Despite being founded on the lofty Enlightenment principles of natural rights, individual freedoms, and equality, our country made sure to exclude as many groups as possible from the material manefestation of these ideals. African Americans, women, Native Americans, and the poor were examples of such groups. Consequently, collective struggle was necessary in order to force necessary concessions from the exclusionary grip of elite power. As Frederick Douglas famously said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand.
Choose a single state, complete research on its geography and history and make connections to current politics and economy, culminating in a museum exhibit.
Uncle Tom's Cabin: reading and writing assignments, including reflections, journal entries, Venn Diagrams, Character logs, and visual characterizations, performed individually and in small group activities.
Essay on the effectiveness of one aspect of nonviolent protest used during the Civil Rights movement. (Eg, sit-ins, freedom rides, boycotts, and multi-ethnic marches.)
Presentations regarding one aspect of 1850s U.S. culture. Students must read and critique primary documents, such as Ladies Home Journal, and explain to the class the significance of such cultural norms as the antebellum "women's sphere."
Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution: Experiential activity demonstrating the futility of one-state, one-vote.
Presentation on antebellum societal and cultural trends, for instance "women's sphere", "Biblically-based pro-slavery arguments", "abolition", and the Fugitive Slave Act.
Culminating PBAT, as described above, including a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation on a major line of inquiry pertaining to social justice movements in the U.S.
Major research project. See above.
Issues of the American Empire includes an in-depth study of the Vietnam War through two of the important literary works that have resulted from that war:
"The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien and "The Sorrow of War" by Bao Ninh. These novels will form the basis of a comparative analytic essay that may qualify for the English PBAT. The critique that students develop based on these readings may help them form further areas of research and study in American history.
Comparative literary essay (PBAT)
Research is based on the topic chosen by student to develop into social studies PBAT. Below are some of the topics recently selected.
The focus of this course will be on social justice issues, both broadly defined as well as focused on NYC. The course is part of the Senior Institute and prepares students to choose a significant and compelling topic for their social studies PBAT paper and presentation.
Essay Prompt: Facing Today: Urban Identity and Change
Choose one of the four social justice topics (Health Care, Affordable Housing, Immigration or Education) and research the impact of that challenge in New York City and specifically your community.
In an essay, critically examine how that issue affects New York City and your community and analyze how the city has addressed this issue. You must also include a proposal of what the community and the city can do to make change (your thesis). You should examine more than one point of view, including opposing arguments. Your essay should incorporate our assigned readings, but should also reflect your own serious academic research.
What to think about?
• Identify the difference between “social” problems as opposed to “individual” problems.
• Define “social justice”
• Identify historic examples of injustice as well as contemporary problems in schools, communities and our city. You can then be specific to your topic.
• Do your actions or the actions of others effect any change?
• What will be the consequences to society of not solving this problem?
Choosing to Participate: Social Justice in Action Art Integration Exhibition (Based on student research - PBAT paper)
Required for PBAT topic
At the dawn of the Twentieth Century African Americans were regularly lynched, doctors were legally forbidden to share information about birth-control with women, striking workers were routinely accosted by hired enforcers and young men could be drafted to fight in wars, though they were not old enough to vote.
Several independent research papers related to topics focused on during the course.
This course will explore the rise of right-wing dictators in the twentieth century in Central America as well as the Caribbean. Students will examine documents that have encouraged as well as challenged the phenomena. Students will examine the overthrow of President Arbenz in Guatemala and the legacy of the dictators who followed him, and the rise of Papa Doc in Haiti and the effect of his rule on the country. Students will write two four-page papers and a series of one-page papers.
Write 2 analytical papers throughout the semester arguing or refuting the following:
America has the right to interfere in the political and economic affairs of our neighbors in
Central America and the Caribbean.
The Central Intelligence Agency's work in Central America and the Caribbean helps to
preserve America's security.
Revise papers to meet PBAT standards for written work.
Analyze and compare and contrast the texts of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Le Code Noir.
Discuss and evaluate the 1950's as a time of "happy days" versus the days of witch hunting.
A series of arguments and debates from multiple point of views concerning: America's paternalistic role in Latin America versus a country's right to self-determinism; the role of the CIA; the reason for the fall of President Arbenz and the rise of of President Duvalier; whether capitalism and democracy can co-exist with a healthy tension.
Create a dialogue between the right and left concerning support for Duvalier.
Enact monologues and dialogues between historical characters: Duvalier, Napoleon, Dessalines, President Monroe, President Roosevelt, President Arbenz, George Tenet, President Obama.
Panel discussion and questions with Haitians of three generations.
Display selection of human rights artifacts gathered from websites, human rights organizations, and newspaper clippings on dictators that have been supported by the American government.
Research and present a dictator of your choice discussing the political and economic legacy of the leader and rate the leader based on their imprint.
What right-wing and left-wing dictators do you hear of in the media today? Do they pose a threat to our security and/or to the population that they rule over? Does America's use of the CIA to overthrow some leaders of other countries contradict our country's commitment to democracy?
