Institute for Arts and Media

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Classroom Assignments

Any moment in history can be taught in multiple ways. Our curriculum does not dictate any specific method or strategy for any particular content standard.

Instead, the following are a set of generalized classroom assignments that could be applied to any individual lesson.

1. Can I See Myself in These Photographs? - PPT/Prezi presentations

For example, students can be required, individually or in groups, to research and prepare a PowerPoint presentation of at least 10 slides, evaluating and interpreting anywhere from 1-5 photographs of African-American life in Los Angeles from 1945-2000.

Student can find photographs from their own family collections that show similarities in the experiences and living conditions of their family in the present, and African-Americans in Los Angeles of the past.

In a Life Cycles activity, students prepare diagrams of hopes and dreams for their own educations and careers.

2. Real and Imagined Biographies

Students put together albums of photographs, complete with captions and narrative descriptions.

Students compose scrapbooks of photographs from the collections, finding and/or creating artifacts such as ticket stubs, magazine articles, and other memorabilia to go along with the photographs.

Students design business cards for individuals in the photographs, together with brief narrative biographies.

Students take on the role of an individual in a given photograph, researching and preparing actual or fictitious biographies, perhaps using WikiPedia or similar articles as models.

3. That Was Then...This Is Now

Students employ such on-line tools as GoogleMaps or MapQuest to determine probably or exact locations of individual photographs, including streets, intersections, and landmarks.

Student investigate what the locations look like now, and how things have changed.

4. What Where They Thinking?

Students compose a daily diary or journal in the character of individuals from the photographs.

Student can compose extended dialogues, skits and mini-plays between historical figures.

In a long-term Historical Party project, students plan a party for a few guests, complete with a formal invitation, an annotated guest list, table seating arrangements, and questions, topics and talking points for each guest and table.

5. What Was Happening at The Time?

In a more traditional approach to teaching history, students source, contextualize and analyze photographs.

What was going on in Los Angeles, in California, the U.S., and/or in the world at the time? What was going on with African Americans in particular, and other Americans in general, at the time?

Students can create magazine covers and articles, newspaper or Internet news source stories, based on models from currently available sources.