Day 8: Introduction to Collective Remembering

Lesson 8 extends our thinking from the previous lesson on personal memories from different perspectives in order to build up an understanding of collective memory. The coolest part: your students themselves will be immersed in collective remembering as they watch the video about a staged theft.

Goal: for everyone to gain an understanding and appreciation for how memory is shared in groups.


  • This class’s discussion is a lot more free-form, so be sure to modify your questions in order to guide the discussion to a concrete understanding of collective remembrance. Especially for younger students, make things tangible with your own experiences.
  • For the drawing activity, be sure to provide enough structure for your students, depending on their age, so that they can successfully engage with the assignment.

Please include suggestions, questions, and comments below:

Day 9: Trauma and Healing

Today’s class is really awesome! I struggled to make it work in a virtual format, but I think it will be really successful in a physical classroom. It is a station-based lesson where students explore examples of different media through which communities remember traumatic memories. I wanted to bring in different performances of remembrance like eulogies, memorials, artwork, and apologies, though you should feel empowered to change those as you see fit. Have fun!

Goal: for everyone to gain an appreciation for how groups collectively remember traumatic memories.


  • Since some of the material is really heavy and might evoke sad feelings/memories in students, I would recommend making a statement at the beginning of class that recognizes that and holds space for those feelings. I would also suggest that you give students the option to talk to you or step out of the room at any time if they are feeling strongly.

Day 10: Memory and History

Today’s lesson is a unique investigation into the practice of history – how do we know what happened in the past? Whose accounts do we believe/privilege? What is the relationship between history and memory? Students will complete an activity that directly compares different textbooks, examining them as primary sources that point to different historical narratives. This will also set up tomorrow’s class on controversy in history.

Goal: for everyone to gain an understanding of how history is written.


  • Following the textbook activity, the class discussion remains really free-form. You may want to have a socratic-style seminar where students lead the discussion and talk about their critical examinations of historical narratives. You may choose to lead a more structured discussion about the role of power in controlling popular/public knowledge. It may also be really amazing to talk about the current climate of local activists and researchers identifying and sharing long-repressed historical narratives.

Day 11: History and Controversy

This lesson was originally designed around students being able to explore the 1619 Project website on their own before a class-wide discussion. But since NYT is the worst, I had to troubleshoot on the spot. As you look over this lesson plan, you may choose to scrap the lesson entirely since it covers controversial topics. If you do choose to do the lesson, you should think about how you want to redesign the first half of the lesson. Do you want to do stations where students read either excerpts from the 1619 Project or the 1776 Commission? Do you want them to read an article about CRT arguments in a local school district? Alternatively, perhaps it would be best to spend the first half of class having students learn about something they have never been taught before, something erased from the historical narrative (ex. the Tuskegee Syphilis Studies). Whatever you decide, please don’t put your job/livelihood at risk, especially if you are working in an educational space.

Goal: to gain a vocabulary to describe current historical controversies.

Day 13: Sites of Memory

One of my favorite things about memories is how they can attach themselves to physical places and objects. Today’s class is all about understanding that phenomenon through reading Levi Romero’s “Woodstove of My Childhood”.

Goal: to understand how memory attaches to objects and places.


  • Your students may need some additional support throughout this lesson, because they are learning a new language to describe how memory attaches itself to objects/spaces and because they are combining these ideas with collective memory. This is a big jump, though it may not feel like it. So, be sure to give more thorough explanations and lots of examples from your own personal life if you sense they need additional guidance.

Day 14: Good (and Bad) Memorials

Get ready for an exciting and fun class! Today, students take on the role of judges as they not only investigate how memorials express collective memories, but also determine what makes a memorial good or bad.

Goals: to start exploring memorials and the memories they communicate.


  • Students may need some help in their small groups as they discuss the criteria for what makes a good memorial. Be sure to be moving around the classroom to help as needed.
  • During the judging panel, consider whether you want to share the context for each memorial before students vote, after they vote, or not at all. I would recommend sharing before so that students understand both the message and aesthetics of each memorial, but it is totally up to you!
  • I would recommend introducing the final project to your students at least a day or two earlier so that they have more time to think about what event or movement they want to commemorate with a memorial. In regard to the nature of the final project itself, I have many notes/suggestions about how to make it most meaningful for your students. Read about them here.

Day 19: Conclusions

I still remember this being a really emotional last class. Even though everything was over Zoom, I felt so connected with my students. I also felt like I poured my soul into this course. Memory really touches every facet of our lives and it’s difficult to try to wrap everything that this course is and means into a 5-minute conclusion. In my mind, the best way to spend this last class together is to share our projects and to reflect on what we’ve learned.

Goal: to share final projects and conclude our class together.


  • Think about the format through which you want students to share their projects – in front of small groups or the whole class, how will classmates engage with presentations?
  • Consider writing students individual notes thanking them for their contributions to the class community and praising their achievement + growth over the course.
  • Think about how you want to conclude the course? What do you want students to remember from this experience?

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome, as are your experiences – what did teaching this course mean to you? What did your last day feel like?

You’ve made it to the end. Please email me if you taught through this class, I want to hear from you: