Labor

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    • The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 20 pages.
      Students “become” several of the social groups who participated in the 1934 Longshore Workers Strike—some of whom had to answer the question, “Which side are you on?”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Writing activity for students to complete the narrative of women workers striking at a glove-making factory, exploring possible outcomes.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Exploring Women’s Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Exploring Women's Rights: The 1908 Textile Strike in a 1st-grade Class

    • Teaching Activity. By Dale Weiss. 3 pages.
      A teacher’s reflections about a curriculum unit on women’s rights contextualizes the history of the feminist movement within the broader struggle of people working for greater equality in the United States.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades Pre-K-2
    • Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 6 pages.
      Students work with a chapter from Milton Meltzer’s classic book, Bread and Roses, to see the impact of late 19th century factory work on workers’ home lives.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • The Homestead Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 10 pages.
      This role play activity on the famous 1892 Homestead Strike, explores the possibility of solidarity among workers of very different backgrounds and at different levels in the workplace hierarchy.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • It’s a Mystery—White Workers Against Black Workers

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages.
      In this “mystery” activity, students receive clues and discuss some of the factors that contributed to the intensification of racism in the 1920s in many parts of the United States.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: African American, Labor, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • Labor Songs

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Students explore the power of songs to build solidarity and increase understanding. This is the final activity from Bigelow and Diamond’s labor history book, The Power in Our Hands, and draws on the other lessons.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Lawrence, 1912: The Singing Strike

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 18 pages.
      Role play on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Mass.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: World War I: 1910 - 1919, 20th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Immigration, Labor, Organizing, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Lessons in Solidarity: Grady Hospital Workers United (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Lessons in Solidarity: Grady Hospital Workers United

    • Teaching Activity. By Larry Miller. 6 pages.
      Story and discussion questions about a teacher’s own experience of labor solidarity.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Labor | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Lewis Hine’s Photographs

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. 4 pages.
      Using photographs to spark creative writing and critical thinking about child labor issues and social justice.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, 19th Century, 20th Century | Themes: Art & Music, Immigration, Labor, Media, Social Class | Reading Levels: Adult
    • Modern Times

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 2 pages.
      This lesson uses Charlie Chaplin’s hilarious classic film, Modern Times, to help students think about the impact of “scientific management” on the workplace.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Organic Goodie Simulation

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      Lesson engages students in a lively simulation that helps them experience some of the pressures that lead workers to organize.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Paper Airplane Simulation

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 4 pages.
      In this simulation, students make paper airplanes to learn about the origins and effects of “scientific management”—owners’ attempt to capture workers’ skills and knowledge, and then to exploit that knowledge to reorganize work and cut costs by deskilling workers.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Salt of the Earth: Grounds Students in Hope

    • Teaching Activity. By S.J. Childs. 6 pages.
      The author describes how she introduces students to the classic 1953 film, Salt of the Earth, about a miners’ strike in New Mexico.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Latino, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: High School
    • Shutdown!—Confronting Plant Closures

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 14 pages.
      In this role play activity, students assume the roles of union members and attempt to figure out how to respond to a threatened plant closure.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Organizing, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Southern Tenant Farmers' Union: Black and White Unite?

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 12 pages.
      Role play on farm labor organizing in the 1930s shows how racism had to be challenged to create effective worker alliances.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: African American, Labor, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity | Reading Levels: High School
    • "Taylorizing" Burgers: A Fantasy

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 8 pages.
      In this playful activity, students utilize the principles of “scientific management” to restructure a burger joint—one that has been run a good deal more democratically and imaginatively.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Economics, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Union Maids (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Union Maids

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 3 pages.
      Activity for students to write from the point of view of one of the women featured in the film Union Maids.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Art & Music, Labor, Organizing, Social Class, Women's History | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • What Rights Do We Have?

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 7 pages.
      This lesson teaches some of the nuts and bolts of labor unions and then moves beyond to ask students to consider what rights they have at work, and to recognize that “rights” depend in large part on what people have fought for and won.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Who Makes History?

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond. 3 pages.
      This lesson introduces students to Bertolt Brecht’s poem, A Worker Reads History. Students reflect on the creative role of workers in making history.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Civil War and Class Conflict

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 16 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 10 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States” on “The Other Civil War—the class conflict fought by the poor in the north and south.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • From the Jazz Age to the Uprisings of the 1930s

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 20 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 15 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the economic and social realities of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the corresponding rise of unions and the Communist Party.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, 20th Century | Themes: Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
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