexities of the Civil War into your classroom today!  

Access the Civil War & Reconstruction Toolkit

SYNOPSIS: Add original documents, letters, and dynamic lesson plans into your high school American history Civil War era curriculum.

Core Documents Collection: Religion in American History and Politics

 

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“You can’t understand American History without understanding the role of religion in our history and politics…”

TAH.org’s Core American Documents collection on Religion in American History and Politics is now available on Kindle, iTunes eBook, PDF, and print on demand.

This volume, the companion to TAH.org’s Religion in America site, includes 25 documents with summaries and annotations, an introduction to the theme of religion as a part of American history and politics, appendices with additional information, study questions for each document, and suggested further readings.

Sign up for early access to each upcoming volume!

As in the other volumes, each Core Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Teaching the American Founding and the Constitutional Convention

Over the course of 100 days in 1787, American history would be made in a boisterous and sweltering Independence Hall. While the 55 delegates who showed up thought they were “just” going to revise the Articles of the Confederation, they ended up delving into so much more, eventually arguing for, and writing a final draft of, the U.S. Constitution.

These are the basics, of course, but they can seem so far removed from your students’ daily lives. In order to help them understand the intellectual and political depths of that historic summer, you need to help them see, hear, and feel the lively drama of the Founding of the United States. By exploring the core documents of that time, you can bring the Convention to life.

The TAH American Founding and Constitutional Convention Core Document Volume and Toolkit is designed to bring you and your classroom into Independence Hall alongside the spirited voices of those delegates. Imagine your students experiencing the Convention through these engaging resources:

  • Educational background, Continental experience, economic interests, and personal details of each delegate
  • The Convention organized as a four-act drama to help students understand how the story of the Founding unfolded
  • Correspondence among delegates and family members, linked to specific days throughout the “script”
  • Charts and tables, including an interactive Attendance Record that helps students visualize daily events and delegate attendance throughout the Convention
  • Menus, entertainment, and other fascinating “non-political” details that bring personality to the historical
  • Interactive maps and artwork
  • Multimedia resources, including videos corresponding with each of the acts.

You can use some or all of these Toolkit resources, tailoring them to your curriculum, schedule, and students’ needs. When you plan a lesson around a Core Document or corresponding resource, you will start to see your students making connections, light bulbs going off as the Convention, in a way, teaches itself.

Accessing the Core Documents and Toolkit is easy. Just click on the link below and find everything you need to bring Philadelphia, 1787, into your classroom today!

American Founding & Constitutional Convention Core Document Volume and Toolkit

 

Core Documents: The Great Depression and New Deal

 

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The Great Depression and New Deal can be more easily understood by thinking of it as a story in six parts.

Today’s interview is with Dr. John Moser, Professor of History at Ashland University and editor of the Core Documents volume on the Great Depression and New Deal. A complex and multi-faceted event that played out over a more than a decade, it can be understood by thinking of it as having taken place in six parts, chronologically:

  1. Hoover and the Great Depression
  2. Hoover vs. Roosevelt: The Election of 1932
  3. Roosevelt First New Deal, 1932-1934
  4. Criticism of the New Deal
  5. Roosevelt’s Second New Deal, 1934-1936
  6. The New Deal in Decline, 1936-1938

John talks about how he went about selecting documents to fit this model, how the documents fit together, and how using these documents can greatly improve the quality and interest level in a unit on the Great Depression and New Deal.

The second volume of the American History and Government Core Document Collections – the Great Depression and the New Deal – is available on iTunes, Kindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each, which can be accessed through our Facebook store. Email dmitchell@tah.org for more information.

Sign up for early access to each volume!

The Benefits of Team Teaching American History and Literature

It’s impossible to separate a culture’s literature from its history, yet every day, in classrooms across the country, the two subjects function in isolation. It’s easy to understand why: with an ever-increasing list of requirements and standards, teachers often find themselves scrambling to deliver basic instruction of their subject, let alone combine with another class. However, with the right planning, American history and literature teachers can team up to cohesively teach units. In the end, combining curriculum can give your students more educational bang for their buck. Making connections between two disciplines drives home the “how” and “why” questions of both.

Story Lovers

For today’s teens, popularly referred to as Generation Z, it’s all about story. They post their stories on social media. They shop brands that invest in marketing their own digital narratives. Their common literature is viral videos. And although today’s teens consume most of these stories on screen–whether through YouTube, Snapchat, or Twitter–they’re still spending the better part of their days immersed in story.

