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Mosaic America: Paths To The Present

Ida Hickerson

Contents of Curriculum Unit 95.04.07:

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Mosaic America: Paths to the Present will be designed to allow the teacher and the students to do a comparative examination of African American, Latino, and Native American history through the arts. There will be a significant change in the United States’ population during the twenty-first century. This change will be manifested in the classroom. The potential difficulties of intercultural communications can be decreased if students appreciate and accept diversity.

Using this curriculum unit, seventh grade students will become more aware of the ideologies of life, values, love, peace and struggle of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans as citizens of the United States. All of the cultures that make up the United States have deep roots in history. Authors and artists will be used as tools to open the eyes of the students and allow them to see the impact and significance of cultures upon the history of the United States. Through traditional stories from different groups, students will explore the customs and beliefs of their culture and others.

As students read and examine works of art, they will be required to develop a portfolio that demonstrates their skills in writing, critical and creative thinking and knowledge of the elements and structure of literature. They will be required daily to orally express their ideas and keep a daily journal of those ideas. Students will develop illustrated time lines from lectures, reading assignments, videos and museum field trips that focus on migration of African Americans, relocation of Native Americans, immigration of Latinos from one region of the United States to another.

Additional skills will include research through the internet. Students will be given the opportunity to become effective users of this communication technology. This will assist students in obtaining essential experience with the internet and become effective communicators in their community and in their future endeavors.

The citizens of the United States face many challenges. From the birth of the nation, the motto of the United States has been “E pluribus unum”—”from out of many, one”. This motto reemphasizes and reflects the nation’s diverse nature—many regions, many cultures, many traditions. At the completion of this unit, students will appreciate and celebrate freedom to be themselves, to respect one another, and to work together using each other’s strengths.

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Unlike immigrants of other nationalities and races, Africans who first came to the United States were sold into involuntary servitude. The African population remained small until the early 1700’s, when plantation owners of Virginia brought slaves from West Africa at a rate of 1,000 per year. Slavery became an integral part of life throughout the colonies. Africans were forced to work as field hands in the South and as domestic servants in the North. From 1776 to 1783, slaves increased the ranks of the American Revolutionary’s army, as Americans fought for independence from the British. In fact, Crispus Attucks, a runaway slave, earned a place in American history by leading colonial forces during the Boston Massacre in 1770.

The American Revolution brought hope for slaves in the United States. In 1783, Quork Walker of Massachusetts used the preamble to the constitution in claiming his right to freedom. This led the Massachusetts legislature to prohibit slavery. The following year, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut also passed laws prohibiting slavery.

During this same period, Africans in the South were pushed into continued forced labor. With Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, the cotton industry became the core of the southern economy in the United States. More slave labor was used on the plantations in the South.

At the same time, the abolitionists in the North began to gain strength. Their antislavery movement divided the United States. This movement was part of the fuel that ignited the Civil War in 1861. From this era in history, African American leaders became vocal and organized. Many of these leaders influenced the African American community. Among them was Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was a former slave who spoke eloquently and was able to give a picture of slavery through his speeches and his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. With the emancipation of the slaves by the 13th Amendment, he along with others believed that African Americans would be treated as citizens. Yet, the African Americans faced continued oppression. In a speech to whites in 1895, he said, “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity,and independence, bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. The Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must moum.”

After federal troops were withdrawn from the South, African Americans struggled to overcome a hostile white population. Many were subjected to discrimination, mob violence, and political disenfranchisement. Risking their own personal safety, African Americans voted and were elected to public office until the late 1890’s. No longer was it slavery that denied African Americans equality, but the political system became the oppressor. After using illegal means to ensure victories, whites who were elected to office and made laws that were discriminatory to African Americans thus preventing most from voting. Other racists laws were passed that included schools and public transportation. This legislation was collectively known as “Jim Crow” laws. Jim Crow was a character in a racist l9th-century song-and-dance act that degraded African Americans. These laws did not specifically go against the Constitution or openly discriminate. For example, under Jim Crow laws all voters were required to pay a poll tax. Most African Americans were poor and thus could not afford to pay to vote. Therefore unable to vote, unable to voice opinions or make decisions that could benefit African Americans, African Americans became second class citizens. Again, they were at the mercy of white Americans. Whites used legislation as well as violence to make African Americans subservient. Like many of the runaway slaves before and during the Civil War, African Americans migrated to the North.

