Lessons & Resources

Lessons and Resources – Summer/Fall 2018clinton-grist-millx900

You can download the pdf copy of Teaching Social Studies on our website, www.njcss.org.

Sample 11th Grade United States “Enduring Issues Essay, by Henry Dircks

DIRECTIONS: An “Enduring Issue” is an issue or topic that exists across time in U.S. History. It is an issue that the American people have attempted to address with varying degrees of success. Read or observe the five documents below. Then identify and define an enduring issue that is common to all the documents in the set. (For instance, documents such as the Dred Scott decision, a Reconstruction literacy test, a Harlem Renaissance poem, MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham jail and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would share the issue, “The African-American struggle for equality saw many achievements and setbacks.”) Finally, write an essay in which you:  1) Identify and define the issue using evidence from at least three documents and 2) Argue that this is a significant issue that has endured by showing…Read more

Combating Fake News with Media Literacy, by Nicole Waid

In recent years, there have been changes in the way teens consume media. Mindich (2005) asserted that 80% of people under the age of 30 do not read newspapers daily. The median age of TV news viewers is 60. Mindich discussed how the generational shifts in news consumption could impact the future of how people engage in the democratic process (Mindich, 2005). Patterson (2007) cited a study by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy that also noted declining teen news consumption on public affairs. The findings of declining news consumption among teens reflect Bennett’s (2008) disengaged youth paradigm, which measures the possibility of a healthy democracy with young people voting and consuming news about public events. It is imperative that students are taught techniques to detect fake news stories, so they can be part of an informed electorate when they turn 18 and can vote.  Read more…

Teaching about the Spanish Civil War: An Interdisciplinary Approach, by Thomas Masterson

This is an interdisciplinary unit on the Spanish Civil War and Americans who enlisted in what they believed was a fight to stop the expansion of fascism in Europe. The unit opens with a lesson summarizing the key points about the war and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. This lesson serves to introduce students to the major themes that will be focused on throughout the whole unit. In this lesson, students read an overview of the war written by the Abraham Lincoln Brigades Archive (ALBA). According to ALBA’s website, “the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives is an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting social activism and the defense of human rights. ALBA’s work is inspired by the American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought fascism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).  Read more…

Children’s Literature about the Islamic World, by Arwa Alhumaidan

Most recent Muslim immigrants came to the U.S. came from Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, or Iraq. Many left their homelands to escape from poverty or war and want to become a part of the United States and American citizens. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Muslims have faced, and continue to face, stereotyping and prejudice across the nation. The Council on American-Islamic Relations reports that between 2014 and 2016 “anti-Muslim bias incidents jumped 65 percent.” Writing in Rethinking Schools (v. 32, n. 2, Winter 2017), Alison Kysia, a Muslim educator and curriculum developer, argued “The increasing violence against Muslims, suggests we, as Americans, are becoming less tolerant and need educational interventions that move beyond post-9/11.”  Read more…

My Italian Secret, by the Italy and the Holocaust Foundation

Gino Bartali is well known in the sport of cycling and holds the record for the longest time span between victories at the Tour de France (ten years). Bartali’s life provides a powerful lesson in how moral endurance can empower from within. As Bartali attained “super star status” in the sport of cycling, he never lost sight of the fact that it was his inner strength that carried him through the most difficult moments of his life.
As he told his son Andrea, “If you’re good at a sport, they attach the medals to your shirt and then they shine in some museum. That which is earned by doing good deeds is attached to the soul and shines elsewhere.” In 1943, when Italy was under the German army occupation, Archbishop Elia Angelo Dalla Costa and Rabbi Nathan Cassuto organized a resistance network. Bartali was recruited by the network and worked as a courier. In addition, Bartali aided the Assisi resistance movement that was organized by church members from his hometown. He also sheltered a local Jewish family in his home. Read more…

Princeton and Slavery: Moses Taylor Pyne and the Sugar Plantations of the Americas, by Maeve Glass

Despite the prominence of Pyne’s financial support to Princeton, the complex roots of that support have remained largely out of view. Pyne’s fortune is most often explained with broad references to either his success as a commercial lawyer in New York or his inheritance of a large estate from his grandfather, Moses Taylor, usually described in his capacity as a successful merchant and founding president of a New York bank. A return to the leather-bound account book in which Pyne or his clerk inscribed the payments for the library fans that July of 1900, however, reveals the beginnings of a more complicated story. These records show that Pyne’s payments stemmed directly from an estate whose earliest foundations lay not simply in the financial industry of New York, but in the daily work of carrying the produce of the continent’s largest sugar plantations to the markets of the world.

