The Charles Redd Center sponsors four K–12 Teaching Awards that enable awardees to attend the Western History Association Annual Meeting (beginning in 2008) and four K–12 Teaching Awards that enable awardees to attend the Western Literature Association Annual Meeting (beginning in 2015). Award Recipients are asked to present a part of their lesson at the conference to other teachers and the lessons are posted online below. Please click on the appropriate project title to view it.
WLA Lesson: My Land, Our Land: Exploring the Ethics of
Energy Policy, Consumption, and Sustainability Using Aldo Leopold’s ‘The
Land Ethic’ by Jennifer Kawecki and Hakan Armagan
This instructional plan contributes to our teaching goals because we wish to offer students an opportunity to think and work across disciplines. We want to help students move beyond viewing their education in terms of compartmentalized subjects toward gaining a broader, synthesized knowledge base. In addition, the collaborative annotation component allows for deep conversations about the central text using technology. We see the interactive tool, NowComment as a way to bridge students’ knowledge in a personalized way. Furthermore, by actively teaching critical thinking skills and strategies, students become better thinkers in both disciplines.
WLA Lesson: Letters from Yellowstone: Stories of Women Scientists in Yellowstone National Park by Hali Kirby
cross-curricular unit is designed for tenth grade students in Biology
and English 10 and will require 4 weeks to complete, based upon a 4-day
school week with 60 minute class periods. The oral history component may
take longer, depending on the number of interviews you choose to
conduct. Students will learn that to be fully engaged in the world, one
must closely observe it and its inhabitants. Making connections with
one’s “place” through literature is the life-blood of this process.
Lesson 1: California and the Western Foundation for Educational
Equality in Schools: A Side-By-Side Comparison of Legal Methods and
Development of Educational Rights Through Westminster v. Mendez and Brown v. Board of Education by Brenden Bell.pdf
development of educational opportunity—along with the broader series of
economic, political, and social opportunities—for minority groups, was a
process that developed over centuries in the United States, and the
judicial system played a role. Mendez v. Westminster played a
significant part in the development of educational rights for
Californian Hispanics in particular and most immediately, but then also
in many ways set a precedent for African-Americans through Brown v. Board of Education and the national civil rights debate that followed less than a decade later.
Supplemental materials for lesson 3: Bell Lesson Materials
WHA Lesson 2: Expanding Western Horizons: Looking at the Fur Trade Through Multiple Perspectives by Ruth Ferris
will explore how the Fur Trade made economic, environment, and cultural
identity changes to life in North America. They will understand that
all people are consumers.
Supplemental materials for lesson 2: Ferris Lesson Plan Rubric
WHA Lesson 3: Analyzing the History and Impact of Racial Identification by Shauna Hirota
is a socially constructed idea that can change over time and place, but
it is also major factor in determining one’s identity and access to
resources and individual rights. Analyzing the evolution of US Census
data and the inclusion and exclusionof racial categories over time,
shows how the United States as a country has expanded to include many
different racial groups.
WHA Lesson 4: How Did the Great Depression Define Oklahoma? By Donna Moore and Dalton Savage
module is designed for a three-week examination of the 1930s, the Great
Depression, and its lasting legacy in the State of Oklahoma. Once the
topic and compelling question have beenintroduced, teachers will guide
students through this examination with three supporting questions and
the completion of related formative assessment tasks. This work will
include thereading of a non-fiction or fiction book, document and
audio-visual analysis, and the identification of evidence that will be
useful in making claims. Students will need scaffolds to support their
will learn about the heavily underrepresented topic of Native American
activity during and after the Texas Revolution through analysis of
primary sources and historical fiction, and will learn to pay attention
to underrepresented and marginalized stories in history and literature.
WLA Lesson 2: Identity through Place by Jamie CrosswhiteThere
is power in every “real” and “imagined” place. Places have the power to
shape identity, understanding, and beliefs in the same way that we as
human beings have the power to shape and alter our lived spaces.
Literature is one avenue of art that allows us to understand, capture,
and question the places we construct and deconstruct daily. Our
literatures and how we read and write about them alters and strengthens
our relationship to our chosen places and how we see them as well as
deepening our understanding of personal identity.
WLA Lesson 3: Using Service Learning and Oral History Projects to Teach Pete Fromm's Indian Creek Chronicles by Chery Hughes
will identify an author's point of view and the connections between
society/people/wilderness as communicated through an author’s works.
