We Hold These (other) Truths to be Self-Evident

Target audience: 8th grade US History in a remote learning environment.

Content: Taught during a unit on the pre-Civil War reform movements. Specifically in a lesson on the Women’s Movement. This lesson will cover the Seneca Falls Convention and look in depth at the Declaration of Sentiments. It would be a relevant event to cover as it was the official beginning of the Women’s movement on a national scale. This could also be taught alongside a lesson on the abolition movement to highlight how these two movements overlapped and differed in the sam era.

Process: This lesson will begin with students being given the link to a Pear Deck lesson and signing in. On the first slide of the presentation, the teacher will briefly introduce the day’s topic before moving on to slide 2 where the students will be asked to draw or write two things that they already know about the topic. The teacher will ask for 2-3 volunteers (or call on them) to share what they know. Next, students will watch an introductory video about the Seneca Falls Convention and its place within the women’s movement. The following slide will ask the students to briefly explain why the Seneca Falls Convention was in important event in the Women’s Movement. The teacher will ask for 1-2 volunteers (or call on them) to share their answer and discuss the answers as a group. The next slide will move the lesson into covering The Declaration of Sentiments (DOS) specifically. Here, the teacher will explain the DOS generally and then introduce the comparison between the DOS and the Declaration of Independence. Explain the similarities in the sections of both documents (Preamble, Declaration of Natural Rights, Sentiments/Grievances, Resolution). Explain the significance of the DOS clearly copying the DOI and what that strategy was meant to accomplish. For each of the ext 3 slides, read aloud (or have a student read aloud) the passages from the DOS and DOI and highlight the significance of the differences. On the final slide, the teacher will explain the group activity. For this activity, students will be put into breakout groups of 3-4 and asked to match individual sentiments from the DOS with historical photos. To do this, students will be given two sets of google slides. One set of slides will have a template for each group to complete as their assignment. Each slide will have one of the sentiments listed in the DOS along with an open space to copy and paste a photo and a text box to write a short explanation of why that photo represents that sentiment. The other set of slides will have the historical photos that students will copy and paste into the other set of slides. The students will have at least 10 minutes to work on this before coming back to the main group where each group will be asked to share one slide.

Resources: Pear Deck/Google Slides Presentation, Google Slides template, Google slides with photos.

Delivery considerations: This lesson will be delivered using Pear Deck. Students will access Pear Deck to view an introductory YouTube video, answer two questions, and view slides during the lecture portion of the lesson. For the group activity, students will create a Google slides presentation using a template given to them.

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But what about the Communists? Red Scare Lesson

Target Audience and Setting: This lesson can be given to a US History or World History class that is looking at the Cold War, or the way propaganda is used to convey a specific narrative. It can also be used as a way to introduce students into the Red Scare period in US History. Students will need access to the internet and Youtube which makes this a great activity to do in a remote learning environment or in a classroom. This lesson doesn’t require that students have a background in propaganda or how it’s used, but it would be beneficial if students have some knowledge about US and USSR relations leading up to the Red Scare.

Content: This lesson primarily focuses on propaganda during the Red Scare and the narrative that it was conveying to the people of the time. This lesson can be adapted to any period in time where propaganda was heavily consumed by the masses as well. The goal of this activity is to get students to start thinking about how people from the time thought. While it’s easy to judge the people of the past, it’s a bit more difficult to understand their worldview. That’s why in this lesson, it has students trying to construct a narrative from a limited perspective, and form opinions on what is going on based on the information that they can gather. This is meant to replicate how people at the time were fed a narrative and unless they dug deeper or had the resources, were unable to find other information. I believe this is important to teach because it shows the downside of only believing a single story and can encourage students to corroborate information or seek out other perspectives on a topic. I also believe this is a fun activity to get students thinking about the Red Scare and what the average person may have thought was going on.

Process: This activity would start with breaking the students into pairs and giving them 2 sources of propaganda each (this can be adapted to be groups or giving students more sources). For an online classroom, all the sources can be compiled into a google form which based on the students group, would send them to their sources. If this activity were happening in the classroom, the students would be given a copy or directed to their sources. Each group or pair will be given a role which will act as a lens for them to view their sources from. For each source, students will have to answer questions based on their sources such as ‘what is going on in the source?’ ‘what is the message of the source?’ ‘how is the source conveying this message?’ ‘how does this source make you feel?’ and ‘based on this source what do you think is going on between the US and the USSR?’ Students will do this for all the sources they are given and then will answer questions after they have seen all the propaganda pieces. This questions can be like ‘What are you not worried about (as your role) after seeing these sources?’ ‘What do you think is going on in the United States?’ ‘Are you afraid of the communists?’ While the students are working on this, the teacher can listen in on their conversations and answer any questions they may have.