In the North, African Americans moved to a place where there were supposed to be many opportunities to escape poverty and to obtain rights as citizens denied them in the South. This movement between 1890 and 1930 is called the Great Migration. Letters written to relatives who remained in the South gave descriptions of life that encouraged more to move. One man who moved North wrote:

I should have been here 20 years ago. I just began to feel like a man. My children are going to the same school with whites, and I don’t have to humble myself to anyone. I have registered. Will vote in the next election and there isn’t any “yes, Sir” and “no, Sir.” It’s all yes and no, Sam and Bill. (MulticulIural Milestones, 1995)

Many reports such as this gave hope to southern African Americans that they too could obtain the “American dream”. Also, newspapers ran ads offering jobs with good wages. They printed stories about those who were successful in the North. The Defender of Chicago encouraged migration.

Agents from companies traveled to the North to recruit African Americans to work in the factories. These agents also provided stories and promises to earn in a day which many could not earn in a week working as field hands. Tickets were given to both African American males and females who promised to repay later.

The Great Migration had a huge impact on the African American experience. No longer were the majority of African Americans rural residents but members of urban communities. Between 1890 and 1910 more than 200,000 African Americans moved North. The number increased to more than a million from 1910 to 1930. The largest African American urban community with more than 200,000 was located in New York by 1920. A community that gave us the Harlem Renaissance. This urban enclave included talented poets, novelists, painters, and entertainers.

Richard Wright became a part of the Great Migration in the 1920’s who moved North to escape the little or no opportunities of the South. In 1940, he wrote Native Son. This book describes how a young African American in Chicago faced the world. His book gave a different picture of life in the North as promised by some relatives, newspapers, and company agents. African Americans were paid less than whites in the same jobs. Certain jobs were closed to them. Discrimination denied African American jobs in many industries.

At the end of World War I (WWI), job opportunities decreased for all Americans. African Americans competed for jobs wanted and needed by WWI white veterans. Resentment began to increase. Not only was there competition for jobs, but there also was competition for housing. Efforts were made to keep African Americans out of certain communities. This forced many African Americans to live in crowded deteriorating neighborhoods (ghettos). Friction also arose within the African American community. Those who had migrated in the beginning of the Great Migration accused the late comers of ruining their neighborhoods. They called them “country bumpkins”. These late comers were often not allowed to join fraternal organizations, churches, social clubs, and other community groups. Thus, we have discrimination within the African American community.

The Great Depression began in 1929. This economic crisis affected millions of Americans. African Americans suffered the most. Again, the status of being a second class citizen charged African Americans to move. They came together and began to work for social reform to change their status. African American train porters formed their own union in 1937. World War II (WWII) pushed African Americans to band together to fight the hiring injustice in the factories that were providing supplies and weapons for the Allied armies. An African American union organizer, A. (Asa) Philip Randolph, used the threat of a mass protest against the all-white defense industry in Washington, D.C. As a result, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt fearing social unrest and the reputation of the United States abroad as a defender of democracy issued Executive Order 8802. This landmark document declared “there shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin.” This connected the federal government with the well being of African Americans. From this time until the end of WWII (1945), economic opportunities were opened to African Americans.

The end of the war brought peace and prosperity to the United States. African Americans became more determined to rid the nation of racial injustices. Even though Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Larry Doby (Cleveland Indians) were allowed to play in the baseball major leagues, many African Americans knew that this was just a pebble from the mountain needed for African Americans to be a complete and equal participants in American society.