Lesson 1: Global Warming and the West by Heather Penrod and Diane Wilson
This unit's purpose is to build awareness among
teenagers to understand how climate change affects all living beings in a
global "butterfly effect" and to assess current green technological
solutions for healing the soil and conserving and preserving clean water
sources, in order to reduce world poverty through 21st century green
technology; therefore engaging in a community effort to feed the world
through eco-friendsly resources of shared animals. By educating students
on the realities of climate change and the continued legacy of abject
poverty around the globe, students will apply their knowledge of green
technology to assist and transform peoples' lives.
Lesson 2: Railroads: Economic and Cultural Significance Across the Continents by Michael Kennedy
will be able to analyze the imact of railroads in the Industrial
Revolution in Europe, America, and Russia by creating a podcast
comparing the great transcontinental railroads of the late nineteenth
Lesson 3: The Bisbee Deportation of 1917 by Mitch Askew and Molly Golden
will investigate the people and events surrounding the Bisbee
Deportation, an event in Southern Arizona that involved the illegal
removal of nearly 1200 mine workers in 1917. This event allows students
to examine border tensions, war-time paranoia, racial prejudices, and
labor strices of the early 20th century. The labor conflict and
deportation also makes clear that different groups understood the event
and American identity differently. Six groups of students will research
the deportation. Each group will examine the event from a different
perspective and then propose a mural to commemorate the Bisbee
Deportation. Ultimately, the class will conduct a "Cochise County
Historical Society Meeting", and each group will be accountable for
portraying their research through the eyes of their persona. Throughout
the process, the goal is for students to understand and quesstion
different perspectives on border issues of the past and present. They
will seek to question who and what creates American identity. Is it
location of birth? Is it amount of time on American soil? Is it
allegiance to the United States? As groups and as individuals, students
will synthesize the history of Cochise County's famous deportation with
their own current perspectives on American identity.
Lesson 1: The Gold Rush and the Central Valley by Edel Mooney
This lesson begins with the students engaging in a guided drama experience. Students empathize with the Native Americans and Native Californian Ranch Farmers (lives) in Northern California during the Gold Rush Era. Days two and three involve students looking at the Gold Rush from an alternative perspective – the natural environment and in particular the land and Sacramento River (earth). The final day of the lesson connects the ‘big idea’ together as students think about the power of people in shaping their natural environment. Students connect the importance of embracing their land’s past and preserving its future through actions in the present. Students use the items they have been working on to create a time capsule for future fifth graders sharing with them the importance of being aware of the environment you live in.
Lesson 2: Anti-Chinese Sentiments in the US-Mexican Borderlands by Mark Johnson
The goal of this lesson is for students to understand the causes, course, and counsequences of increasing anti-Chinese sentiments in the US-Mexican borderlands from the 1850s through the 1930s, to note the changes and trends within this topic, and to account for the factors that caused these changes. Additionally, students will compare and contrast the anti-chinese movements in the US and Mexico, seeking to understand the similarities and to account for the differences.
In order to promote classroom experiences as meaningful towards their human communities, students research and investigate a thesis with an emphasis on reflective consideration of the sociological and economic legacy of homeless Vietnam veterans in greater Los Angeles. Students will produce their own findings concerning community relationships and responsibilities through individual and group inquiry, culminating with utilizing powerful photography as a community exhibit to speak for the homeless who have no voice.
Lesson 4: The Arizona Ethnic Studies Controversy by Daniel J. Thele
Students will understand how the Arizona Constitution gives citizens of differing perspectives the opportunity affect the laws governing them through the legislative process and through ballot initiatives. Students will be able to construct strategies for engaging the political process in the state of Arizona.
Lesson 1: Native Americans: An Integrated Elementary lesson by Meaghan Crowley
lesson uses a variety of learning styles and techniques to integrate
literacy sequencing standards and Social Studies content standards, so
as to introduce early elementary students to research and the role
Native American Nations play in our country’s history. The lesson begins
with two Native American stories read aloud. Students are asked to
sequence these two stories through the use of story time statues and a
storyboard graphic organizer. A teacher led discussion encourages the
students to learn about how sequencing is important not just in
understanding history but also in fully understanding literature.
Following these stories, students reflect in their journals on a
visual image and are asked to determine whether or not all Native
Americans are the same. Connecting their prior knowledge to the varying
depictions of Native Americans from the two stories and the image,
students are led to an understanding that Native Americans are a broad
group of people made up by many different nations.
