Resources for Teachers


Under the Benjamin Center’s “Resources for Teachers” initiative teachers may access free, relevant and in-depth materials designed to be ready for use in their classes. Each unit is designed by expert teachers informed by the work of regional and international scholars. The Benjamin Center plans to continue this program, using select topics and data from its research as the basis for materials for teachers to enhance their instruction.

The Benjamin Center recognizes the value of research done at SUNY New Paltz that supports the work of interested teachers and others in the region and state.


Unit: Curriculum Development Project in India
View Materials

The Asian Studies Program at SUNY New Paltz conducted a curriculum development project in India under the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program in 2010. Twelve participants, including university faculty from SUNY New Paltz and the College of Mount Saint Vincent and secondary and high school teachers from area schools traveled to India in January 2010. The five K-12 teacher participants were from New Paltz Elementary School, New Paltz High School, Cornwall High School, Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School, and Westchester Arc. The program focused on the contemporary culture and society of India as well as its rich historical contributions.

Program Goals

  1. Increase knowledge and understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of India and its peoples through first-hand experience of life in India
  2. Expand capability for teaching about India and South Asia by incorporating material from the overseas phase into interdisciplinary South Asian courses at SUNY New Paltz and CMSV, and developing grade specific curricula for use by participants in the school districts in which they teach
  3. Promote cultural diversity and dissemination of knowledge of South Asia through local and national India-related events, seminars, workshops, and conferences

Unit: Henry Hudson
View Materials: Diversity and Tolerance in the American Colonies

In the fall of 2009 fourteen leading scholars from the United States and abroad presented original research at New Paltz on the early history of the Hudson Valley at a symposium celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river later given his name. Support for this celebratory conference was provided by New York State, through the offices of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, and by the Netherland American Foundation.

Laura Dull and Maryann Fallek of New Paltz drew upon the materials produced at this conference, including highly engaging original documents and illustrations, to produce a three-part Unit Plan for 7th grade Social Studies and Advanced Placement high school history classes that examines the degree of tolerance of diversity in early New York. (this plan may be used by teachers in its entirety or as stand-alone elements). In provocative and interesting ways, the unit addresses these questions:

  • What was the nature of relationships among Europeans, Native Americans and Africans in New Amsterdam and early New York, and when, how and why did this change?
  • How diverse were the early colonies?
  • How inclusive were they?
  • Where there was diversity, did it lead to tolerance or intolerance?

Unit: Opportunity for All
View Materials: Property Taxes and School Funding

Supreme Court Justice Liver Wendell Holmes once famously said: “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” Yet from the time of the Boston Tea Party to today’s tea party movement, how we pay for public services has been a source of passionate controversy in American life.

To fill a gap in materials available for taxation for use in high school economics and social studies courses, with support from the Lincoln Land Institute, Gerald Benjamin, Laura Dull and Maryann Fallek of New Paltz faculty collaborated with a group of teachers to develop a unit about the use of property taxes to fund public education.

From this unit high school students may learn about the issues and controversies surrounding the manner in which this tax is calculated, levied and collected. These are front burner public issues in contemporary New York.

Studying these issues engages students in the challenge of fairly balancing the need to provide quality education, and therefore opportunity, to the diversity of New Yorkers, against the burden that must be born to pay for this most important and essential local service.