Reading Like a Historian: Women in the 1950s

Resource ID#: 38015 Type: Lesson Plan

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General Information

Subject(s): Social Studies, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11
Intended Audience: Educators educators
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, LCD Projector, Microsoft Office
Instructional Time: 1 Hour(s)
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Freely Available: Yes
Keywords: 1950s culture, women, baby boom, Betty Friedan, sourcing, contextualization, corroboration
Instructional Design Framework(s): Direct Instruction
Resource Collection: General Collection

Aligned Standards

This vetted resource aligns to concepts or skills in these benchmarks.

4 Lesson Plans

Reading Like a Historian: Anti-Vietnam War Movement

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did many Americans oppose the Vietnam War? First, students view 2 anti-war images and a timeline of anti-war events. They fill out a graphic organizer and formulate a hypothesis that answers the central question; discussion follows. Students then read 2 documents: a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kerry's testimony before Congress. For both, they complete questions on a graphic organizer. Final class discussion: Why did anti-war sentiment grow? Did only college kinds participate? How do you think supporters of the war might have responded?

Reading Like a Historian: Civil Rights Act

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was JFK a strong supporter of Civil Rights? First, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education on JFK and civil rights. Students form a hypothesis and discuss whether JFK was "strong" on civil rights based on this. Students then read a 1963 JFK speech supporting the Civil Rights Act; as a class, they answer sourcing, close reading and context questions and revisit their hypothesis. Students then read John Lewis's controversial original draft of the speech he delivered at the March on Washington. They answer guiding questions which corroborate both documents and attempt to reach a conclusion. If there is time, the teacher may bookend the lesson with another clip which shows how LBJ signed the eventual law into action.

Reading Like a Historian: Great Society

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the Great Society successful? Students first read LBJ's "Great Society" speech and answer sourcing, close reading and context questions about it before discussing as a class. The teacher then hands out a list of Great Society programs and asks: Which have you heard of? Which do you think were successful? Students then watch a film clip about the Great Society, streamed via Discovery Education. This is followed up with 2 secondary sources: a "Pro" perspective from historian Joseph Califano and a "Con" perspective from Thomas Sowell. They fill out a graphic organizer in groups and discuss: Which historian is more convincing? What kind of evidence does each use to make his case? How do these arguments still play out today?

Reading Like a Historian: Women in the 1950s

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Is the image of the "happy 1950s housewife" accurate? The teacher first introduces the time period and some of its features: the baby boom, the GI Bill, suburbia, Leave it to Beaver. The teacher then shows images of the "happy housewife" from 50s-era publications. In groups, students analyze 2 documents: a Harper's magazine article on suburbia and a passage from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. They complete a graphic organizer that includes a hypothesis: does the stereotype seem true? Students then do the same with 2 more documents: secondary source analyses by Joanne Meyerowitz and Alice Kessler-Harris. The class completes the graphic organizer and shares final hypotheses in a group discussion: Should we believe the stereotype? How about the experience of minority women?

Related Resources

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Lesson Plans

Reading Like a Historian: Women in the 1950s:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Is the image of the "happy 1950s housewife" accurate? The teacher first introduces the time period and some of its features: the baby boom, the GI Bill, suburbia, Leave it to Beaver. The teacher then shows images of the "happy housewife" from 50s-era publications. In groups, students analyze 2 documents: a Harper's magazine article on suburbia and a passage from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. They complete a graphic organizer that includes a hypothesis: does the stereotype seem true? Students then do the same with 2 more documents: secondary source analyses by Joanne Meyerowitz and Alice Kessler-Harris. The class completes the graphic organizer and shares final hypotheses in a group discussion: Should we believe the stereotype? How about the experience of minority women?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Anti-Vietnam War Movement:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did many Americans oppose the Vietnam War? First, students view 2 anti-war images and a timeline of anti-war events. They fill out a graphic organizer and formulate a hypothesis that answers the central question; discussion follows. Students then read 2 documents: a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Kerry's testimony before Congress. For both, they complete questions on a graphic organizer. Final class discussion: Why did anti-war sentiment grow? Did only college kinds participate? How do you think supporters of the war might have responded?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Civil Rights Act:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was JFK a strong supporter of Civil Rights? First, the teacher streams a video clip from Discovery Education on JFK and civil rights. Students form a hypothesis and discuss whether JFK was "strong" on civil rights based on this. Students then read a 1963 JFK speech supporting the Civil Rights Act; as a class, they answer sourcing, close reading and context questions and revisit their hypothesis. Students then read John Lewis's controversial original draft of the speech he delivered at the March on Washington. They answer guiding questions which corroborate both documents and attempt to reach a conclusion. If there is time, the teacher may bookend the lesson with another clip which shows how LBJ signed the eventual law into action.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Great Society:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the Great Society successful? Students first read LBJ's "Great Society" speech and answer sourcing, close reading and context questions about it before discussing as a class. The teacher then hands out a list of Great Society programs and asks: Which have you heard of? Which do you think were successful? Students then watch a film clip about the Great Society, streamed via Discovery Education. This is followed up with 2 secondary sources: a "Pro" perspective from historian Joseph Califano and a "Con" perspective from Thomas Sowell. They fill out a graphic organizer in groups and discuss: Which historian is more convincing? What kind of evidence does each use to make his case? How do these arguments still play out today?

Type: Lesson Plan