I teach at a Title I school in a suburb of Philadelphia. My students are a diverse mix of many different races and religions, and life experiences. The students have found that these differences are something that should be discussed and celebrated; not ignored or avoided.
When students know that their history matters, they can be moved to make a difference.
It has been my experience that students become more engaged when they know that they are represented in the texts that they read. Last year, my students wrote letters to a textbook publisher, pointing out a questions in the reading anthology that was worded in an insensitive way. Not only did they receive a personal, written response, but the CEO of the company pledged to make a change and use their suggested wording in the next edition of the anthology.
That experience, along with increased engagement of all students, has led me to want to do even more this school year.
Many times, the standard history textbook only tells the story from the point of view of the people who ended up in power. There may be a sidebar or a quote here and there to represent the minority groups, but the story as a whole, is told from a power perspective.
This book will give students the opportunity to cross reference the narrative in the textbook with a history told from the point of view of groups that are often left out of that narrative.
The point of view of enslaved Africans, Native Americans, women, poor workers, immigrants, and others who do not fall into the typical hero role of the explorers and founding fathers will show students that the United States was built by and made great by a diverse group of people who need to continue to work together and continue to improve the country.
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