Then a carefully modeled introduction to research has students in
groups researching different Native American nations of the American
West. The lesson ends with group presentations on their research and a
discussion on how white settlement affected all Native Americans.
Lesson 2: His Death Avenged: Empowering Students as Historians to Understand the Chinese Experience in the American West by Mark Johnson
is designed to do two things. First, by using an engaging murder-mystery
from 1870, students will use an inquiry-based approach to develop and
use critical thinking, problem solving, and higher-order thinking skills
to analyze primary and secondary sources, formulate historical questions, interrogate historical data, and develop hypotheses about the events of the past supported by historical evidence and analysis. Second, by analyzing the broader context of the American West, students will deepen their understanding of topics including American migration policies and the various factors that influence governmental policy, the Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, and American Foreign Policy in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century.
Lesson 3: America Expands West: Development or Intrusion? by Kevin Kimberly
This lesson was designed to instill in students a better ability to
critically think about the past through the lens of treatment of the
Native Americans in the American West. These activities and content
force students to examine the time period and happenings of the mid to
late 1800s in western Indian-settled territory from different
perspectives. It is within these perspectives that students are able to
form their own critical opinion about our country’s actions, altogether
enhancing their ability to be independent thinkers and life-long
Lesson 4: Women of the 19th Century Western Prairie by Karie Lynch
Through their study of the American Great Plains
Homesteaders, students will gain an understanding of the importance of
hard work, dedication, and the American dream in the development of the
United States as well as the sacrifices and risks dreams often
require in the pursuit of one’s own dream. They can apply these ideas to
their own lives as they identify and pursue their own dreams. Students
will also use the two selected literary pieces to strengthen their
literary analysis skills as they practice inference skills and examine
the authors’ use of tone and characterization to reveal plot development
and important themes.
Lesson 1: The Salton Sea: A Case-Study of Human-Environment Interactions in the American West by Jared McBrady
This lesson was written as an extend and refine lesson to a unit on
Western Expansion in a sixth grade American History course. In the
lesson, we examine one particular area of California, the Salton Sink,
reviewing several key themes from Western Expansion and further
considering human interaction with the American land. The first day of
the lesson opens with the Cahuilla Indians, who have lived in what is to
become southern California for generations. But, as a result of
American expansion west following the Mexican War and the discovery of
Gold in California, conflict between the Cahuilla and the new settlers
forces the Cahuilla onto reservations in the areas around the Salton
Sink. We examine life on the reservation for the Cahuilla, and how they
adapt to the land. The second day of the lesson looks at new pressures
put on the land by the burgeoning population caused by the gold rush. As
boomtowns develop, settlers need more food. To grow more food, they
need more water. To get water, they turn toward the Colorado River –
with unintended consequences. An engineering mishap diverts the Colorado
River into the Salton Sink, creating a large inland sea and flooding
much of the Cahuilla reservation. The third day looks at human
adaptation to the new Salton Sea. It focuses on the idea of development
in the west, as the gold pans out and the economy transitions to other
endeavors (especially tourism). Finally, on the fourth day, we look at
some problems caused by this development of the West. Water scarcity and
pollution are problems that especially affect the Salton Sea. Through
the four lessons, the Salton Sea becomes a microcosm for the larger
themes and modern implications of western expansion.Supplemental Materials for Lesson 1: Salton Sea Brochure, Day 4 Ancillary Materials
Lesson 2: Manifest Destiny: Westward Expansion and the Mexican-American War by Bianca Wilson Cole
Upon completion of the lesson, students will understand how the
overwhelming objections to the Mexican-American War prompted Thoreau to
write Civil Disobedience.
Lesson 3: Angel Island: Twentieth-Century Immigration to the West
In this lesson, students will compare treatment and acceptance of
immigrants coming to the United States from Angel and Ellis Island
during the early 20th century.
Supplemental Materials for Lesson 3: Angel Island PowerPoint, Angel Island Appendix
Lesson 1: Government and Business in the Progressive Era by Berta Simic
In this lesson, students will gain a greater understanding how
government and big business are often intertwined - and at the expense
of the everyday man. This is especially relevant to today's students in
light of recent bank bailouts.Supplemental Materials for Lesson 1: Attachment A, Attachment B, Attachment C, Attachment D, Attachment E
Lesson 2: A Day in the Life...Japanese Internment Camps by Drew Clary
this lesson, students will be able to contrast different peoples'
perceptions and opinions of the internment camps based on their
experiences with them. It forces students to approach the same issue
from different perspectives. This is an essential skill in social
studies, and one that is just as underdeveloped as it is unnatural for
middle school students. By approaching the very same primary sources
from their different assigned perspectives and then comparing their
reactions with their classmates, this skill will be not only developed
but better appreciated as an important aptitude to develop.
