6th Grade History & Literature
Texts Used: The Century for Young People – Jennings & Brewster
Young People’s History of the United States –Zinn
Story of the World Vol. 4
Human Odyssey Vol. 3
Primary Sources: Great American Documents
I. Topic: Becoming Americans: Immigration, Labor Unions, Class Struggle, Women’s Suffrage
Themes: The Quest for Equality, Social Class & Social Change
The Century 1: Seeds of Change 1901-1914
YPH Ch 13 – Class Struggle
Great American Documents p. 138-140: The 19th Amendment
Witness to America Ch. 19 – The Rise of the City (read aloud)
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? – Jean Fritz
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom – Sue Macy
Shutting Out the Sky: Life and the Tenements of New York – Deborah Hopkinson
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor (Freedman
Immigrant Kids (Freedman)
All of a Kind Family – Sydney Taylor
Letters from Rifka – Karen Hesse
The Great Wheel - Lawson
The Hope Chest – Karen Schwabach women's suffrage
- Mama's Bank Account (Forbes)
The Earth Dragon Awakes (Yep) - 1906 San Francisco earthquake
Dragonwings (Yep) -- (gr. 7-9) turn-of-the-century Chinese immigrants to the US
Tales from Gold Mountain – Paul Yee
Newsies (1992) -- musical; exploited child newspaper sellers in turn-of-the-century NY go on strike
The Great Race (1962) -- very fun cross-continent auto race, with women's suffrage images/discussion along the way
Mary Poppins (1964) -- Mrs. Banks has "votes for women" song; also hints at subtly changing social roles
The Immigrant (1917) -- silent B&W Charlie Chaplin comedy
Writing Assignment (Choose 1):
· Choose one immigrant group, research their experience, and write a report (i.e. Irish, Italians, Chinese, etc.)
· Write a biographical sketch about one of the leaders of the Women’s suffrage movement (Lizzie Stanton)
II. Topic: The Arts before WWI
Theme: Cultural Change-Modernism
KHE p. 378-381
HO Vol 2 Pt 4 Ch 7 p. 627 – Culture Shocks: Questioning Reason & Reality
Major Figures/Works – read bios, watch docos on following artists/topics
Visual Arts: French Impressionists
Renoir by Renoir
Literature: Christina Rosetti, Scott, Verne, Dickens, Thackeray
Music: Schubert, Mendelssoh, Schumann, Chopin, Verdi, Brahms, Tchaikovsky. Stravinksy The Rite of Spring
Architecture: Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Skyscrapers
A Day of Pleasure (Singer) -- autobiographical sketches pre-WW1 Warsaw Jewish ghetto;
The Star of Kazan – Eve Ibbotson
Angel on the Square (Whelan) -- historical fiction; 1914 Russian empire crumbling
The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
Meet me in St. Louis
· Choose one artist to research and write a biographical sketch or a chronological narrative about their life and/or their work (Mary Cassatt)
III. Topic: Inventions & Exploration
Themes: Technological Development, The Expanding World
KHE p. 382-383
Marie Curie’s Search for Radium – Birch & Birmingham
The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane – Russell Freedman
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart – Candace Fleming
The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure –Sandler
Reaching the Summit: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Story – Alexa Johnston
Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly – Sue Macy
Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne (audio)
Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
Movies: Edison: The Invention of the Movies
The Endurance (2000) -- documentary; Shackleton and his crew's amazing 2-year survival shipwrecked at Antarctica in 1914-16
IV. Topic: World War I & The Russian Revolution
Themes: Total War, Social & Political Change
Read The Century Ch 2: Shell Shock 1914-1919
Read YPH Ch. 14 – WWI
SOTW Ch 20, 21, 23
GAD p 133: The Zimmerman Telegram
DK Eyewitness Book of World War 1 (Adams) -- non-fiction (gr. 5+)
Where Poppies Grow (Granfield) -- picture book, but great even up into middle school
In Flanders Fields (Granfield) -- picture book, but great even up into middle
The Good Master – Kate Saredy
The Singing Tree – Kate Saredy (this one has WW1 in it)
