High School Lesson Plans: History Frameworks

This collection of lesson plans is for California High School students, grades 9-12th.

Lessons

The Lavender Menace (Lesbian Feminist Movement)

Length: 50 minutes

This lesson covers the contributions of the Lavender Menace, or Lesbian Feminist movement, of the 1970s to the general Second Wave Feminist movement, as well as the limitations and downfalls of Lesbian Feminism.

Shifting Gender Roles in the US

This lesson seeks to explore how the industrial revolution changed perceptions of gender roles during the Victorian era. This lesson also seeks to have students observe changes and continuities over time in regards to gender roles in the United States.

The AIDS Epidemic (1 of 3): The Government’s Response

This lesson plan seeks to examine the ways in which the United States government ignored a disease that took thousands of American lives. It will debunk fallacies about HIV/AIDS and use the history of AIDS in the US to analyze how powerful activism can be.

The AIDS Epidemic (3 of 3): Community Healing – The National AIDS Memorial Grove

This lesson seeks to bridge students’ own experiences with mourning and healing to those of people affected by the AIDS crisis. It is vital that students understand the serious impact that the AIDS epidemic had and continues to have on lives. In the course of these three connected lesson plans, students will be mentally prepared to enter into the healing space of The Grove.

To what extent was the movement for LGBT rights part of the broader movement for Civil Rights?

In this lesson, teachers will contextualize the LGBT rights movement by answering the question introduced in the History-­Social Science Framework for California Public Schools: “How did various movements for equality build upon one another?” While activists fighting for LGBT rights utilized similar tactics and had some shared goals of those fighting for Civil Rights broadly, LGBT people in racial minority communities faced additional discrimination. Moreover, many fighting for broader Civil Rights did not consider sexual preference or gender identity as apart of their fight. In this lesson, students will explore historical perspectives to determine to what extent the movement for LGBT rights was or was not part of the broader movement for Civil Rights of the 1970s and 1980s. Students will read, annotate and categorize several primary sources to write a short essay describing and supporting their prospective with evidence from the texts.

Were the 1950s truly the “dark ages” for gay Americans as some historians have claimed?

Students will analyze 6 -10 (or more depending on the class) primary and secondary sources. These sources will serve as historical evidence for students as they determine their response to the inquiry question. After students read and annotate each source, they will then collaborate and create a DBQ Poster. The DBQ poster process requires students 1) to sort the sources into 2 or more categories, 2) to consider all historically relevant content and 3) construct a group thesis that directly answers the inquiry question.

Why and how did activists respond to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s?

In this lesson, students will engage in the historical context of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s exploring a timeline of major events and government responses to understand reasons for anger and unrest in the LGBT community. After establishing historical context, students will analyze activist responses looking specifically at different goals and methods used by the activist organization ACT-­UP/Los Angeles.

Through analyzing Audre Lorde’s essay on multiple identities and systems of oppression, how do power and privilege impact the relationships people have with each other as well as with institutions?

In this lesson, students will familiarize themselves with the concept of intersectionality — how intersecting identities and oppressions shape perspectives and experiences. Through the close reading and discussion of the article “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” featured in the influential book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, students will think critically about how multiple identities and systems of oppressions impact the relationships people have with each other as well as with institutions. Audre Lorde, Black lesbian poet and feminist writer, signed a contract with The Crossing Press on November 19, 1982 to publish her monumental book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Sister Outsideris celebrated as a historic piece of literature exploring the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, poverty, and politics.

How did the movement for LGBT equality go from assimilation to “coming out” in the 1950s-1970s?

In this lesson students learn about the divers perspectives and organizations that shaped the movement for LGBTQ equality from the 1950s through the 1970s. Students will participate in a simulation where they play the role of members of specific, historically significant organizations that emerged in the LGBT movement between 1950-1970s, trying to form a united coalition and make decisions about the big political questions of the day. Students will have to collaborate to write and present statements that represent their organization’s perspective in a political conference that will last 3 rounds. In each round they will discuss and debate a major event/topic in the historical LGBT movement. Then they will vote on proposals. Ostensibly, the group will try to reach consensus but the goal is greater understanding of the arguments, experiences and material conditions that shaped the movement.