Slavery and Resistance in the Hudson Valley, by A.J. Williams-Myers

In 1805, Ann B. Long of Wappings Creek, Dutchess County, New York, placed a notice for the return of Mary, a young female runaway slave. Long had searched for Mary three years prior, when she fled enslavement at the age of 13. Newspaper notices offering rewards for the capture and return of enslaved human beings were increasingly common in the 18th and early 19th century Hudson River Valley until slavery was officially abolished in New York State in 1827. These notices provide thought provoking glimpses into the lives of New York State’s enslaved population and are the only records that exist for many of the individuals described in the notices. Read more…

Decoder: The Slave Insurance Market, by Michael Ralph and William Rankin

These men and women became such valuable assets, in fact, that their owners sought to insure them as such. By the 1840s, the number of slaves insured in the South mirrored the number of free whites with life insurance in the North — and both kinds of policies could be issued by the same companies. Slave insurance was one of the earliest forms of industrial risk management, providing an important source of revenue for some of today’s largest multinational insurance companies. It also makes clear that the recent economic crisis, driven by credit default swaps, was not the first time new financial instruments, utilized by AIG and its peers, shaped the lives of U.S. workers. And it won’t be the last. Read more…

Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the House of Burgesses – July 30, 1619, by Hank Bitten

The teaching of colonial American history and civics in the first months of the 2018-19 school year offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the foundations of American democracy! Most lessons on the colonial period are in the beginning of the academic year and the 399th year is the best time to teach the historical significance of the 400th anniversary! It’s a milestone event. Read more…

The Hornblower Decision and Fugitive Slaves in New Jersey, by John Zen Jackson

Joseph C. Hornblower was the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1832 to 1846. He died on June 11, 1864. His New York Times obituary described him as a generally well-regarded lawyer and jurist whose decisions were “marked by learning, legal acumen and high moral principle.” His claim to historical importance arises out of his 1836 opinion in State v. Sheriff of Burlington County identifying constitutional deficiencies in the Fugitive Slave Act (FSA) of 1793. Read more…

Teaching with Tunes: An Educator’s Guide to Utilizing Hamilton in the Classroom, by Juliana Kong and Heather Pollak

The American musical Hamilton took not only the history community, but the entire world, by storm when it premiered on Broadway in 2015. One of the most popular, innovative, and significant musicals of all time, Lin Manuel Miranda’s work has been lauded lyrically and musically. His ability to modernize and popularize the history of the American Revolution and founding of our nation through the eyes of former Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, has earned him well-deserved praise and global recognition. Through contemporary music spanning multiple genres (primarily hip-hop and rap), Miranda has piqued domestic and global interest in this forgotten Founding Father, revolutionizing the way we think about early American history. Read more…

Special Feature—1968: The Year that Changed History

The Year that Changed History

In January, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo claiming the ship violated its territorial waters and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam. In February, the world was shocked by a photograph of South Vietnamese police official murdering a captured Viet Cong soldier and President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the Kerner Commission, warned that racism was causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” In March, student protests sparked a political crisis in Soviet-dominated Poland; American soldiers massacred civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai Massacre; student at Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C., held a 5-day sit-in protesting against the War in Vietnam and demanding that the university end its ROTC program and offer more courses on the Black experience; and after a disappointing showing in the New Hampshire primary, Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not seek re-election.  Read more…

New York Times Reports a Year of Turmoil

University students and the police clashed today in Cracow and Poznan as student demonstrations spread across Poland despite threats of punishment by the Government. Reports to Warsaw indicated that students in eight provincial cities had held protest meetings in sympathy with students in the capital since the first clash with the police at Warsaw University last Friday. In Warsaw, 8,000 students crowded today into the main auditorium of the Polytechnic School and applauded a motion that said they did not want to become the object of factional maneuverings in the Communist Party.  Read more…

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Impact by Megan Bernth

Reverend King’s impact on the United States continued after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 because his ideas lived on and his achievements continued to influence people. His assassination also contributed to the racial divide in the United States, as African American communities exploded in anger. The material in this curriculum package focuses on the immediate response to his murder, testimonials and rioting, controversy about his killer, and King’s long-term legacy. Material in the package includes photographs, videos, quotes, and compelling questions. As a culminating activity, the students read three quotes statements by Reverend King that discuss his ideas of nonviolence and passive civil resistance, compare them to examples of contemporary protests, and consider the implications of Reverend King’s ideas for today. Read more…

Student Takeover at Columbia University by Kyle Novak

On April 23, several hundred students gathered at the sundial on the Columbia campus to protest the Vietnam War because the university had a relationship with the Institute for Defense Analyses and supported other war related activities, such as ROTC drills on campus. The students were also outraged by the lack of sensitivities of black New Yorkers, as the University attempted to construct a gym that usurp a portion of Morningside Park and be accessible to neighboring Harlem residents mainly through an ignominious (embarrassing) back door.  Read more…

The Year in Music by Marc Nuccio

The year 1968 produced a wide variety of songs that were top hits. These songs ranged from uplifting ballads to clear sociopolitical statements. Hey Jude, The Beatles’ chart-topping single, remained the number-one song on the charts in the United States for nine weeks in 1968. Hey Jude was a feel-good song that Paul McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, as Julian’s parents went through a divorce. The B-side of Hey Jude, titled Revolution, served in part as The Beatles’ response to the Vietnam War. The Rolling Stones also felt the need to address the war, with the song Street Fighting Man. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song after a 1968 anti-war rally at London’s US embassy. “Revolution” and “Street Fighting Man” had vastly different messages, yet each song, released by the most popular rock bands of the day, conveyed the enormous impact that the Vietnam War was having on the Western world.  Read more…