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UnitTopicandRationaleUnitIII:FromBoomtoBust,theRoaringTwentiestothe

GreatDepression
(1920s1939)

TopicSignificance

FindingthemostsignificantperiodinAmericanHistoryisarguablyimpossible.
Americansocietyandpoliticshavebeenshapedbyanumberofremarkableevents:fromthe
RevolutionaryWartothemodernforeignpolicieswithEasternEurope.Butwhenportraying
AmericanHistoryasasocialsciencetohighschoolstudents,onemustconsidertheperiodof
BoomandBust.FromthebeginningoftheRoaringTwentiesupuntiltheofficialendofNew
Deal,AmericanHistorydisplaysclearsocialandpoliticalpatternsthatarereoccuringtoday,thus
creatingavividvisualrepresentationofhistoryasascience.

Thisunittopicholdsitssignificanceinrepresentingmultipleglobalanddomestic
perspectives.Exploringtopicssuchasimmigration,migration,culturalandethnicconflicts,
prohibition,rolesofwomeninsociety,theroleofevolutioninschools,consumerism,mass
media,andtheeventualdownfalloftheeconomy,allowsstudentstowitnesslifefromthe
majorityofperspectivesintheUnitedStates.ForalowincomeschoolsuchasLincoln
Northeast,discussingtopicsthatrelatetounevendistributionofwealth,discrimination,and
strugglesofworkersisessentialforstudentengagement.Whileteachingstudentshistory,itis
possibletofurthereducatethemaboutthesocietyandcommunityinwhichtheyliveinnow.The
ethnicandculturaltensionsofthe20sandtheeconomicproblemsofthe30sofferaglimpse
intoissuesthatresonateinoursocietytoday.

Rationale

ItisessentialforthemajorityofLincolnNortheaststudentswhofacedailyeconomic,
ethnic,andculturalhardshipstobetaughtaboutthetimeperiodofhistoryduringwhichmanyof
todaysanxieties(andsuccesses)weredeveloped.LPSStandardsforUnitIIIincludethe
followingobjectives:explainingtheeffectsofsocialtensions,impactofofmediaonpopular
culture,emergenceofdistinctiveAmericanartandliterature,conflictsbetweentraditionalvalues
andnewideas,describinglifeduringeconomichardships,andunderstandingeconomicpolicies.
Eachstandardlisted,inoneormultipleways,appliestoeverystudentinmy7thhourAmerican
History.Thisunittopicissignificantforstudentdevelopmentascitizensandtheirgrowthin
understandingthesocietytoday.
Personally,Ilookedforwardtocreatingcurriculumusingmultipleperspectivesand
intelligences.UnitIIIfellintoacomfortablemiddleofthesemester.Ihadperseveredthrough

managementhiccupsandfeltmoreconfidentinmyabilitytoconveyinformationwithunique
techniques.Whilewehavespentalotoftimedevelopingaroutineforanalyzingprimary
documents,thestudentsneededachangeandIwasreadytoprovidethemwithmorecreative
opportunities.

JustificationforInstructionalChoices

Asmentionedabove,oneofthereasonsforchoosingthisunitwastheopportunitytomix
instructionalstyles.Besidesawrittensummative,theunitincludedapossibilityformystudents
tocreateamediaoraperformancepieceaspartoftheirevaluation.The1920sfocusonthe
emergenceofmassmediaandhowitaffectedpopularculture,theprojectservedastheperfect
exampleofhowintegratedintosocietymediabecameinthe20sandhowmuchtechnologywe
usetoday.TheNewscastprojectallowedstudentstoplaywithavarietyofsmartphone
applicationsallthewhilecommunicatingtheessentialinformationtheyhavediscoveredaboutthe
changesinsociety.TheuseoftechnologyatNortheastheavilydependsontheinstructor.While
Ms.Janssenoftenusesthemediacenterandportablelaptops,ourclassroomdidnotoftenfocus
onfullyutilizingthepossibilities.Withthisproject,studentswereabletousecomputers,phones,
applications,andmostimportantlytheircreativitytodemonstratesomeincredibleresults.
Imixedlecture,simulations,handsonactivities,opportunitiestousemusic,dance,and
art.IalsoutilizedyoutubeclipsandGooglePresentations,aswellasusedEdmodo.comto
communicatewithstudentsaboutdeadlinesanddailyreminders.WiththisunitIhavecreated
multipleworksheetsfromscratch,usingtheinformationfromtheclassroomtextbook,aswellas
researchofmyowntime.Ifocusedoncreatinggraphicorganizersforstudentstoeasilyorganize
informationandkeepthemintheirAmericanHistorybinders.Igaveoutanumberofpractice
essays,aswellassummativeessays.Eachdayfocusedononeormultipleessentialquestions
aboutthetopictofullyengagestudentsincriticalthinking.
Overall,IwantedtoprovideAmericanHistorystudentswithanopportunitytolearn
throughcreativitywhilestillmaintaininganacademicatmosphere.

LessonSequence

Aswithmosthistorylessons,mygoalwastoworkthroughchronologicallywhilemixing
eventsfrommodernsociety.Eachdayfocusedonprovidingstudentswiththebackground
informationneededandconnectingthatinformationtothingslearnedpreviouslyandsubjectsto
come.BecauseIwantedtoestablishasetroutineintheclassroom,almosteverydaybeganwith
aquestionoftheday.Thequestionservedasawarmupforstudentstoimmediatelybeginto
thinkcriticallyassoonastheyenteredmyclassroom.Italsoallowedforstudentstoselflearn

andtaketheresponsibilitytowritedowntheessentialinformationwithoutmeneedingtoremind
themofit.Eachquestionalsoallowedtoposethatdayssubjectathand.Themaintopics
focusedovertheunitwere:

Challengingtraditionalvalues
Social,racial,economic,andculturaltensions
TheimpactofmediaandtheJazzAge
CausesandconsequencesoftheGreatDepression
Differencesinpresidentialpolicies
AndtheeffectsoftheDepressiononthelivesofAmericansandimmigrants

InordertocloselyfollowtheLincolnandNebraskasocialstudiesstandards,Ikepta
chronologicalorderoftheevents,makingsuretohavemultipledaysforinstructionifthetopic
requiredit.Throughthosetopics,studentswereabletousecriticalthinking,comparingand
contrastingskills,indepthanalysis,multipleperspectives,etc.whilekeepingadefinitetimeline
ofAmericanHistory.

Theunitincluded25instructionaldays,areviewday,andaunittest,withonesummativeproject
andmultipleformativeassessmentsinbetween.Eachinstructionalplanandthecleartimelineof
theunitareincludedundertheInstructionalPlansbarontheleft.