The Civil Rights Movement was ushered into American history in the early 1950’s. African American leaders began to dismantle segregation. Thurgood Marshall, the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund developed a case that challenged school segregation in Oliver Brown et al v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. He used the arguments of five antisegregation suits against five school systems in five different states that had already reached the federal courts. He asked the United States Supreme Court to reverse the decision in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson that made it legal to “separate” public facilities if they were “equal” by races. In 1954, the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision after months of debate. The decision:

Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does. . . . We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

The Court with this ruling paved the way for equality for all Americans.

The struggle for equality thrust Marshall into a prominent leadership role as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King, who pushed peaceful protests as a means of change (nonviolent), ironically divided the Civil Rights Movement. Many young leaders (Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael) believed that the Movement should focus not so much on the South, but improve the minority community through economic and political strength independent of the American mainstream. The movement was almost destroyed in the 1960’s with riots in Newark, New Jersey, Los Angeles, California, and Detroit, Michigan. These cities were left in ruins. With the assassination of Dr. King in !968, the crisis within the movement ended.

Those who continued to struggle to be equal citizens in the United States took various paths following King’s murder. The number of elected African Americans continues to grow. Even in 1988, Reverend Jesse Jackson was victorious in several democratic primaries for the Presidential nomination.

African Americans have contributed much to eliminate inequalities in the United States. They have also contributed to the American culture. Much of the international glamour of America was created by African Americans. Some of the most talented artists have come from the African American culture. Louis Armstrong enchanted listeners with his jazz trumpet. Bessie Smith captivated audiences with her songs. Langston Hughes moved readers with his lyrical verse. Novelist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston made African American speech come alive. Jacob Lawrence’s caricatures have recorded history in visuals. Energy, passion, and humor can be found in the works of these artists and more to document that the African American history and culture is what helps to make the history and culture of the United States.

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During the last Ice Age, people from Asia used a temporary land bridge to cross into North America. This occurred between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago (Schaefer, 1990, p. 167). Therefore when the Europeans reached the North American continent, not only did they find rich natural resources, but they also came in contact with hundreds of tribes. These tribes had developed cultures that were not accepted as civilized by those who colonized. The Europeans did not respect the rights of the Native Americans ownership to land or their cultural differences. They used advanced weapons and updated war strategies to gain control the land.

Many Native American cultures were eliminated by the end of the American Revolution. In 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed, the new nation of the United States claimed a vast amount of North America. This agreement did not include the Native Americans who lived on the land. By the early 1800’s, most Native Americans from the northeast had either been killed or forced from their lands. The rest had been confined to small settlements. In their quest to move west, the American settlers of European descent wanted more land.

In 1830, the United States began the largest relocation program in history. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. The government began to force the eastern tribes to sign treaties giving up ownership of their ancestral land and relocate to land west of the Mississippi River. If treaty negotiations failed, the military was used to remove the Native Americans. This forced relocation opened up more land for the white settlers.

Among the largest tribes forced to relocate to present-day Oklahoma were the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole. Realizing that continued resistance would bring on more deaths, these tribes agreed to move. They were promised food and transportation for their removal West. Instead, they were forced to leave their ancestral homelands with inadequate supplies or transportation (Wissler,1989, p. 80). This forced walk, “Trail of Tears” caused the deaths of more than 4,000 Native Americans.

Earlier, the United States government established the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This agency was a part of the U.S. War Department. The BIA was given the task of maintaining peace in the west. As the white Americans continued to move west, they took possession of land that had been occupied by Native Americans. Regardless of the situation, the white settlers were successful in homesteading the land, creating loss and hardships to the Native Americans.