For students who love story, history can come alive through literature. According to a 2017 article in Forbes, “Gen Z students tend to thrive when they are given the opportunity to have a fully immersive educational experience and they even enjoy the challenges of being a part of it. For instance, 51% of surveyed students said they learn best by doing while only 12% said they learn through listening.” Learning history through story–for example, the Salem Witch Trials as portrayed in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, is a much more immersive experience than taking notes. By reading and visualizing characters and situations (or even better, acting out scenes), students participate in making meaning. The facts, and more importantly, how those facts influenced the evolution of American society, become embedded in a story many students will remember for life.

History Buffs

What about those students who prefer history to English class, the ones who do like memorizing dates and names but can’t seem to concentrate on a novel? For those who love the nuts and bolts of American history, the right literature can be a doorway to appreciating good storytelling. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, for example, is both a memoir and a treatise on the abolition of slavery, drawing readers into this dark portion of American history through detailed personal experience. This engaging autobiography can lead more reluctant readers to sample other historical narratives, such as The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, or Tim O’Brien’s semi-autobiographical The Things They Carried, which explores the personal horrors of fighting in the Vietnam War.

Bringing the Two Together

Team teaching American history and literature can be a powerful experience for both teachers and their students. Even when two classes aren’t able to team up throughout the year, just one or two special cross-curricular units can electrify key themes with unique literary voices. If you’re a history teacher working alone, you can still deliver content through the vehicles of narratives, poetry, plays, and essays as a way to enrich your students’ learning.

Teaching American History is offering two Summer History & Literature Seminars designed to help teachers of American history and American literature to examine historical documents and literary texts through the lenses of both disciplines. Each seminar will be taught by a historian or political scientist teamed with a literary scholar. Get inspired by history and story this summer, and learn how to inspire your students as well.

Register for Seminars in July

SYNOPSIS: When American history teachers and American literature teachers team up in the classroom, history and story are both enriched to create a dynamic learning experience great for every student.

Core American Documents: World War 2

 

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Today’s podcast includes and interview with Dr. Jennifer Keene, of Chapman University and president of the Society for Military History. Dr. Keene is the volume editor for our new World War 2 Core American Documents volume, and has some interesting things to say about how she went about selecting documents, trying to keep the number and length manageable, while trying to do such an enormous event as WW2, from multiple perspectives, the justice it deserves.

This volume of  our Core American Documents Collections – World War 2 – is now available!

Get your copy on iTunesKindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy. You can also buy it on Amazon!

Sign up for early access to each upcoming volume!

As in the other volumes, each Core Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Fifth Volume of Core Documents Collection – The Cold War Now Available!

The latest volume of  our Core American Documents Collections – the Cold War – is now available!

Get your copy on iTunesKindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy, or you can buy it on Amazon.

Sign up for early access to each upcoming volume!

What does the man on the moon and high school teachers having to take loyalty oaths have in common? Listen to today’s podcast and find out…

 

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Today’s podcast includes a conversation with David Krugler, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville about his work as volume editor for our newest Core American Documents volume, the Cold War. In it, David talks about the Cold War, the documents he selected and how, and some interesting experiences he had in the creation of the volume.

As in the other volumes, each Core Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Core American Documents Volumes Introduction

 

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TAH.org is publishing over 40 individual volumes in our Core American Documents series, with four volumes already available as of today. In addition to the individual volumes, we are going provide a companion podcast interview of the editor of each volume, in which we’ll talk about the sorts of documents that were included, things to look out for among them, and commentary on the topic at hand. To kick off this series of interviews, which will be published through our podcast feed (iTunes and via RSS) at least monthly, we have today an interview with Dr. David Tucker, General Editor of the series, who talks about how the series is being put together, what can be found in each volume, and how teachers and students can access the volumes in different formats, both print and digital.

Saturday Webinar: Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL

 

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Saturday, 3 March 2018’s TAH.org teacher webinar was about Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The violent response to a peaceful Civil Rights march on 7 March 1965, televised and immortalized in pictures, helped to spotlight the injustice of segregation and racially discriminatory systems of law and social norms found throughout the South at the time.

Although other crises in this series were political or security-focused in nature, what happened in Selma has a far more distinctly moral crisis, as it was made so clear that many Americans were not enjoying the same rights as others, and that the promises of the Declaration of Independence were, clearly, not yet fulfilled.

The event itself was discussed in detail and contextualized alongside other major moments and ideas from the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s.

