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My current assignment is teaching Language Arts and Social Studies to fifth and sixth grade students who are in the academically lower division. Their problems range from low academic performance, specific learning disabilities, emotional problems and language deficits.
As the classroom teacher my task is to motivate these students and to provide constructive learning experiences to meet their needs. In today’s society all educators are in competition with advanced scientific and technological devices that control the rudimentary learning process.
For the purposes of this curriculum unit, I will develop a program specifically for these students in order to develop their reading, language, writing, listening and thinking skills. By utilizing an interdisciplinary approach and providing written, verbal, visual and manipulative materials students will gain an understanding of the learning process via numerous learning modalities. The design would be to correlate the Social Studies and Language Arts classes so that students will have an understanding and appreciation of the history and literature from 1945 to the present. Students will have an understanding of the different racial and ethnic groups in our society, as well as the different family structures and customs. It is anticipated that students will gain an understanding of themselves, their families and the different groups of people that live in America.
I am a firm believer that with the proper portions of (1) understanding the learning process and (2) utilization of modern scientific and technological instruments, we can provide effective and constructive learning experiences for our students. A balanced diet of understanding the learning process and utilizing advanced scientific and technological devices will develop students’ understanding and appreciation of the era we live in. It will help them endure the challenges and defeats they will experience in life.
By utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, I will assist students through the learning process giving them an appreciation of their heritage as well as an understanding of the scientific and technological advancements in society.
The learning process is highly affected by the family and the home environment that our students come from. Students come from many different family structures, ethnic and racial backgrounds which have a direct influence on the learning process and their performance. If students are given the opportunity to understand themselves and their families, they will appreciate the likenesses and differences between themselves and their peers—then the learning process becomes a socially and emotionally sound program. It is an effective means of educating students to become functional and productive citizens in our society.
This curriculum unit is predicated on the fact that students must be given opportunities to explore, to think and to initiate selfdirected activities, in order for the learning process to become a vital and influential experience in their lives. They should gain an understanding and appreciation of who they are, their heritage, and their place in society. Students will be given opportunities to read, write and think strategically and critically, in addition to opportunities to utilize the scientific and technological advancements that are part of the society they live in.
1. To develop an understanding of different racial and ethnic groups in our society. 2. To develop an understanding of different family cultures and heritage. 3. To develop an appreciation of literature as a vehicle for understanding the period in history from 1945 to the present.
1. To gain an understanding of the historical, scientific and technological events from 1945 to the present. 2. To provide students with good writing dynamics (grammar, punctuation, capitalization). 3. To develop reading comprehension skills (literal, interpretive and evaluative). 4. To develop research and study skills.
Through the reading and understanding of these literary materials students will be able to understand and appreciate how the values, attitudes and lifestyles of families have changed over the years, and the effects that advancements in science and technology have had on the attitudes of the family today.
Students will be introduced to important political, social, economic, scientific and technological events.
Objective: To provide students with an historical overview of the time period 1945 to present. They will read and discuss an illustrated text, 19451981—America Today by Naunerle Farr. This text was designed to provide high interest material at a lower level. Completion of the text will precede the activities included in the unit.
- demilitarized zone
- launching pad
- Distinguished Flying Cross
- guerrilla fighters
- nuclear weapons
- presidential primaries
- unemployment insurance
- Fidel Castro
- President John F. Kennedy
- Neil Armstrong
- Mao TseTung
- Chou EnLai
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Thurgood Marshall
- Shirley Chisholm
- Robert F. Kennedy
Objective: Students will work in groups of three or four and select a president. Together they will write a biography for this assignment.
Presidents of the United States—1945 to Present:
Students will be supplied with a form to complete for President:
Harry S. Truman 1945-1943 Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961 John F. Kennedy 19611963 Lyndon B. Johnson 19631969 Richard M. Nixon 19691974 Gerald R. Ford 19741977 James Earl Carter 19771981 Ronald Reagan 19811990 George Bush 1990-
Name of President _______________________________________________
Date and place where born ________________________________________
Date and place of death ___________________________________________
Important event(s) that took place during this administration which affected family life in the United States.
Its effect on the family: ___________________________________________
Objective: Pretend you are a newspaper reporter. Using who, what, when, where and why, report the event. Select one political event from 1945 to Present.