From 1863 to 1946, the northeastern Native Americans could do little to keep their land or their culture. During this time, the United States Congress had reviewed only 142 land-claim violations. Instead of including the Native Americans as part of America, the government by isolating Native Americans on reservations, establishing schools for Indian children that separated the students from homes, and setting up policies of allotment for individual ownership of land not tribal ownership believed that overtime the Native Americans would adopt aspects to the white culture. Also, this would save the government money that was being spent to provide for Native Americans living on reservations and give the government more control over Indian land.

“Assimilate or starve! This has been the choice offered the Native American by the dominant (white) society, a choice based on the fundamental misunderstanding of Indians, their needs, and aspirations. . .pressure to assimilate is a threat to the Indian’s identity. He lives on generally poor land, and this economic base is decreasing as a result of governmental policies. . .Every time the Indian discovers a resource worth developing, it is taken away from him. He is, once again, faced with the choice-assimilate or starve” (Civil Rights Digest, 1972, pp. 27-29).

In 1924, all Native Americans were granted citizenship. Therefore, Indian men were drafted into World War II. More than 25,000 men and women enlisted in the armed forces during the war. For their valor, many received praise and respect. Ernest Childers and Jack Montgomery were awarded the congressional medals of honor for their heroic actions.

Native American civilians also contributed much to the war effort. Many men and women were employed to manufacture supplies needed for wartime. While some of them traveled back and forth from the reservations to factories, some novel to nonNative American communities to work.

WWII initiated the first time that many Native Americans left their cultural community to fight or to work. This allowed them to experience a world outside of the reservation. For a group of people who practiced tribal traditions, this exposure to different values, viewpoints, ideologies, and philosophies was a culture shock. Even those Native Americans who stayed on the reservations were indirectly affected. Those who left the reservations returned to share what they leamed form working in American cities or what they experience while in the armed forces in Europe and Japan.

Near the end of WWII, Native Americans began to organize. The purpose of organizing was to identify concerns and problems facing the Native Americans. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in Colorado. The organization’s main objective was to address injustices and the federal government’s treatment of Native Americans.

At the end of WWII, many of those who had left the reservation during the war returned. Their experiences had changed them and placed them in conflict with the culture on the reservation. No longer did they feel as if they belonged on the reservation, but neither did they feel accepted off the reservation. Many of them moved to large urban communities to begin new lives. Since there were few economic opportunities on the reservation, veterans and those who had worked in factories during the war felt that they could compete and obtain jobs in the cities.

During the war, Americans of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds worked together. At the end of the war, many Americans still distrustful of anything foreign did not accept anything different form the customs or values of mainstream “white” America. Some Native Americans assimilated with ease into urban life. Those who had little education or skills were usually unable to find jobs or adequate housing. For some Native Americans, the traditional ways they were taught as children made life in the city hard. In mainstream America, competition and aggressiveness are valued. Native Americans value cooperation and generosity. Non-Native Americans also stress the individual rights, whereas Native Americans are more concerned with community rights. Some Native Americans learned to act non-Indian. Those who did not were labeled as “un-American” and considered a threat.

Children of Native Americans who relocated to urban communities had some of the same problems as their parents. Not being accepted because of their customs and values, many were unsuccessful in school. Their tendency to be non-aggressive and quiet brought on criticisms from their peers and teachers. Material in textbooks offered negative stereotypes and untruths about Native Americans. This atmosphere pushed many to drop out of school. This in turn continued the cycle of not being hired or being hired in unskilled low paying jobs.

In 1969, Kiowa Indian N. Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for his novel House Made of Dawn. Momaday uses his writing to explore the lives of contemporary Native Americans. One theme that is especially important to Momaday and other Native Americans is the struggle to keep their traditions alive and be successful in a predominantly non-Native American society. Native Americans have not had an easy life in the United States. Through hard work and careful planning, they have improved their living conditions and continue to make contributions to the growth and development of the United States. Today there are more than 500 Native American nations in the United States with governing documents recognized by Congress. Native American citizens are significant in politics (Robert Eastman), sports (Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills), and the arts (Maria Martinez, Oscar Howe, Louise Erdrich), N. Scott Momaday, and Simon Ortiz). By recognizing their contributions and the living legacy of Native American cultures, the United States history and future can be put into perspective.