After the students have answered the questions, the class will join back together and start working together to figure out a narrative on what is happening in a ‘town meeting’ style. Each student pair/group will need to explain what their primary concerns are based on the propaganda they saw and their role. It would be best to encourage students to embrace their role and get into it. Each group can explain what they analyzed and how it made them feel until they settle on an opinion or agreed upon plan of action about ‘the communists in their communities’. After this is decided upon, the teacher will present a slideshow/give a lecture about what was going on in the US during the Red Scare and how people actually dealt with the issue of the communists. Afterwards, students should be asked about how propaganda was used and the effect it can have on people who are only seeing a single narrative. Students can also be asked about what modern forms of propaganda they can think of and what messages they get from it.

Resources for lesson: Since this lesson if being delivered remotely the students will be provided with a google form that has all the propaganda in it as well as the prompts that students should be answering. The propaganda is in the form of videos, posters, and parts of comic books that I found through articles about Red Scare propaganda. I mostly used Open Culture and google to find some propaganda.

Delivery Considerations: Because of remote learning, I made the lesson a google form so all the students can have access to it. If this were in the classroom, students would be doing the activity on paper and writing these things down.

Feature image source: http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/the-red-menace-a-striking-gallery-of-anti-communist-propaganda.html

It’s not about the destination…

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Target Audience and Setting

The target for this lesson would be students in 11th or 12th grade. By now students should have familiarity with primary sources, as well as analyzing text for both content and meaning. This is a history lesson meant to introduce travelogues as a form of primary source material, most likely to be used before a unit that would include a travelogue as a source.


Since we will be reviewing travelogues as sources, we will use two travelogues as examples for class. In a live setting I would suggest more travelogues, but electronically it could pose a greater challenge. The first travelogue is Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia, and the second is Nawab Sikandar Begum’s A Pilgrimage to Mecca. The delivery of the lesson includes a Google Slide presentation as well as a Jamboard; both included below.


Before the synchronous lesson, students will be assigned excerpts from the texts to read and review. I would assign these; splitting the class into two groups based on the text. The class will be entirely composed around a think-pair-share activity in which we ask ourselves what strikes us as reliable and unreliable about these sources based on the texts themselves. Layout is as follows:
1. Think: Students will have a chance to review their given excerpts and writes down any notes they have based on the prompts
2. Pair: Students will be put into small groups based on their excerpt to compare findings. In a smaller class I would split the groups in two, and assign them each one author’s texts.
3. Share: As a class we will discuss what we believe the texts can reliably tell us, and create as a class a list of items that we think make the sources reliable or unreliable.

Resources For Learning

There are 3 primary spaces where the resources for this lesson take place: The excerpts themselves, the Google Slides, and the Jamboard group discussion. I’ve included links to those below:
1. Excerpts

2. Google Slides Link

3. Jamboard Link

Delivery considerations

Ideally, this class would be in person. However, the current lesson is designed for an asynchronous/synchronous distance learning model. I would make sure to explain the goal, and then to provide the excerpts individually, so that students aren’t confused about what to read. Jamboard works well for class discussions, but you could use something like Padlet or Nearpod if you prefer.

Sailing through the History of Hawai’i

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Target Audience and Setting

The target for this lesson is for students from 9th to 11th grades. The purpose of this target is since high school students tend to take courses such as 20th Century History, U.S. History, and A.P U.S. History. However, younger students can learn about the annexation of Hawai’i as well.


The annexations of Hawai’i will go along the topic of U.S. Expansionism during the 19th century to 20th Century. Students need to be learning about this topic because Hawai’i is often overlooked as a cultural nation and considered more of a vacation spot. Even when tourists go to a lū’au, they would not take the time to learn about the Hawai’ian culture and why it is they can experience this. Hawai’i is rich with culture and the United States had a big presence in overtaking Hawai’i’s sovereignty for their gains. Therefore, giving students the context of a recent moment in history will give students more context on U.S. imperialism.


Before the lesson, the students will watch a video called “How the U.S. Stole Hawai’i‘. This is to create a flipped learning environment where students are given a background on Hawai’i before I tie up any loose ends with my short lecture.

After this, three groups will be created for Hawai’ians, Americans, and the U.S. Government side. The groups will work on an interactive Google slide that could also be used as a study tool. The groups will have to gather evidence to argue their side as to why they wished to remain sovereign (in Hawai’i’s case) or why Hawai’i should be annexed. The Americans would have to defend their reasoning for overthrowing the Hawai’ian government.

Then, after reviewing, the groups will begin to debate. This will be a Socratic method where the groups will be trying to garner more individuals to join their sides. In the end, the class will decide whose side to be on via poll on Zoom.

Resources For Learning

Google Slides

(Interactive) Sailing Through Hawai’ian History Google Slides

Delivery considerations

This lesson could be used for in-person classes. However, given the situation of the pandemic, this lesson is geared more towards an online setting. It utilizes Google Slides and forms. Additionally, it uses the Zoom Breakout room system.