1st Edition

Exploring America in the 1950s Beneath the Formica (Grades 6-8)

By Molly Sandling, Kimberley Chandler Copyright 2014
    124 Pages
    by Prufrock Press

    Exploring America in the 1950s: Beneath the Formica is an interdisciplinary humanities unit that looks at literature, art, and music of the 1950s to provide an understanding of how those living through the decade experienced and felt about the world around them. Through the lens of "identity," it explores life in America and the myriad groups that coexisted in harmony and, often, with friction. Cultural icons like Elvis and the Beat poets are examined alongside larger issues such as the Cold War, conformity, and Civil Rights struggles. The unit uses field-tested instructional strategies for language arts and social studies from The College of William and Mary, as well as new strategies, and it includes graphic organizers and other tools for analyzing primary sources. It can be used to complement a social studies or language arts curriculum or as standalone material in a gifted program.

    Grades 6-8

    Acknowledgements Unit Overview Implementation Guide Lesson 1: From World War to Cold War Lesson 2: Robots and Martians Lesson 3: The Red Scare and McCarthyism Lesson 4: Soda Fountains and Levittowns Lesson 5: Civil Rights in the 1950s Lesson 6: Elvis Presley Lesson 7: The Beat Generation Lesson 8: Abstract Expressionism Lesson 9: The Day the Music Died Lesson 10: Evaluating the 1950s References Appendices Appendix A: Unit Glossary Appendix B: Teacher’s Guide to Art Content: Abstract Expressionism About the Authors Common Core State Standards Alignment


    Molly Sandling is a teacher at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, VA. She completed her master's degree in history at Yale University and her master's degree in education at The College of William and Mary. She has written social studies units on various decades in United States history, one of which she received an NAGC Curriculum Award for in 2012.

    Dr. Kimberley Chandler is the Curriculum Director at the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary. She completed her master's degree in gifted education and her Ph.D. in educational policy, planning, and leadership, with an emphasis in gifted education administration, at William and Mary. While in the master's degree program, she wrote the language arts unit Literary Reflections and received the A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Scholarship from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). During her doctoral program, she was a participant in the David L. Clark Graduate Student Research Seminar in Educational Administration and Policy, sponsored by the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). She also received the NAGC Outstanding Doctoral Student Award and the NAGC Hollingworth Research Award.Kimberley's professional background includes teaching gifted students in a variety of settings, serving as an administrator of a school district gifted program, and providing professional development training for teachers and administrators nationally and internationally. She has also served as an adjunct instructor for gifted education endorsement courses for the University of Virginia, the College of Charleston, Casenex, Inc., and The College of William and Mary. Kimberley is the Network Representative on the NAGC Board of Directors, past chair of the NAGC Early Childhood Network and past co-chair of the NAGC Education Committee, Member-at-Large Representative and Membership Chair for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent (ROGCT) Special Interest Group, Newsletter Editor for the CEC-TAG Board of Directors, board member of the Virginia Association for the Gifted (VAG), and USA Representative to the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC). Her research interests include curriculum implementation and policy issues in gifted education and the design and evaluation of professional development programs for teachers of the gifted.Recently, she coauthored a book for Prufrock Press with Dr. Tamra Stambaugh: Effective Curriculum for Underserved Gifted Students. She has also served as the editor for publications from the Center for Gifted Education that are distributed by Prufrock.