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Beginning with the Basics

Students LOVE learning about history when they can interact with primary sources which help them really "experience" the past, when they develop relationships with people who actually recall those times, and when they are challenged to use the Internet to deepen their understanding of the lives and passions of previous and present generations.


Primary sources help students more closely relate to the experiences and circumstances of people who lived in the past. Working with primary sources, students better understand how previous generations struggled and succeeded. They develop a deeper appreciation of the contributions of different individuals and cultures, and discern the many ways in which history has shaped and continues to influence contemporary society.

Guides for using primary sources with students
Primary source materials related to "Africans in America" series
Examples of primary sources for family roots research


Oral history interviews assist students in acquiring listening skills which are critical to positive human relationships. In the process of conducting oral interviews, young people converse with other generations about their lives and communities in which they lived. They see the human face of history and hear its human voice. In the process, young and old often communicate as they never have before -- really connecting -- and learning to respect and value each other.

Guides for using oral history with students
Oral interviews related to "Africans in America"series
Examples of oral history interview projects


Webquests enable students to assume increased responsibility for their own learning by giving them structured opportunities to access and interact with the rich resources of the Internet. Students are challenged to engage in research and problem-solving activities, activities which frequently require teamwork. The best webquests also have students create products which display and/or demonstrate the results of their learning experiences. Webquests can be sound tools for preparing students for fuller participation in adult relationships associated with the worlds of work and society.

Guides for webquests with students
Webquests related to "Africans in America"series
Examples of webquests


Tapping Teacher Resources

Adults who truly LOVE educating young people get them involved in projects which increase their self knowledge and self esteem, help them understand and appreciate the importance of belonging to a caring community, and show them how to share their unique gifts and talents in self-giving ways that enrich their own lives at the same time as they enrich the lives of others.


Family is usually the first community in which human beings experience and learn to express love. When it is truly a network of loving relationships, family contributes to the well being of all of its members -- nourishing them as persons and reinforcing their sense of belonging. People are naturally interested in knowing more about the history of their family. It is said that nearly 100 million Americans are currently engaged in researching their family roots. Learning about the history of their own family and the history of other families can benefit youth in a variety of ways, from strengthening their self image to increasing their sensitivity to the family situations of others.

General Resources
Resources related to "Africans in America" series
Practical Tools


People are members of many different types of communities. In some cases, membership is a matter of conscious choice. In others, membership in a particular community is a matter of circumstance. To mature, youth need to participate in communities of choice and circumstance which are outside of the immediate family. To mature, they also need to learn how people have managed to cooperate and resolve conflicts within those communities. The practice of involving young people in preserving and reflecting on the history of their own neighborhood and/or the history of a community to which they already belong can provide invaluable learning opportunities. When students actually share what they have learned, it can also promote increased multi-cultural understanding.

General Resources
Resources related to a Variety of Ethnic Groups
Practical Tools


Love means more than belonging and participating. It means contributing to the community, giving without expecting something in return. Today's youth have much to contribute to the common good. Many are strongly motivated to serve others. Educators and other caring adults can facilitate student participation in service projects by linking school-based learning with the needs of the larger community. They can empower students by modeling how to partner with others and increase the impact of the services which they provide.

General Resources
Resources Related to Service Learning in the Region
Practical Tools

Part I: Beginning with the Basics

Primary Sources
Oral Interviews

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Part II: Tapping Teaching Resources

Family Roots
Neighborhood/Community Histories
Service Learning Projects