It works for me

Great Irish famine

Recommended by Doris Meyer, world culture teacher at PS 158, Manhattan

Since March is Irish Heritage Month, I’d like to recommend the New York State- mandated K-12 curriculum on the “Great Irish Famine,” available online at This is a brilliant document created by teachers working with Hofstra University professors Maureen Murphy and Alan Singer.

It not only addresses the history of hunger in Ireland and Irish immigration, but also leads students to better understand hunger in a global context and become more aware of the stories immigrants from many nations have to tell today.

The lessons cover every subject area: language arts, social studies, math and science, and they include an aim, motivation, standards, resources and hand-outs — everything a teacher needs to carry out a lesson.

With a little creativity, even young students can get involved. One year I worked with our musical artist-in-residence, Gabriel Donohue, to have 4th-graders create a song based on our studies about Ireland. The kids wrote lyrics using the facts they learned. Then the class got to sing the song to the president of Ireland during her visit to New York!

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