Lesson 3: Cattle Becomes Big Business by Mitchell Bradford
this lesson, students will begin to familiarize themselves with the
point and purpose of cattle trails and "Cow Towns," while also analyzing
the symbols and meaning behind fictional depictions of the cowboy
lifestyle in art.
Lesson 4: Native American Boarding Schools: The Education and Cultural Transformation of American Indians Under the United States Government Boarding Schools
completion of this lesson, students will be able to identify what is
meant by a Native American boarding school; who and what it is composed
of and for what purposes, identify how government education changed the
culture and direction of Native Americans, and compare and contrast
views of Native American education between educators, the government,
American Indian students and their families.Supplemental Materials for Lesson 1: Native American Boarding Schools PowerPoint, Primary Source Documents, Student Handbook, Student Notes PowerPoint
Lesson 1: Technology in the West by Lindsey Passenger
In this lesson, students will examine how technology and other
developments changed the West and analyze the implications of these
developments. This lesson is designed to allow students to draw
connections between the technology in the West and technological
developments today. While participating in the activity, students will
learn about particular groups of people and particular developments that
occurred in the mid-1800s–early 1900s. The main learning event of this
activity is a scavenger hunt in which students will analyze primary
sources while learning about and analyzing technological developments in
the West. By Lindsey Passenger, Department of History at Northern
Lesson 2: Native American Boarding Schools by Mathew LaMore
This lesson teaches students about the experience of Native
youth in Government Boarding Schools in the 19th and 20th centuries. It
combines primary documents, collaborative learning techniques, and other
strategies for teaching historical subjects more effectively. This
lesson may serve as a template for other subjects that can easily
incorporate primary documents. The lesson can be edited to last from 50
to 110 minutes. Supplemental Materials for Lesson 2: Native American Boarding Schools PowerPoint for Students, Native American Boarding Schools PowerPoint for Teachers, Native American Boarding Schools Primary Sources.
Lesson 3: The First Transcontinental Railroad by Veronica Arce
This lesson uses a simulation in which students are
"building" the First Transcontinental Railroad to understand what it
was like to be a worker on the Union or Central Pacific Railroads.
During the activity, students use primary and secondary sources to gain
information then apply the information in a variety of ways. This
activity provides for movement, collaboration, teamwork, and
accomodating different skill levels and learning styles. All together,
the lesson would take about 90 minutes to complete. Supplemental Materials for Lesson 3: The First Transcontinental Railroad PowerPoint, The First Transcontinental Railroad Visual Aids, The First Transcontinental Railroad Station Packets, The First Transcontinental Railroad Station Questions, The First Transcontinental Railroad Overnight Camp Sheet, The First Transcontinental Railroad Note Sheet, The First Transcontinental Railroad Table of Contents.
Lesson 4: Land Grabbing by Sarah Brynaert
This lesson plan uses a variety of teaching methods to portray the
idea of Land Grabbing in the American West. It intertwines a variety of
genres along with crossing curriculum. The main ideas in this lesson
include assimilation, stereotypes, Westward expansion, and Native
Americans. To teach these concepts, a vocabulary graph is used along
with a board game, student drawings, a journal entry, and a foldable
review guide. This lesson plan includes primary documents and maps. A
teacher may format this lesson easily for English Language Learners,
younger ages, and different achievement levels. It also provides a
variety of assessments throughout the lesson.Supplemental Materials for Lesson 4: Land Grabbing PowerPoint, Land Grabbing Elaborate 1, Land Grabbing Engage 1, Land Grabbing Engage 2, Land Grabbing Engage 3, Land Grabbing Explain 1, Land Grabbing Explore 1, Land Grabbing Explore 2.
Lesson 5: The Intermountain West: An Environmental History of Its People, Places, History, and Cultures by Aaron Shapiro
This teaching unit plan is designed to give secondary students of
United States History and understanding of the shaping force the
environment has on the American character and, furthermore, to help
students in the Intermountain West see themselves as part of a diverse
cultural and physical landscape. The unit is derived from constructivist
and social learning theories.