Activity #2 Worksheet
1945—F. D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as president for his fourth term. Harry S. Truman was his vice president.
1946—United Nations was established in New York City.
1947—Boulder Dam was renamed Hoover Dam.
1950—The population of the 48 states was 150,697,361.
Congress created the National Science Foundation.
1951—Oil was discovered in North Dakota.
1952—Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States.
National political conventions were televised for the first time.
1953—Small Business Administration was created.
1954—Forrestal—the world’s largest warship was commissioned in Newport News, Virginia.
Nautilus—first atomic submarine was commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.
1955—USS Saratoga—the world’s most powerful warship was launched in Brooklyn, New York.
Plans were announced by the United States for the first satellite to circle the earth.
1956—The first interstate highway system—construction began.
1957—The first civil rights bill in 87 years was signed under President Eisenhower.
1958—NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was founded.
1959—Alaska was admitted as the 49th state.
Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state.
The first seven astronauts were chosen by NASA.
1960—July 4, the 50star flag became official.
1961—The first American, Alan B. Shepard, Jr. rocketed into space.
1962—Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn, Jr. orbited the earth; he was the first astronaut to do so.
1963—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
1964—Martin Luther King, Jr. awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1965—Several space flights and space walks were made by American astronauts.
1966—Ronald Reagan, actor, was elected governor of California.
1966—Three hundred thousand Americans were fighting in Vietnam.
1967—U.S. astronauts were killed in a flash fire at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
Thurgood Marshall was the first black to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
1968—Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Tennessee
Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.
1969—Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as president; Spiro T. Agnew was his vice president.
Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldren were the first men to walk on the moon.
1970—Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.
1971—Vietnam peace talks began their fourth year in Paris.
1972—Appollo 16 and Apollo 17 made trips to the moon.
Harry S. Truman died, age 88.
United States ground troupe left Vietnam.
1973—United States and North Vietnam signed a peace agreement in Paris.
Cambodia bombings ceased.
1975—On April 19 the Bicentennial Celebration began.
1977—President James Earl Carter was inaugurated; Walter Mondale was his vice-president.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations became well known for his controversial speeches.
1978—Hubert Humphrey died; he was a former vice president.
Federal minimum wage was raised from $2.30 to $2.65.
1979—The nuclear plant on Three Mile Island malfunctioned.
U.S. first Skylab launched in 1973, landed in the Indian Ocean and Australia.
Department of Education was created under President Carter.
1980—United States population reaches 226,504,825.
Inflation reaches doubledigit, and interest rates are 20%.
Gold hit a high of $800 an ounce.
1981—United States census revealed that over onehalf of the U.S. population lived west of the Mississippi River.
1982—The U.S. dedicated a memorial to the 57,939 soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam; it is located in Washington, D.C.
1983—Sally Ride was the first American woman in space.
Guin Bluford was the first black American in space.
1984—Representative Geraldine Ferraro became the first female vice-presidential candidate to run on a major ticket.
President Reagan visited China.
1985—“LiveAid” concert, lasting 17 hours, on radio and television raised $70 million dollars for starving people of Africa.
A group of top artists called USA for Africa recorded “We Are The World”—90% of the proceeds went to victims of famine in Africa.
1986—Warren E. Burger resigned from the Supreme Court after 17 years; he was the chief justice.
The Challenger exploded shortly after launch, killing all seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe; she was a science teacher.
Objective: Select a discovery in science technology. Pretend you lived before the discovery you’ve listed, explain how this new discovery would change your life.
Science and Technology
1946—The “auto bank” was created in Chicago.
1946—The first electronic computer was completed, Philadelphia, Pa.
1947—Instant camera was invented.
1947—Television sets sold in the U.S. for the first time.
1947—An airplane achieved supersonic speed in California, for the first time.
1947—Diesel engine buses were replaced by streetcars in New York City.
1947—The first 200M lens was demonstrated in New York City.
1948—The first longplaying record was developed by CBS laboratories.
1950—For the first time, automobile sales in the U.S. averaged more than five million per year.
1951—The first commercial color telecast was transmitted in New York City.
1951—Coasttocoast dial service began in this country.
1952—Cinerama was demonstrated in New York City.
1953—First helicopter service began in New York.
1954—Gas turbine auto engine was demonstrated.