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Approximately five million immigrants came to the United States between 1990 and 1994. More than half of them were Latinos, people whose native language is Spanish. Latinos come from Mexico, the nations of Central and South America, Puerto Rico, and many other Caribbean Islands. These immigrants have many reasons for coming to the United States as did earlier Latino immigrants from the same lands. Some came for economic opportunities. Others came to escape war, poverty, and persecution.

The United States has always been made up of people with different ethnic and religious backgrounds. With the continued number of immigrants entering into the United States, the country’s population is becoming more diverse. According to the 1990 census, “minority” groups made up 25 percent of the population. Non-Latino whites made up the rest. African Americans made up 12 percent. Latinos made up 9 percent. Asians and Pacific Islanders made up 3 percent. Native Americans made up 1 percent. The proportion of Latinos is expected to become larger than African Americans by the twenty-first century.

The population in Connecticut, especially New Haven is changing rapidly into a high percentage of Latinos with connections to Puerto Rico. Therefore, this background information will be centered around Puerto Rican Americans. Just as Native Americans are often referred to as Indians and Africans Americans are often referred to as Blacks, Puerto Rican Americans are referred to as Latinos or Hispanics. It depends on the cultural preference of the group. Henceforth, Latinos will be synonymous with Puerto Rican Americans.

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean Sea about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida. The island is about the same size as Connecticut with a population of about 3.6 million people who use Spanish as their first language. Most live in a much lower standard of living than people in the United States.

The United States gained control of Puerto Rico as a result of a treaty signed with Spain in 1898. The war of 1898 was a turning point for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was now free of Spanish rule. The Puerto Ricans welcomed the United States. At the time when the United States took control, Puerto Rico was a rural country of small farms that produced a variety of crops. Even though the island had its own parliament, upon the arrival of the U.S. military, it was disbanded. Most Puerto Ricans believed their lives would improve with aid from the United States and eventually full independence would belong to their island-nation. General Nelson A. Miles, commander of the U.S. troops who invaded Puerto Rico on July 25, 1898 promised in his first public speech:

We have not come to make war upon the people of a country that for centuries has been oppressed but on the contrary to bring you protection. . . to promote prosperity and to bestow upon [give] you the . . . blessing of the liberal institutions of government.

The United States believed that Puerto Rico had no self-rule experience and that the location of Puerto Rico was key to the defense of United States’ interest in the Caribbean region. Therefore, independence of Puerto Rico would not ensure the interests of the American government. However, improvements were made on the island. Schools, hospital, roads, and bridges were constructed. The U.S. government pushed Puerto Rico into a “one-crop economy,” sugar. The sugar produced was sold mainly to the United States.

Puerto Rico was first placed under military rule. In 1900, Congress allowed the island to have a civil government by passing the Foraker Act. Under this act, the United States government would still control politics in Puerto Rico. The governor and the upper body of the bicameral legislature would be appointed by the U.S. President. The lower house would be elected by the Puerto Ricans. All legislation was to be approved by Congress. Puerto Rico was allowed a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The representative could not vote.

Self-government was not given. Puerto Ricans began to demand more in governing their island. In 1917, Congress passed the Jones Act. This law granted citizenship to all Puerto Ricans who wanted it and allowed election of the upper house. Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States. Most accepted citizenship, some who wanted total independence from the United States did not.

The act was passed just before the United States entered WWII. Even though some were not pleased with the Jones Act, the majority of Puerto Ricans supported the United States in the war. Money was raised in war bonds and nearly 20,000 Puerto Ricans joined the U.S. armed services.

