Law and Society in Modern America
When people think of students, the first image in most people's minds is of children in a traditional public or private school setting. However, there are thousands more students in need of teaching—students in juvenile halls, court schools, and many other alternative settings. The U.S. Department of Education rewarded the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the National Center for History in the Schools a grant to bring stronger 20th-century U.S. history teaching to these underserved populations.
Educators gathered to create attention-grabbing lessons for the short time periods available in many alternative education settings. To do so, they participated in scholar lectures, and visited a variety of historic sites.
The resulting lessons are also specifically designed to be accessible for students with difficulty reading and English language learners.
Perhaps the most far-reaching aspect of the grant project is the inclusion of curriculum materials on their website. California or local residency is not required in order to make use of the resources, which include overviews of historic sites, video tours and presentations from said sites, related scholar lecture videos, handouts and primary sources for use in the classroom, relevant images, and links to web resources. The larger topics covered include Pullman Village, industrialization in the South, immigration, and civil rights.
The Teacher Toolbox includes PDF and Word files concerning best practices—vocabulary building, reading assistance strategies, assessment design, graphic organization, and how to instigate background knowledge recall. These can be applied to all of the lessons available on the website, as well as to teaching strategy in general.
The site is currently under development. As a result, the available resources vary widely from topic to topic. Additional resources are being added as they are made ready. Planned topics and time periods not yet covered on the site include Cesar Chavez, the Cold War, 1929-1945, and 1968-present.