1954—Jonas Salk, M.D. began inoculating children against polio.
1955—First speedboat exceeded 200 miles per hour.
1956—The first baby gorilla was born in captivity, Columbus Ohio Zoo.
1957—Air Force Strato fortresses (3) circled the globe in 45 hours and 19 minutes.
1957—Asian flu spread from China to the United States.
1958—U.S. nuclear submarine Seawolf remained submerged for 60 days, setting a world record.
1959—Oil found and drilled in 31 states.
1960—The first weather satellite was launched to photograph cloud cover, Tiros I.
1962—Telstar was launched by NASA, a communications satellite for A.T.&T.
1963—The U.S. pumped 2.6 million barrels of oil during the year.
1964—U.S. Surgeon General reported that cigarette smoking is dangerous to one’s health.
1966—The first successful artificial heart pump was surgically installed by Dr. Debakey.
1969—The first human heart transplant was performed in Houston, Texas.
1972—Longshoremen’s strife on the West Coast lasted for 135 days.
1975—Airlines offered “nofrills” fares.
1976—U.S. Viking I landed on the planet Mars.
1976—The Concorde, a supersonic transport plane made its first flight across the Atlantic.
1977—Video games began to be marketed for home consumption.
1978—Three Americans crossed the Atlantic in a hotair balloon.
1979—The world’s worst oil spill—affected Gulf of Mexico and the United States Gulf Coast.
1984—“Baby Fae” twoweeks old, was the first human to receive the heart of a baboon. She lived three weeks.
1984—The Supreme Court ruled it illegal to use video cassette recorders to tape film and TV shows.
1987—AZT, the first drug treatment for AIDS was approved by the FDA.
All questions in this section are of a literal, evaluative or interpretive nature. They are to be answered as the novels are read, first in group discussion and finally in written form.
Summary: The novel takes place in the year 1642 in Boston. The community, at the time, was small and had been settled by a small religious group called Puritans. Puritans had a very strict religious code that governed their lives. Many things we do today—our dances, dress and dating patterns—would be considered sinful by Puritan standards. This is the story of a woman who had a baby by a man other than her husband, which by Puritan standards was a sin. Her punishment was to wear a scarlet letter A on her dress for the rest of her life as a reminder to her and everyone else that she had committed a sin.
1. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Values, family structure and attitudes discussed and reflected upon in The Scarlet Letter will be listed on a matrix for comparison of the same type of information gathered from additional readings.
A. List main characters. B. Discuss their role. C. What was family like in 17th century Boston? D. Discussion of family values, structure and attitudes that existed then.
Summary: Felita is a teenager being raised in New York City. Her family originally emigrated from Puerto Rico and she lives with her two brothers, a great uncle and her parents. Neither she nor her brothers have ever visited Puerto Rico. This summer her entire family will visit for two weeks and she will stay on for the remainder of summer with her great uncle in the mountains.
2. Going Home by Nicholasa Mohr.
Her experiences in Puerto Rico made her grow up and these new experiences have given her a greater understanding of herself and her background.
Summary: This is the story of Angie, a young girl living with a depressed mother, a father who is frightened, and cruel classmates. She daydreams to give herself some peace. As time passes her romantic daydreaming doesn’t work. An old cousin comes to visit and teaches Angie to dream in a more constructive way. Through the help of a friend and a teacher, Angie learns to make dreams reality.
1. List the main characters in the book. 2. Draw a family tree to see the relationship amongst the family members. 3. Why do you think Mami wants Tito to have dinner with the family instead of watching TV? 4. Papi is working the night shift at work in addition to his daytime shift. The family misses him but Mami explains they need the extra money for their trip to Puerto Rico. Have you ever saved for something over a period of time? What sacrifices have you had to make? 5. Gigi’s family structure is different from Felitas. In what way and how do you think it affected the family life? 6. Imagine you were Vinny Davila, having just arrived in a new country. What do you think life would be like? 7. Abuelita lived in this country for thirty years without learning the language. Do you think this created limitations for her? If so, in what way? 8. Felita’s family treated male and female children differently. Explain the differences in the treatment and why do you think these different treatments exist? 9. Vinny and Felita have a special relationship. What is the basis of it? How did it begin? 10. Are all people of Spanish backgrounds alike? Explain the differences. 11. What is the difference between a Puerto Rican background and a Latino background? 12. Why did the Davila family move to the United States from Columbia? 13. Explain the differences between family life in Puerto Rico and New York City. 14. Explain life in San Juan and life in the mountains of Puerto Rico. 15. Describe some of Felita’s experiences? 16. What did Felita’s summer in Puerto Rico teach her? 17. Compare Felita’s feelings about her family before and after her trip to Puerto Rico. 18. Write a short essay and include what you learned about family life from this book. 3. The Shimmershine Queens by Camille Yarbrough.