Movies: The African Queen
Sergeant York (1941) -- movie biography of the WW1 decorated hero
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) -- musical; life of George Cohen, from vaudville (1890s) to his famous WW1 song "Over There"
V. Topic: Art & Culture Between the Wars
Themes: Post-Modernism, The Lost Generation
The Century Ch. 3 – Boom to Bust 1920-1929
HO Vol 3 Pt 2 Ch 5 p. 119 - Terrible Uncertainty: Art and Belief After the War
GAD 141 – National Prohibition Act
The Stories of the Mona Lisa
Picture This Century – An Introduction to Twentieth-Century Art – Felicity Woolf
Pablo Picasso – Ernest Raboff
The Second Coming (1919) – William Butler Yeats
By the Waters of Babylon (1939) – Stephen Vincent Benet
Cheaper By the Dozen (Gilbraith) -- 1920s America big family
Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
Charlotte Sometimes – Penelope Farmer
Listening for Lions - Whelan
Thoroughly Modern Millie
The Maltese Falcon
Some Like It Hot
VI. The Great Depression
Themes: Social class; The Role of the State; The Quest for Equity
The Century 4 Stormy Weather 1929-1936
YPH 15 Hard Times 1919-1939
GAD 147 – Wall Street Crash
GAD 150 – Social Security Act
What’s The Economy For Ch. 10 p. 178-190
The Great Depression: 1921-1937 – Jane Bingham
Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl – Albert Marrin
Poetry of Langston Hughes (Let American Be America Again, I, Too, Am America)
The Grapes of Wrath – Steinbeck – Ch. 1 & 5 only (listen to audio)
Esperanza Rising – Pam Munoz Ryan (5.3)
Blue Willow – Doris Gates(6.5)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred Taylor (5.7)
Bud, Not Buddy – Christopher Paul Curtis(5.0)
Seabiscuit (2003) -- racehorse that gave hope in the midst of the Depression
Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
VII. Topic 7: World War II
1. How did the end of WWI and the events of the 20s and 30s lead to the conditions that allowed WW2 to happen? Read, Take Notes, and Discuss
· SOTW 23.1 – The Peace of Versailles
· SOTW 26.1 – Black Tuesday and the New Deal
2. Why did totalitarian & fascist governments arise in so many countries? Why was Hitler able to take power in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, and Stalin in Russia?
· SOTW 23.2 – The Rise of Joseph Stalin
· SOTW 24.2 – Fascism in Italy
· SOTW 26.2 – Hitler’s Rise to Power
· SOTW 27.2 – Rebuilding the Fatherland
· Essay: Compare and contrast the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin
· The Impossible Journey – Gloria Whelan – Read, Discuss, Write
3. Why did citizens of the 3rd Reich collaborate in the mistreatment and murder of their Jewish neighbors? How was it possible for something like the Holocaust to happen? How did people resist the Nazis?
· SOTW 28.2 – The Holocaust
· Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow – Susan Bartoletti (7.8)
· Number the Stars – Lois Lowry – read & discuss
· Watch Casablanca
· Discussion: Why did Germans support Hitler and the Nazis? How did other European nations react to conquest by the Nazis (France, Scandinavian countries, etc.)? Who resisted, and how?
4. What separate wars were going on prior to December of 1941? Who were the main antagonists in these wars? Why did the Japanese decide to attack Pearl Harbor? Read, take notes, and discuss
· SOTW 28.1 – The Three-War World
5. Why did the US treat its Japanese citizens the way it did? How was it justified at the time? What do we think about this today? Could something like this happen again?
· Farewell to Manzanar: A True story of Japanese American experience during and after the WWII internment (6.7)
· Essay: How did the US justify incarcerating Japanese citizens? Could anything like this happen again? Why or why not?
6. What was America’s contribution to the victory in WWII? Russia’s? The role of resistance in Asia and Europe?
· SOTW 29.1 The War the Stretched Across the World
· The Skeptic’s Guide to American History, Lecture 19 – WWII Misconceptions & Myths
· YPH 16 pt. 1 – WW2
· Burying the Sun (sequel to The Impossible Journey) – Read, Discuss, Write
· Essay: Choose a common misconception about WWII and discuss it.
