DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


Lesson Plan


Date: 11/22/11

Alla Chelukhova

Unit 3, Lesson 9

Lesson Topic: The White Sea Canal.

Lesson’s Essential Question: How do we find truth in history?




1. Culture.

2. People, places, environments.

3. Individual development and identity.

4. Power, authority, and governance.

5. Civic ideas and practices.




Objectives Your objectives should be measureable, contain an observable verb, and be written in student-friendly language. 

Students will know or be able to:


  1. Students will be able to analyze conflicting primary sources.
  2. Students will be able to analyze a secondary source.
  3. Students will be able to compare different approaches.

Mechanism of assessment for measuring each objective:


  1. Students will present an excerpt from The White Sea Canal.
  2. Students will present a modern article on the White Sea Canal.
  3. Students will attempt to create a true story of the White Sea Canal.

Instructional methods used



Look at your “Teaching Methods to Try” list and choose methods that will best help you reach your objectives.



Methods of evaluation: After teaching, reflect on how well each method worked and what you would do to refine or build on each method.










materials and


Folders, paper, pencils, handouts of entrance and exit tickets




Evidence of differentiation

Based on your assessment of student learning, what are you going to do to accommodate the range of needs in your classroom?

  • Students will write in their journals.
  • Students will use pennies to participate in a moderated discussion.
  • Students will work independently and as a class.

Lesson Agenda


What will you be doing?

What will the students be doing?


7:57-8:00 Alla takes attendance. 

8:00-8:05 Students are divided into two groups.

  • Students are asked to read and annotate their handouts.
  • Alla tells the students that two from each group will be asked to present their side to the class.

8:05-8:15 Students read their handouts.

8:15-8:25 Alla calls on two students to present the first reading to the class.

  • The rest of the class take notes.

8:25-8:35 Alla calls on two students to present the second reading to the class.

  • The rest of the class take notes.

8:35-8:47 What is truth?

  • What is truth in history?
  • Was the primary source true?
  • Was the secondary source true?
  • How can an historian discover truth?
  • What were the authors motivated by?


7:57-8:00 Students settle down.

8:00-8:05 Students are divided into two groups.

  • One group receives a short reading from The White Sea Canal, a propaganda primary source.
  • The second group receives a Wikipedia article.
  • Students are asked to read their materials and annotate them.

8:05-8:15 Students read independently.

8:15-8:25 Two students present the key points of the first reading to the class.

8:25-8:35 Two students present the key points of the second reading to the class.

8:35-8:47 Students participate in a monitored discussion.

  • Talking bunny OR
  • A penny for your thoughts.











I believe it was a successful lesson and I feel well-prepared both to engage students in a similar activity in the future and to use the same reading excerpts.


I have noticed from my past teaching experience that reading something in class as a group creates an invaluable instance of momentum, when the students find themselves on the shared level of cognitive and emotional engagement.  Asking the students to read a highly biased piece of Soviet propaganda created this sense of momentum.  The discussion that followed the reading demonstrated the level of critical thought I hoped for: the reading was appalling and it inspired vocal feedback as students were trying to separate truth from brain-washing.


What made the discussion student-centered rather than teacher-directed was the fact that only half of the class read the propaganda piece; the other half read an article I found on the Internet, which talked about the same historical event but from an objective American point of view.  The exciting part of learning occurred when the students realized that the on-line source referenced the propaganda piece the second group was so upset about: the students began making connections and evaluating historical data.  If part of knowledge transfer is retention of what has been learned, the lesson succeeded in this regard.  On the last day of class, students made parallels between what they learned about Germany and the White-Sea Canal atrocities of the Soviet Union.


I also believe that my being Russian made our reading about dark Soviet past more real to the students.  In the past, I had been reluctant to spend too much attention on the Soviet history in a survey class like the Contemporary World Issues I taught at Lincoln.  I did not want the students to think that I played historical favorites.  However, I now see much benefit in sharing my personal culture through history.  History comes to live when the students can relate to it, and  a personal connection with history is one way of relating.  I saw connections when I asked the students to interview their family members about how the Great Depression had affected their families, and I saw connections when I was teaching Lesson 9 of Unit 3.



DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.