From the editors: As we approach the beginning of a new academic year, Not Even Past is delighted to introduce an important new resource for the teaching of History. Learning from US History: A Fifth Grade Social Studies Curriculum was designed and developed by two UT Professors, Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Jennifer Keys Adair, and a doctoral student: Erin Green, MA.
This fifth grade U.S. history curriculum is built upon primary sources and is an alternative to textbooks that are often one-sided or politicized. This curriculum is one example of how historians and educators can work together to de-center a singular perspective and to offer elementary social studies with greater historical accuracy. This is a work-in-progress curriculum that will change as new primary sources emerge and historical interpretations shift.
The full curriculum can be accessed here.
Unit One: Native American and Indigenous Conceptions and Care for the Land now known as the United States of America (4 Weeks)
Unit Two: Native American Nation/Community Research Project (2 Weeks)
Unit Three: Freedom in Central and West Africa and the entrance of White Supremacy (2 Weeks)
Unit Four: American Colonies Past and Present (2 weeks)
Unit Five: The Transatlantic Slave Trade (3 weeks)
Unit Six: The American Revolution (3 weeks)
Unit Seven: The Constitution (3 weeks)
Unit Eight: Resistance to Enslavement (3 weeks)
Unit Nine: The Civil War (3 weeks)
Unit Ten: Moving People and Shifting Boundaries (5 weeks)
Unit Eleven: Im/migration (4 Weeks)
Special Unit: Elections (1 week)
Special Unit: Thanksgiving
Lesson Plan Example
Daina Ramey Berry, PhD • Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor • Chair, Department of History (UT Austin). Professor Berry is one of the most sought-after speakers and consultants for public-facing projects offered by museums, historical sites, K-12 educational initiatives, news media, and television including NBC, PBS News Hour, NPR, New York Times and The Atlantic. She has authored many award-winning books including, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh (Beacon, 2017) and A Black Women’s History of the United States co-authored with Kali Nicole Gross (Beacon, 2020).
Jennifer Keys Adair, PhD • Assoc. Prof. of Curriculum and Instruction • Director, AYCRC (UT Austin). Dr. Adair’s teaching and research is focused on improving children’s learning experiences at school. Her work has been published and cited in a wide range of journals including Harvard Educational Review and Teachers College Record as well as 40+ media outlets including NPR, Washington Post and CNN. She is the co-author with Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove of Segregation by Experience: Agency, Racism and Early Learning (University of Chicago Press, 2021).
Erin Green, M.A. • Erin Green is a doctoral researcher in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on Social Studies Education. Her growing research interests include critical elementary social studies, critical literacy, and civic education. She is a former fifth grade teacher and is passionate about critical, anti-racist social studies education for young learners.
The views and opinions expressed in this article or video are those of the individual author(s) or presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect the policy or views of the editors at Not Even Past, the UT Department of History, the University of Texas at Austin, or the UT System Board of Regents. Not Even Past is an online public history magazine rather than a peer-reviewed academic journal. While we make efforts to ensure that factual information in articles was obtained from reliable sources, Not Even Past is not responsible for any errors or omissions.