7. Why did the US drop the atomic bomb on Japan? Do you think this decision was justified? Why or why not?
· SOTW 29.2 – The Atom Bomb
World War II: The Definitive Visual History (DK book)
World War II for Kids: A History with 21 Activities - Richard Panchyk (8.3)
Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories – Thomas B. Allen
Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American incarceration – Joanne Oppenheim (7.4)
World War II in the Pacific
The Sky is Falling – Kit Pearson (5.2)
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World – EL Koningsberg (5.7)
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers – Maria Augusta Trapp
VIII. Topic 8: The Cold War
1. What is Communism? Who was Joseph Stalin? What was life like in the USSR before, during, and immediately after WWII?
· 10,000 Days of Thunder p. 12-15: Communism
· Animal Farm & Related Readings p.100-113: The Rise & Fall of the Soviet Union
· Animal Farm – George Orwell. Read, Discuss and Write
· On Animal Farm- Christopher Hitchens
· Why I Write – George Orwell
2. How and why did the Cold War begin? What was Stalin’s primary concern at the end of WWII? What was the American’s primary concern at the end of WWII? How did these concerns put the US and USSR on a collision course?
· The Century Ch. 7: An Uneasy Peace 1946-1952
· HO 3.1: The Cold War Begins: Rebuilding among deepening divisions
· GAD 187 Marshall Plan
3. Why did the cold war not turn “hot” in Europe?
· YPH 16 pt 2 – The Cold War
· The Skeptics Guide to American History Lecture 20 – Was the Cold War Inevitable?
4. When and why did the Cold War come closest to becoming WWIII? What happened to avert this?
· HO 3.2: A World Divided and On the Brink
· The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
· Dr. Strangelove (1964)
· The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966)
· War Games (1983)
5. Why did the cold war turn hot in Asia and the Third World?
· HO 3.6 – Hot Spots in the Cold War
· 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War – Philip Caputo
· YPH 18 Vietnam (Read Together)
· Skeptics Guide Lecture 21: The Real Blunders of the Vietnam War
6. How did the Cold War end? Did someone “win”? Why or why not?
· HO 3.7: The Wall Comes Tumbling Down: The End of the Cold War
· When the Wall Came Down: The Berlin Wall and the Fall of Soviet Communism – Schmemann
· The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Cornerstones of Freedom: Vietnam War (Benoit) -- non-fiction (gr. 5-7)
Cornerstones of Freedom: The Story of the Saigon Airlift (Kent) -- non-fiction (gr. 5-7)
Cornerstones of Freedom: Story of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (Wright)
Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself – Judy Blume
The Pushcart War – Jean Merrill
IX. Topic 9: Civil Rights
Themes: The Quest for Equity, Cultural Change
1. What cultural and political changes in American society led to the Civil Rights Movement? What world events made it possible?
YPH 17 Black Revolt & Civil Rights (Read Together)
After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Non-Violent Resistance – Perry O’Brien
2. What were the approaches of different groups to acquiring civil rights? MLK, The Black Panthers, The Nation of Islam. Which were most effective? Why?
Rosa Parks: My Story – Rosa Parks
Why We Can’t Wait: Martin Luther King
Essay: Biographical Sketch of Rosa Parks or MLK
3. How did life change for blacks in America as a result of the Civil Rights movement? Did it change everywhere? Did the movement achieve its goals?
GAD 193 Exec Order desegregation
Cornerstones of Freedom: Brown vs. Board of Education – Peter Benoit
The Lions of Little Rock – Kristin Levine
Remember the Titans (2000) -- first black coach of a Southern college football team in 1970s
4. What is it like to be a minority today? What are other groups in American society who face discrimination today? What racist attitudes remain strong in American culture?
Iggie’s House – Judy Blume
Ellen Foster – Kaye Gibbons
X. American Culture in the last half of the 20th Century
Themes: Cultural Change, The Individual and the State
HO 3.3: Looking up and away: Scientific Advances in the Postwar Years
Century 8: Mass Markets 1953-1961
Century 9: Into the Streets 1961-1969
Century 10: Years of Doubt 1969-1981
YPH 19: Women’s Liberation, Student Rights, Indian Uprisings (60s & 70s)
YPH 20: Under Control?
YPH 21: Politics as Usual – Carter, the 80s, Desert Storm
YPH 22: Resistance – 1990s. Protests, anti nuke, social issues, war and antiwar
YPH 23 End of the 20th Century – Clinton (Read Together)
GAD 214 Warren Commission report – JFK’s assassination
GAD 218 – Moon Landing
GAD 221 – ABM Treaty
GAD 228 Paris Accords
GAD 235 Watergate
GAD 242 Camp David Accords
Essay Topics: Choose 1
1. Discuss the changing role of women in American society in your grandmother’s and mother’s lifetimes. How was it different to be a young woman growing up in the 50s & 60s vs. 80s & 90s?
