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Units May 23, 2024

Curriculum of Community

Lesson Summary: Students collaborate to design critical inquiries into underreported and untold histories in their schools, communities, and families or personal lives. Downloads: Complete unit resources

This unit was created by The Trouble Maker Project, part of the 2021 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately 2 weeks, or ten 80-minute class periods.

Objectives & Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to analyze the central ideas and purpose of a text. 
  2. Students will be able to conduct research and evaluate sources. 
  3. Students will be able to engage in small group and whole group discussions about the legacies of enslaved people in local and national U.S. history. 
  4. Students will be able to produce narrative and/or informative podcasts to highlight and illustrate local history and stories.
  5. Students will be able to revise and edit their work for clarity and creativity.

Unit Overview

Restorying self through interviews: 

The purpose of the unit plan is to collaborate with students on designing critical inquiry into underreported and untold histories in their schools, communities, and families or personal lives. Through sustained dialogue, reflection, critical analysis and archival research students will collectively engage with mentor texts from The 1619 Project and design opportunities for critical reflection and inquiry on histories and present day movements on the topics of race/racism, immigration, and liberation in their own lives. 

Students are given a space to share their own stories as well as the stories of their families and communities. This unit takes place as part of a longer discussion on identity and community wealth that occurs in the electives for juniors and seniors at Trenton High. 

Students examine podcast episodes and other resources from The 1619 Project to spark discussions about underreported stories in our own community of Trenton. So much of what people hear about Trenton is either negative or rooted in past communities that have since moved out of Trenton, such as the Italian-American community in the Chambersburg section of the city. We invite our students to share their stories and the stories of their families and communities in order to paint a more nuanced, desire-based, comprehensive picture of the city of Trenton. 

During the first week of the unit, students will examine materials from The 1619 Project and discuss the importance of sharing underreported stories and histories. They will be interrogating the themes of self identity and place through the idea of Freedom Dreaming and by looking at the symbols of freedom in the United States, mainly the national flag. They will consider the ethnoracial and linguistic diversity of the United States, and of their home community specifically, in preparation for their work with college age mentors to interview local community members. During the second week of the unit, students will work on interviewing local community members and recording those oral community histories. By creating and sharing their own histories, students will develop their skills in writing, communicating, and presenting information.

Performance Task

The culminating project for this unit is a student-created oral history project. The students will explore local and archival materials that were created using the oral history method (e.g. Puerto Rican History Project) and explore underreported  stories in their own communities, families or personal lives. They will then use this information and their unit product guidance to create their final project. 


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