Suggestions for additional reading:

Access the full archive page here.

iTunes Podcast

Podcast RSS

 

Revive Your Love of Learning

Remember the excitement you felt the first time you read the Gettysburg Address, watched a presidential debate, or visited a national memorial? You found yourself face to face with the wonder and courage of the Great American Experiment and knew you wanted to give your life to understanding and participating in it yourself.

In the midst of meetings, parent phones, grading, and prep work maybe you’ve lost the passion you first felt for American history.

No matter how long you’ve been working in the education system, you can revive your love of learning. We have some tips to help.

Set a Personal Learning Goal

Setting a personal goal that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time can do wonders for your intellectual energy. Perhaps it’s reading a certain number of historical biographies in the next year or memorizing the most moving portion of a speech you’ve found inspiring in the past. Set aside a bit of time each day to commit to your goal – even just five or ten minutes. You’ll start feeling empowered and energized even with a small daily habit of learning for your own personal satisfaction.

Mix It Up

We encourage our students toward interdisciplinary learning, providing opportunities for them to combine their knowledge of American history with literature, the arts, science, and their own creative expression. When is the last time you’ve given this gift to yourself?

Visit an art museum to just wander and enjoy American art from your favorite time period. Read Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms next time you teach about The Great War. Or take to your own notebook or canvas to express your feelings about a historical event or famous figure. Exploring a familiar subject from different angles can open your eyes to different ideas and get those synapses popping.

Learn with Others

Getting together to read and discuss ideas with a group of fresh faces and minds can not only revive your love for learning, but bring it to new heights. Each year, Teaching American History offers dozens of seminars and colloquia at various locations across the country at no charge for participants. Whether on-site or online, you and fellow teachers will dive right into original historical documents, from the Constitution to FDR’s Commonwealth Address, under the teaching of university scholars who are experts in their respective fields. Getting to the roots of our country’s exciting and complicated history will not only remind you of why you love this subject, but help you inspire your students as well. We hope you will join us at a program soon!

To learn more about TAH’s free teacher education programs visit http://teachingamericanhistory.org or sign up to receive regular updates about all of our teacher resources!

 

Special Video Presentation: Gordon Lloyd at Pepperdine on the Bill of Rights

 

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Dr. Gordon Lloyd visited Dr. Jeff Sikkenga’s class at Pepperdine University in early February 2018 to talk about the origins of the Bill of Rights, with particular focus on the First Amendment, and the two religion clauses. Dr. Lloyd also used his online exhibit on the Bill of Rights to help students dig deeply into the documentary and historical origins of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights.

Engage the Disengaged Student: Renew Your American History Curriculum with These Free Resources

“We hold these truths to be self evident.”

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

“I have a dream.”

You became a history teacher because iconic words like this, reflecting the matchless American Experiment, captured your imagination. The tensions of security versus freedom, liberty versus union, and a confederated republic versus a rising national empire made for endless critical thinking and debate.

Now you’re juggling well over a hundred students, tracking ever-changing standards, and feeling the pressure to teach to the dreaded test as your students doodle in their notebooks. Is there a way to reignite your first love for history–and make your students fall in love as well?

Teach the Words of Our Founding Fathers to the Keepers of Our Country’s Future

Teaching American History believes in the power of our country’s original historical documents to spark curiosity, conversation, and action. We also believe in supporting hardworking teachers by making their lives a bit easier. With our collection of free, thoughtfully curated resources, you can have both.

Our American History Toolkits are topically-focused multimedia collections organized for easy access to a variety of materials, including primary documents, guiding questions, webinars, podcasts, lessons, and other resources to help lay a solid foundation with original documents for major units of study. With our toolkits, actual pieces of history–not boring packets of charts and multiple choice questions–become the backbone of your curriculum, directing students back to the heart of our nation’s challenges and ideals. Invite students to explore speeches, debates, letters, cases, messages, and other documents in the context of their corresponding audiences and events, and watch the light bulbs turn on.

Meet Your State’s Academic Standards with Fresh – and Free – Resources

Our primary documents are aligned with thousands of easily searchable state academic standards, so you can ensure that your teaching meets your state’s requirements.

Our Toolkits explore the following major issues and eras of United States history:

  • The American Founding
  • Expansion & Sectionalism
  • Civil War & Reconstruction
  • The Progressive Era
  • The Great Depression & World War 2
  • Civil Rights

Ready to reinvigorate your American history curriculum? Access one of our Toolkits today, and rediscover America.

50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

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