2. What is the “post-Watergate cohort”? How and why did the events of the 60s and 70s change young American’s feelings about their government?
3. How and why has the gap between rich and poor in America grown since the 1980s? Discuss policies of Republicans (Reagan/Bush/Bush) and Democrats (Clinton/Obama) and how they characterized and addressed the issues of economic inequality in this country.
XI. Asia in the 20th Century
Themes: The Quest for Equity; Anticolonialism & Nationalism
SOTW 22.2, 25, 30.1, 32.2, 33, 39.1, 41.1
Dancing to Freedom: The True Story of Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cunxin
The Land I Lost - Huynh
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze – Elizabeth Lewis Own – didn’t finish
Movie: Ohayo/Good Morning
The Seven Samauri
Cave of the Yellow Dog (2005) -- follows an modern-day Mongolian nomad family
Essay Topic: Chronological Narrative of 20th Century Asian History
XII. Africa in the 20th Century
Themes: The Quest for Equity; Anticolonialism & Nationalism
SOTW 32.1, 34.2, 42.2
Bio of Nelson Mandela
Journey to Jo’burg – Beverley Naidoo
A Long Walk to Water – Linda Sue Park
XIII. The Muslim World/The Middle East in the 20th Century
Themes: The Quest for Equity; Anticolonialism & Nationalism
HO 3.5: Conflict in the Middle east
SOTW 24.1, 30.2, 31.1, 37.2, 39.2, 42.1
Essay Topic: Chronological Narrative of historical events in the Middle East in the 20th Century
XIV. Topic: The Wars at the End of the 20th Century
Themes: Terrorism; Nation-building; Empire in a Post-Colonial World
HO 3.8 – Terrorism: The New Threat
YPH 24 War on Terror (Read Together)
GAD 248 Message Board, 9/11
YPH 25 Iraq War (Read Together), the modern anti-war movement
Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives – Albert Marrin
Heroes of the Environment – Harriet Roehmer
XV. The World Today and Tomorrow
HO 3.9: An Electronically Charged Information Revolution
HO 3.10: Ongoing Democratic Revolutions
YPH 26 Rise Like Lions (Read Together)
The Giver – Lois Lowry – Garlic Press Lit Guide (and sequels)
The Lottery – Shirley Jackson (read together)
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (read together)
The City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau (and sequels)
Among the Hidden – Haddix (and sequels)
Literary Analysis Assignments
When you finish a novel, let me know. We’ll discuss it. For each topic you will choose at least one book to write about, and you can choose any one of the following assignments (choose a different assignment for each topic/book, please).
1. Book summary: summarize each day’s reading, then write an introduction, conclusion, analysis, and connecting words/phrases/paragraphs so you have a nice synopsis and analysis of the book.
2. Write out a short screenplay for one of the scenes in the book. Include set notations, acting instructions (like “He inquires pensively with a furrowed brow while looking stage right.”).
3. Pretend to be one of the characters and write a journal as that person experiencing the events of the book.
4. Describe each of the main characters:
—What he/she looks like
—What his/her moral framework is in the book
—What he/she contributes to the plot
—Why you admire him/her or not
5. Describe the setting and its importance to the story. (Time, place, mood)
6. Examine the author's purpose in writing the book. What was his or her motivation (sharing a personal experience, to send a message, to give information--combination of the three)?
7. Write an alternate ending to this story.
8. Fictionalize the story (if non-fiction) or, if it is fiction, write it as a newspaper article (as though it happened).
9. Make a book jacket for this book—design a cover, then write a story summary on the front inside flap, then write an author bio blurb on the inside back flap and finally write some "pretend" reviews on the back of the cover. Don't forget the title, author and publisher on the spine of the book.
10. Compare & Contrast two of your books that are similar in content or similar in time period—describing related events—like two books from the Great Depression period or the Civil Rights era, or biographies of two different people you’ve studied.
11. Write a poem that summarizes the themes or that expresses the feelings of a character from the book.
12. Write a letter to or from one of the characters in the book.
13. Pretend you are the author of the book. Write a short article explaining why you wrote it, what your intentions were and what you hoped the reader would do after reading this story.
14. Imagine you are the main character—tell what you thought of the other characters in the story and why.
15. Write ten well-crafted questions that you would ask a reader of this book to test his comprehension.
16. Identify one or two of the Literary Terms we have studied in Figuratively Speaking, and provide quotes from the book illustrating how the author used these literary elements in the book