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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: Famous Failures
Description: The students are shown a video of "Famous Failures" which provides examples of famous people who failed many times prior to becoming successful. The students are encouraged to discuss the different people in the video and are asked to think about the famous person's contributions. Was Walt Disney's impact greater than Henry Ford's? The students then (teacher facilitated) list the ten famous people they would put on a “Top 10 list." This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (8 - 9), or Social Studies (11)
Title: Fried Green Tomatoes & Cultural Crossroads
Description: Having read Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, students will conduct research through an interview with an elderly person from the community (a field trip to local nursing home facility) to determine the validity of the author’s message (setting, cultural, and historical observations).  They will develop interview questions derived from observations and events from the book as a large group. Small student groups will use iPods/MP3s, laptop computers with webcams, or digital cameras to capture pictures, videos, or audio clips from their interview, as well as take notes. On their return, groups will compare facts from the book to findings during interview and collaborate to create a presentation that finds Flagg’s depiction of the Alabama of the Great Depression days credible or not.


Subject: Social Studies (10 - 11)
Title: History: It's All Around Me
Description: Most students are unaware of the historical significances that can be found in their immediate surroundings. This lesson plan sends students on a quest to seek out areas of historical significance that can be found within their local area. Once students find these hidden historical gems they will report their findings via photo story. This lesson plan has been made with Alabama historical places of reference in mind; you will need to adapt it for your own individual state.


Subject: Science (9 - 12), or Social Studies (11)
Title: The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Lost Towns of Marshall County, Alabama
Description: Students will create computer models based both on contemporary maps and primary sources to explore the role of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s hydroelectric projects in altering more than 75 miles of the natural landscape and in displacing communities along the Tennessee River.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Archives and Records Administration      Add Bookmark
Description: NARA makes available to the public the historically valuable records of the three branches of federal government: executive (including the President), legislative, and judicial. National Archives holdings include textual; audiovisual; cartographic and architectural; and electronic records.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange      Add Bookmark
Description: During the Great Depression, government photographer Dorothea Lange took this picture at a migrant farmworkers' camp near Nipomo, California. Lange's brief caption recorded her impressions of the family's plight: "Destitute pea pickers ... a 32-year-old mother of seven children." First published in a San Francisco newspaper, this poignant image became one of the most famous photographs of the Depression era, emblematic of the hardships suffered by poor migrant families. The "migrant mother," anonymous for many years, was later identified as Oklahoma native Florence Thompson.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Digital History      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a comprehensive set of web based resources and activities suitable for students at every grade level. Produced through a collaborative partnership including the National Park Service, the University of Houston, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Chicago Historical Society, t he site features a digital textbook with hypertext links, virtual exhibits featuring letters, artwork and artifacts, an interactive timeline, a collection of e-lectures, inquiry based learning units, and an extensive collection of online resources like maps, charts, and primary sources.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Silk Satin Dress      Add Bookmark
Description: Virginia Lee Mead wore this salmon-pink silk satin dress when she was a young woman living in New York City's Chinatown, where her father, Lee B. Lok, a first-generation immigrant, ran a general store. The full-length dress is a traditional style that younger second-generation Chinese women wore to formal celebrations during the 1930s. "When I was a child, I really didn't know I was American," recalls Lee. "I had no idea. I mean, we lived in a Chinese community and everybody was Chinese, so we [were] Chinese."
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: The 1900s      Add Bookmark
Description: Use short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions to explore American history from the 1900s in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The nine questions included in this segment cover topics such as World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and September 11, 2001.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1970s-2000 Global Economy Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities, developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including a historical map and answer questions about them to learn more about global consumption, production, and transportation and the impact of globalization in their own communities. The activities provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing will help students develop and strengthen map-reading skills and identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1930s and 1940s Highways Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities, developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including a historical map and photography by Dorothea Lange and answer questions about them to learn more about road travel and the role highways played in 1930s. Students will also conduct research and answer questions about the impact of the Great Depression, WPA and CCC on their own communities. The activities provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing and helps students develop and strengthen map-reading skills. Students also will employ research skills to obtain historical data, analyze and make decisions, identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Social Security Act      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson students examine the 1935 Social Security Act, and the debates surrounding it, in order to evaluate the reasons for this act and the related agency.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: FDR's Fireside Chats: The Power of Words      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson students gain a sense of the dramatic effect of FDR's voice on his audience by listening to audio recordings, consider the scope of what he was proposing in these initial speeches, and make an overall analysis of why the Fireside Chats were so successful.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: African-Americans and the New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps      Add Bookmark
Description: In this EDSITEment lesson student examine primary source documents pertaining to the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corp and evaluate the impact of this program on race relations in America.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Health,Social Studies
Title: New Deal Network      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Blue Ribbon site contains documentary resources for the study of FDR and his Depression-era programs. Its mission is to inform new generations of the ideals and achievements of two important figures of the 20th century, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It is a research and teaching resource devoted particularly to the New Deal public works and arts projects.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Lesson 2: NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1930's      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson students participate in a role-play activity that has them become members of a newspaper or magazine editorial board preparing a retrospective report about the NAACP's anti-lynching campaign of the 1930s.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Rise of Social Reform in the 1930s      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson asks students to explore the various roles that Eleanor Roosevelt took on, among them: First Lady, political activist for civil rights, newspaper columnist and author, and representative to the United Nations.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: The Story Behind the Song: Brother Can You Spare a Dime?      Add Bookmark
Description: When Americans were humbled by the Great Depression, this song gave voice to their fears and feelings of loss.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Now      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, is a quarterly online journal for teachers and students. The site features lesson plans, reflections from leading historians, multimedia interactive resources such as audio clips and slideshows and an '' Ask the Archivist'' section where teachers and students can send questions and see the answers posted on the site. Users can find information on Abraham Lincoln, national holidays, elections, voting rights, immigration, the American West, slavery, abolitionism and the Civil Rights Movement.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: Worth a Thousand Words: Depression-Era Photographs      Add Bookmark
Description: The goals of this lesson, from EDSITEment, are to gain insight into New Deal programs and the experience of Depression-era Americans, to recognize the distinction between observation and inference when drawing information from documentary photographs, to recognize some ways the photographer can influence interpretation of documentary photographs, and to gain experience in critical thinking about media.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: The Story Behind the Song: God Bless America      Add Bookmark
Description: In 1938, composer Irving Berlin dusted off an old piece of music to create a new national hit.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: NBC "Fireside Chat'' Microphone      Add Bookmark
Description: On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of about thirty informal "Fireside Chat'' addresses over the radio. His ability to communicate over this new medium directly and personally, addressing each listener as a respected friend, gave FDR a powerful tool to shape public opinion.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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