“Who Was Toussaint L’ouverture?” is a history lab investigating the Haitian revolutionary leader. Students critically read primary sources about Toussaint L’ouverture and construct a profile that characterizes him. The different primary sources are at different reading levels. Teachers can differentiate the assignment by assigning particular sources to particular students. I presented the lesson at the MCSS 2013 Conference. The session included a discussion of history labs as critical tools for teaching historical thinking. I have since slightly modified the lesson and posted it here.
- Handouts (hyperlinks to descriptions on The Louverture Project)
- Toussaint L’Ouverture Lesson Plan
- Toussaint sources (four core sources for the lesson, plus two poems for extension)
- Toussaint Constitution (extra source for the lesson, use as enrichment)
Presentation setting the context of the Haitian Revolution, for use in class with students.
While developing this project I created a graphic organizer– Haitian Revolution GO–to strengthen my grip on the events. Most of the primary source material in this lesson came from the The L’Ouverture Project, an excellent resource for understanding the Haitian Revolution. I compiled more bookmarks of resources useful for understanding the Haitian Revolution on a Diigo list (UPDATE: now an Outliner).
“Who was Toussaint L’Ouverture?” would also work well in an online class. I presented such a lesson on a blog for an E-Learning course in 2012. While the bulk of the research went into this online project, I simultaneously developed a traditional lesson for my face to face Global Studies classes.
All of this work is pursuant to my interest in constructivist history pedagogy. “Uncovering History” was a phrase used by Lendohl Calder in an article in the Journal of American History in which he called for historical investigations, aka “history labs”, to become the centerpiece of US History survey classes. I have curated resources on this topic on another Diigo list. This lesson is an attempt to incorporate the history lab model into World History. The Stanford History Education Group is an excellent resource for teachers looking for ready-to-use lessons in which students uncover history. Their website has over 70 US History lessons, and more than 40 World History lessons. During the summer of 2011 I read Bruce Lesh’s Why Won’t You Just Tell us the Answers. Lesh teaches high school history in suburban Baltimore. I enjoyed the book and continue to draw on his methods of uncovering history, including for this lesson.