History is more than mere memorization of names and dates. Have you heard how Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 Presidential campaign paved the path toward Barack Obama's electoral success? Did you know that Jackie Robinson was a civil rights leader after his Dodger playing career and was even arrested for keeping his seat on a bus eleven years before Rosa Parks? That Abraham Lincoln, never a slaveowner, publicly opposed "the peculiar institution" as a first-term Congressman in 1846, seventeen years before Emancipation?
8-10 page research paper comparing historical figures from different time periods who faced moral dilemmas and impacted modern society
Group and individual podium presentations to gain public speaking skills while sharing earned knowledge and insight as model for formal Roundtable panels
Daily reflective writing, submitted twice-weekly, to analyze artifacts including films, portraits or maps; interpret primary source readings, develop profile biographies or "place yourself in history" by relating personal stories to seminal historical events
Group work with poetry, drama or mapping
Please see above
Choose two historical figures who faced moral dilemmas. Then, like a detective, investigate: Who were these people and where did they come from? How did environment, education and early career exploration prepare them for leadership roles? What factors influenced their decisions? What common themes link your two figures? What can we learn from their contrasts? How do their stories affect us today?
In 11th grade U.S. history, students will be expected to write an historical thesis research paper on a topic in American history of their choosing. Through these project students should be able to use the research process by finding and evaluating valid primary and secondary sources, quoting and paraphrasing from original sources, and using note cards to collect and organize information. In this research project students should be able to develop a cohesive argument, organize ideas, and include analysis of specific examples and evidence, citing all sources.
--Bill of Rights & Current Event Project
--Civil War Essay
--Outline & Rough Draft of Historical Research Paper
--Final Draft of Historical Thesis Research Paper & Panel Presentation
• Expressing your thoughts clearly, concisely, and accurately through writing in multiple projects
• Connecting current events to history
• Evaluating bias and point of view in primary and secondary sources
• Evaluating competing historical perspectives
• Drawing conclusions and making connections from trends/patterns based on class discussion, homework, and/or independent research
• Creating outlines and using them to organize ideas
• Evaluating sources, using note cards to collect information, quoting and paraphrasing, analysis and synthesis of research, organization of information, citing sources
• Conducting research on a topic chosen by students
• Documenting sources
This class uses an inquiry seminar model to focus on how the United States became a “superpower” and how wisely and effectively American power has been used internationally. The goal is for students to answer these questions by exploring and analyzing past foreign policy decisions and, using this analysis, to draw conclusions about when and how this American power should be used today.
Analytical essay on the Spanish-American War
Test on the Mexican-American War
Test on the Vietnam War
Cuban Missile Crisis simulation and analytical essay
Document-based debate on the causes of the Mexican-American War
Document-based debate on multiple interpretations of what motivated American foreign policy in the Spanish-American War
Simulated debate of Johnson’s 1965 decision to escalate American war in Vietnam
Research and PBAT: To fulfill their graduation requirement for history, students must complete a PBAT consisting of a 10+ page historical research paper on a topic growing out of this class. Most students choose a topic related to the Vietnam War. Students must do independent research, develop a thesis that answers an authentic historical question (i.e. the paper must be more than a report), support their thesis with a well-developed analysis based on historical evidence from both primary and secondary sources, and examine and respond to alternative arguments. To fulfill the PBAT graduation requirement, students must present and defend their paper to a committee composed of East Side teachers and outside evaluators.
They say that if one does not know history, then a person is condemned to repeat it.
Can cycles truly be broken? Is there such a thing as “evil vs. good”? If a person is a merely a spectator, is he or she, in fact, a participator?
Research paper constructing a thesis and supporting evidence analyzing Britain’s influence on India and the consequences.
Comparative analysis of excerpts from major religious texts such as, the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Quran, Torah and the New Testament.
Reading and analysis of primary sources such as “Hammarabi’s Code”, “Hind Swaraj”, “Satyagraha”, “Mein Kampf”, and the “Treaty of Versailles"
Assess statistics by analyzing and interpreting various graphs, including Line Graphs, Pie Charts and Bar Graphs.
Africa Portfolio Project: diary entries from the perspective of one Lost Boy, describing his experience in Sudan and in the United States.
Photo essay that depicts Nigeria’s economic and environmental crisis.
Middle East Portfolio Project consists of a written analysis of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. Who owns the land?
British Imperialism in India: Research Paper
Constructing a thesis explaining how India responded to the problems and/or benefits created by Great Britain. The essay includes supporting evidence of said thesis as well as providing the counter perspective.
This course examined several large parts of the Geneva Conventions, tracking them from the First Geneva Convention in 1864 through their current application (most notably the treatment of prisoners of war under Common Article Three, which received a great deal of attention in the media because the George W. Bush administration argued that they did not apply to US prisoners at Guantanamo, while the Supreme Court disagreed).
Students were asked to apply the Geneva Conventions (specifically those that govern the conduct of soldiers in combat) to several accounts of battles in the Iraq War, including Haditha, Fallujah, and several smaller incidents recounted in Generation Kill.
Students were asked to evaluate whether the actions of soldiers during those incidents violated the Geneva Conventions, and, if so, to write a short essay on whether or not they should be prosecuted
Students wrote a short essay on whether or not the US should join the International Criminal Court.
Research Paper on one of five offered topics, or design their own topic
Students chose one of five topics or designed their own, conducted research including interviews (often of veterans of the Iraq War), on the internet and in libraries.