Primary Source Teams Up With AFS Intercultural Programs to Produce WWI Curriculum

4 March 2016


Image of curriculum website homepage featuring A. Piatt Andrew and Stephen Galatti at the American Field Service headquarters in Paris, France in 1917. Photograph by H.C. Ellis. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

Great news for educators! Long in the making, The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919 is a curriculum now available for secondary school classrooms worldwide. The six lesson plans examine the volunteer service of American men and women during World War I and its legacies. Commissioned by AFS Intercultural Programs in honor of its own centennial and that of the war, Primary Source program directors Susan Zeiger, PhD and Ann Marie Gleeson, PhD developed the lessons in partnership with an international committee of advisors and AFS archivist Nicole Milano. “These lessons represent a unique perspective on the war, emphasizing the significance of volunteerism for global citizenship, past and present, and the role that young people can play in local, national and international service,” explains Susan.

Open-source and fully-accessible for classrooms around the world, the lessons engage critical thinking and rigorous historical analysis, with a focus on the utilization of digitized primary source documents, many made available here for the first time.

Teachers from the Primary Source educator community made creative contributions to the curriculum, including a lesson on humanitarian aid by history teacher Kristen Borges of the Hamilton-Wenham Schools, focused on Herbert Hoover and hunger relief, and one on "lost generation" artists and writers who were wartime volunteers—Gertrude Stein and E.E. Cummings among others—by Boston Public Schools English teacher Karen Aylward. 

AFS Launch Party in NYCOn March 2nd, Susan traveled to New York City for the official launch party at Flanders House, where she was thrilled to meet Margaret Hoover, great-granddaughter of the president. Hoover, a writer and social commentator, praised the new curriculum. “When I went to school, I learned my great grandfather was responsible for starting the Great Depression! If this curriculum had been available, all of us would have learned a more nuanced story about his legacy and the vital work of many volunteers,” she commented. The curriculum has received official endorsement by the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

Visit The Volunteers website and download the curriculum today.

Image: Primary Source program director Dr. Susan Zeiger (center) with Dr. Vincenzo Morlini (L), president and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs, and Nicole Milano (R), head archivist for AFS Intercultural Programs and the American Field Service, in New York City.



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