January 14, 2024

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Teach Your Students about the Roaring 1920s

It’s hard to believe that the 1920s were a hundred years ago. January 17, 1920, marked the start of prohibition in the United States, but this decade also brought us the dancing of the flappers; the music genres of jazz, blues, ragtime, and swing; the poetry of Langston Hughes (and others); and many cultural events. This week, we’re sharing ten resources that will help you introduce your students to this unique time in history. 

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Grades 6-8

Langston Hughes: Artist and Historian

Discover this lesson plan that highlights the life and times of poet Langston Hughes. The lesson introduces students to the Harlem Renaissance and the role Hughes’s poetry played in capturing the African American experience during this period.

Grades 9-12

Prohibition and Temperance

Explore this straightforward site related to prohibition that includes links, related political cartoons, information about the Women's Crusade Against Alcohol and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and contemporary opinion pieces.

Grades 8-12

American Experience

Check out this PBS documentary site that features stories about influential and exciting experiences in American history. Click in the search box and search "the 1920s” for relevant films, feature articles, videos, and more.

Grades 6-12

Ma Rainey

Read this article to learn about Ma Rainey, the "Mother of the Blues." She influenced three generations of artists, including Langston Hughes, Bessie Smith, and Alice Walker. Click the links in the text for more details.

Grades 4-12

Interactive: Roots of Jazz

This interactive explores the various places where jazz music came of age. Learn about the early sound of jazz and how it took root and spread throughout the nation and world. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find additional articles and information.

Grades 6-12

Ken Burns in the Classroom

Scroll down the main page to browse by era and find primary sources, images, videos, and more related to the 1920s. Each collection includes correlations to state and national standards, support materials, discussion questions, and classroom activities.

Grades K-12

Perfect Blues:1920s, 30s and 40s Vintage Blues; Duke Ellington; Leadbelly (Past Perfect)

Do you need help finding sites that feature Blues music? Listen to handpicked classics and popular Blues sounds of the 1920s on this YouTube playlist. Hear the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jelly Roll Morton, and Joe Venuti.

Grades 4-12

Take Me Back To

See what the world was like in the 1920s with Take Me Back To. Type in the date you want to visit, then read a short text passage about who the president was and what music was popular and see samples of movies, magazines, advertisements, and more.

Grades 8-12

Charles Lindbergh

Fans of the famous pilot will find this site has almost everything ever recorded about the aviator and his journeys. Try this site as an add-on to a unit on the 1920s, an examination of the history of flight, or a unit on famous explorers or Americans.

Grades 3-5

Dancing Minds and Shouting Smiles

Introduce your elementary students to the works of Emily Dickinson, William Blake, and Langston Hughes with this lesson plan that introduces students to figurative language and encourages them to create their own poetry using personification.

This Week at TeachersFirst

Join us this Tuesday for our first free OK2Ask virtual workshop of the winter season. We’re also sharing a related blog post and a collection of resources to use as you recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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Tuesday, 1/16, 7 PM ET

OK2Ask: Save Time, Enhance Learning, and Maximize Resources with TeachersFirst

Spend less time searching and more time teaching with TeachersFirst.org! This workshop will empower educators by introducing them to the site's thousands of original and curated classroom resources—all reviewed and rated by real teachers.

Discover time-saving strategies for finding top-rated teaching resources »

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Infusing Technology Blog

Let’s Talk About: Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was a changemaker during the 1920s and beyond. Her work during this decade focused on older elementary students and adolescents. This blog post shares five groundbreaking ideas introduced by Maria Montessori.

Read all about the life and influence of Maria Montessori »

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Share his legacy with your students

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week, we recognize the powerful impact of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior. Skim through these resources to find valuable stories, interactives, lesson plans, and websites to share with your class.

Celebrate the man with a dream »

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TeachersFirst is a collection of curated, classroom-ready content and ideas — including teacher-authored reviews of thousands of web resources. Built-in guidance from seasoned professionals makes effective classroom technology use trouble-free. TeachersFirst is made available free to K12 teachers by The Source for Learning, Inc., a nonprofit that has been providing educational resources for more than 40 years.