American Social History Project (ASHP) uses a variety of resources and formats to bring stories of the American past into the history classroom. In particular, ASHP examines the daily lives and work of ordinary Americans, and the impact those Americans have had in shaping society.The digital database HERB is one example of a teacher resource ASHP has created. Named for labor historian and ASHP co-founder Herb Gutman, HERB contains primary source documents, classroom activities and other teaching tools for grades 7-12.
Internship Spring 2012
Heather Wilson: As an intern at ASHP this past semester, I became quite familiar with HERB. Although I had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects throughout the semester, I mainly worked with Education Directors Ellen Noonan and Leah Potter to create two instructional bundles (or, units) for 7th and 8th grade social studies teachers that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. One bundle teaches about the Great Depression and the New Deal, and the other about manifest destiny and the Mexican-American War.
This image of a “Hooverville” in Seattle in the 1930’s shows one effect of unemployment during the Great Depression, and is one of the primary source documents in the 8th grade instructional bundle on the Great Depression and the New Deal.
The process of collaboration – internally and externally – has been vital to the success of the project. In partnership with the NYC Board of Education, and with much feedback from a focus group of teachers, we created bundles containing a sequence of lessons, primary documents, worksheets and graphic organizers, performance tasks and rubrics. As part of my internship, I added vocabulary supports to primary documents and made secondary documents to contextualize the primary source material. I also spent time making worksheets, and creating and revising rubrics to help teachers assess student work.
In addition to work on the bundles, I attended multiple teacher workshops run by ASHP to get a sense of how teachers implement the resources that ASHP produces. Throughout the semester, I learned a lot about history education and the ways in which educators can make the past accessible to and exciting for younger learners.