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Teaching Hard History — American Slavery [downloadable]

Teaching Hard History — American Slavery is the product of a multi-year collaboration among Learning for Justice, educators, and scholars. The goal of the project is to inspire a widespread commitment to robust and effective teaching about American slavery in K–12 classrooms.

Teaching about slavery is hard. It’s especially hard in elementary school classrooms, where talking about the worst parts of our history seems at odds with the need to motivate young learners and nurture their self-confidence.

Our youngest students deserve a truthful, age-appropriate account of our past. The Teaching Hard History resources for elementary educators include the K-5 framework, student texts, teaching tools, and professional development resources.

The Teaching Hard History resources for middle- and high-school educators include the 6–12 framework as well as student-facing videos and primary source texts, teaching tools, and professional development resources.

About the Frameworks

The foundation of the K–5 and 6–12 frameworks, the Key Concepts pinpoint 10 important ideas that all students must understand to truly grasp the historical significance of slavery. Explored through Essential Knowledge in the elementary grades and Summary Objectives in middle and high school teaching, the Key Concepts serve as tools educators can use to structure their teaching.

The frameworks identify age-appropriate, essential knowledge about American slavery, organized thematically within grade bands.

There are two sections providing additional support for teaching each objective. Because the literature on American slavery is vast, the frameworks include a section titled “What else should my students know?” for each Summary Objective. This section provides key content at a more granular level.

The last section of each Summary Objective is called “How can I teach this?” This section provides information about critical resources that can help educators plan lessons for each objective. Many of these resources—and scores of other primary and secondary sources—are available for download in the Teaching Hard History Text Library.

Download a PDF of the K-5 framework

Download a PDF of the 6-12 framework

Learn more about the Teaching Hard History project.

Source: Learning for Justice | Teaching Hard History: American Slavery, https://www.learningforjustice.org/frameworks/teaching-hard-history/american-slavery | a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center ©1991-2020
Learning for Justice provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school.  Their mission is to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy.

CHC offers free community education sessions for educators. Join us to learn practical teaching strategies you can use in your classroom to help more kids reach their promise and potential. Educator sessions are led by experienced educator/clinician teams from Sand Hill School and CHC.

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