This lesson aligns with LGBT history month and could be incorporated into a larger unit on the Civil Rights movement (understanding the mechanics of movement building, how oppressed groups achieved civil rights).

Students will be able to: analyze the historical context and major political ideas in the movement for LGBT right between 1950-­1975. Students will read, discuss and analyze primary and secondary source historical documents in small groups. Students will collaborate to write and orally present historical arguments in a simulated political conference.

Stonewall Riots

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a police raid of the Stonewall Inn exploded into a riot when patrons of the LGBT bar resisted arrest and clashed with police. The Stonewall Riots are widely considered to be the start of the LGBT rights movement in the United States. In this lesson, students analyze four documents to answer the question: What caused the Stonewall Riots?

Stonewall 50

This lesson plan explores the history of LGBTQ Liberation from 1959 – 1979, and is a companion to the exhibit “Stonewall 50: The Spark That Lit the Flame” from the Center on Colfax’s Colorado LGBTQ History Project. It includes primary sources and panels from the exhibit designed to weave together, in cooperative small-group learning, the narrative of Stonewall with the LGBTQ history of Denver. Students will use primary sources not widely available, and will understand the context leading up to Stonewall and the changes which occurred there after. From the Mattachine Society, the Black Cat Tavern and Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, to the Denver Gay Revolt, Harvey Milk, as well as a detailed timeline of the riots, and the diverse voices there-in. Your students will be among the first generation of Americans to know and tell these stories. Their words will shape the future and change the world. (Includes: Bibliography, Teacher Resources, Understanding By Design, Colorado Content Standards Aligned, Grades 8-12).

During this lesson students will answer a question open to historical debate “Why were the Stonewall riots the moment that sparked the LGBTQ Liberation Movement in American History?” Students will then be given panels from the Stonewall 50 history exhibit talking about the history of Stonewall: the events leading up to Stonewall, the events of the riots themselves, and the events and organizations that developed after the riots, such as the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) and Gay Liberation Front (GLF), as well as the first Denver LGBTQ pride event, and the National March on Washington for Gay & Lesbian Rights in 1979. Students will be given 15 minutes to read panels from the exhibit underlining the important names, dates and events. Students will then share what they learned. Students will then create their own posters outlining the events of the riots as a formative assessment.

How did Bayard Rustin’s identity shape his beliefs and actions?

In this lesson, students will examine primary sources to understand how Bayard Rustin’s identity shaped and influenced his actions as a Civil Rights leaders. They will participate in whole group discussions and small group work to deepen their knowledge on who Bayard Rustin is and how his identity as a gay man affected his life as an advocate. They will demonstrate their learning by writing an argumentative essay answering the inquiry question.

The Lavender Scare

How did the conditions of the Cold War lead to the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans?

How did Harvey Milk and the Briggs Initiative unite marginalized groups?

In this lesson, students will analyze the purpose of the Briggs Initiative (Prop 6), which was on the California general election ballot in 1978. The referendum sought to ban gays and lesbians, and potentially supporters of gays and lesbians, from working in California’s public schools. Then, students will evaluate voices of those opposed to the initiative by reading posters and flyers. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, was a key political figure that led the debate against people like Senator John Briggs and Anita Bryant. Additionally, the Briggs Initiative was challenged by other marginalized groups including African Americans, feminists, and unionists. Finally, students will conduct a close reading of Harvey Milk’s speech given after the defeat of the Briggs Initiative on June 25, 1978 at California’s Gay Freedom Day.

The lesson may take 90-­120 minutes depending on the reading level of students and the language support needed. To divide the lesson into two days, it is suggested that the close read be done on day 2.

How did The Ladder magazine provide lesbian women support in the 1950s?

Students will experience strategies that will help them analyze primary sources, examine and use literacy strategies that will help them access primary sources, engage in close reading and text-­based discussions in various settings including in pairs/groups and as a classroom and generate at least one writing task that is Common Core based.

Were the 1920s a time of cultural change?

In this lesson, students will learn about changes and continuities in the 1920s, particularly focused on cultural and social areas. Students will analyze primary and secondary sources that explore race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s.