Summary: Georgie Burgess is a sevenyearold victim of ongoing child abuse by his mother and her boyfriend. Georgie is classified as a failure at school; his behavior is hostile and he appears to be retarded. Georgie has a private world, that of flowers—they are a source of beauty and happiness to him. The police are finally called to intervene during a beating. Georgie is placed in a boys’ school run by Catholic nuns. In a more positive and nurturing setting, Georgie slowly emerges as a bright and loving child.
1. List all the main characters in the book. 2. In a brief paragraph describe their personalities and the role they play in the book. 3. Draw a family tree. 4. Describe Angie’s pain at having to see her parents’ conflicts. 5. Describe the getup gift. 6. Why do you think the disruptive behavior stopped when Mr. Tucker entered the room? 7. What does Angela mean when she says, “They should be doing their task”? 8. Charlene, Cheryl and Pat talk a lot of junk and start things—you’re the teacher in the classroom, how would you handle it? 9. Angie often plays the role of the parent—Why? Have you ever been in that position? If so, would you share the experience with us. 10. Angie had to miss her first day of acting and dancing class—-because her mama asked her to stay home with Lavenia. How do you think she felt? 11. Ms. Collier has a contract with her students. What are the terms of that contract? 12. What are the differences between Angie and Charlene? 13. When Angie’s father was away she felt a loss, how did she express this? 14. What does “Shimmershine queens” mean? Express that with color and then with words. 15. Explain the phrase, “I’m not gonna let Mr. Fear set up housekeeping in me.” 16. Prior to Angie’s father’s return, she feels anger towards him—why do you think she feels this anger? 17. How did Ms. Collier change Angie’s life? 18. Angie stole something from the store—what was the price she had to pay? Do you think she’ll steal again? Why, why not? 4. Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt.
We have completed four novels, and in the process discussed family structures and values. Let’s discuss the elements that make a family work. Have families from different cultures changed over time? Discuss.
1. Generate a list of possible reasons explaining the abuse against Georgie. 2. Once abuse begins, describe the cycle. Use the list developed in question #1. 3. If you were Georgie’s teacher, imagine Judge O’Neill has asked you, as Georgie’s teacher, to write a letter explaining his progress. Do so. 4. What changes have you seen in Georgie? List them. 5. Discuss the people in Georgie’s life who have helped these changes come about. What have they done to effect change? 6. Record any stories of child abuse seen on the television news and bring it to class. Cut any newspaper articles regarding the same issue. 7. If a friend came to you and confided to you that they were abused, what would you do?
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter. Pendulum Press, Inc., 1974. Illustrated.
Hunt, Irene, Lottery Rose. Scribner, 1976.
Jarolimek, John, Walsh, Huber M., Readings for Social Studies in Elementary Education. The Macmillan Company, 1969.
Mohr, Nicholasa, Going Home. Bantam Skylark Books, 1989.
Rico, Gabriele Luser, Writing the Natural Way. J. P. Tarcher, Inc., 1983.
Yarbrough, Camille, The Shimmershine Queens. Bullseye Books, Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlett Letter. Pendulum Press, Inc., 1974.
Illustrated version of the Hawthorne classic. Depicts society’s view of a woman having a child by a man other than her husband and the consequences of such an act.Hunt, Irene, Lottery Rose. Scribner, 1976.
Mohr, Nicholasa, Going Home. Bantam Skylark Book, 1989.
Story of a young Puerto Rican girl being raised in New York City and the changes made in her life after visiting her family in Puerto Rico for the summer.Yarbrough, Camille, The Shimmershine Queens, Bullseye Books, Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
The story of a young black girl who faces many difficulties. Through the advice and guidance of an old cousin she is able to overcome her problems and create a healthy constructive life.
Contents of 1990 Volume IV | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute