This is an in-depth and challenging assignment. Students will need to read, and demonstrate their understanding of, complex writings from key politicians during the Cold War. Assign half of the class to read the excerpts from Kennan's "Long Telegram" (a document likely mentioned in your textbook). The other half of the class is to read "Mutual Trust and Confidence" by Wallace (a speech likely not mentioned in your textbook). Kennan and Wallace have VASTLY different ideas for how to handle the Soviets. I've taken several hours to go through the primary source document to excerpt it to less than 4 pages so it'll be more accessible to students; be aware that it's still a challenging read. The challenge is worth it though, and this will push even your highest-achieving students to work hard!
I assess my students' ability to understand this material in a couple of ways. Firstly, I assign a set of "focus questions" that they must write out the answers for while they read (I collect these for an "effort grade" which I think of as harder than a completion grade but not as punishing as right/wrong grades).
Secondly, on the day that the reading is due, we discuss answers to the focus questions during class in the form of a debate. Students adopt the viewpoint of whichever person they read (Kennan or Wallace) and argue the merits of their suggestions. I also use this debate as a way to assess their comprehension based on the participation of students.
KEYWORDS: History; US History; World History; Cold War; USSR; Soviet Union; Kennan; Long Telegram; Primary Source; DBQs; Document Based Questions; Debate; Discussion