Many people, even before citizenship was granted, moved to mainland United States because of poverty and lack of jobs. Since Spanish is the first language of immigrants from Puerto Rico, they suffered and still suffer from a language barrier. This hindered the search for jobs and adequate housing. Spanish-speaking school children have a difficult time adjusting to American culture.

It was not until the 1970’s that some educators began pushing a reform for bilingual bicultural educational programs. By instructing the Spanish-speaking student in Spanish, the students are able to grasp the subject being taught. Not all educators agreed.

Bilingual-bicultural education has become a political and economic issue. Local school boards have the authority to decide how to best educate non-English speaking children, since 1981, Congress has rejected many bilingual programs and cut federal monies to state and local systems. The federal government justifies this by the fact that the United States is an English-speaking nation. Only by promoting English as its of ficial language can non-English speaking children learn to literate enough to be successful in modern-day America according to some lawmakers.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, many Puerto Rican Americans lived in an area of New York City called Spanish Harlem or the “barrio”. This was an economically depressed community that was segregated from mainstream America. Even though many moved out in the 1970’s seeking the American dream (better housing, better schools, and better jobs), they could not escape racial prejudice. Writer Piri Thomas said. . .

People living in ghettos all over this country of ours cannot be expected to react as first-class citizens when we are treated not only as if we aren’t a part of America, but as if we aren’t human being. (Schaefer, 1990, p.283)

Most Latinos do not vote regularly. Often moving because of jobs, they are unable to register to vote. Even those who are registered to vote are prevented from electing Latino candidates because of voting districts dividing Latino communities.

Things are changing. Today, Latinos are involved in all parts of American society. The Latino culture is influencing many aspects of American society. Latinos are now in Congress. Schools are becoming more inclusive of multicultural materials through all disciplines.

Before beginning any of the sample lessons that follow, a classroom environment of respect for all members of the class should be established. This unit will be more successful if the teacher knows his/ her students. Therefore, the unit should be used after the first marking period. I plan to use it at the beginning of the third marking period which is at the end of January. This will be the opportune time to take advantage of Black History Month.

Throughout the marking periods, before the unit is used, students will be participating in lessons to prepare them. Working collaboratively with the media specialist, students will develop skills that will allow them to utilize internet and cd-roms to research. Students will participate in various activities such as Lesson Three to foster respect and appreciation of the differences within cultures. Students will be constantly given opportunities to discuss, write, and create using various mediums.

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Lesson Plan One


To define race, ethnic group, and culture

To freewrite in individual portfolio

To enhance cooperative/collaborative learning

To write an autobiography





Tapestry: A Multicultural Anthology

Student Individual Portfolios

Assess to computer with printer


Two—three weeks


1. Divide students into groups of three to five students. Each group should brainstorm and record all words or phrases related to race.(5-10 minutes)
2. Each group should select one student to orally report to class the results. Teacher records words and phrases on the chalkboard.
3. Individually, students should write a definition of race selecting words and phrases from chalkboard.(3-5 minutes)
4. Within each group, members are to share definitions. Using a dictionary, each group should compare reference definition to definitions from the group. By consensus, each group should write on newsprint a definition of race and display on wall.(l0-15 minutes)
5. Using steps 1-4, ethnic group and culture should be defined and displayed.
6. After students have been given time to read other group displayed definitions, students are to write a response to the question, “What is the culture of an American?”
7. Students are to include this as part of their cumulative portfolio.
8. Students should be assigned to read excerpts from Black Boy by Richard Wright (Tapestry, pp. 295-299), Cante Ishta—The Eye of the Heart by Mary Crow Dog (Tapestry, pp. 108-114), and Lali by Nicholasa Mohr (Tapestry, pp. 183-188).
9. After reading the excerpts, individually students are to select and complete three of the following activities. . .
____A. In your portfolio, write about an idea, feeling, or question you had as you read these selections. Do the excerpts relate to something in your own life? If so, describe how.
____B. Write a short autobiography of yourself. Include some of your cultural beliefs and values.
____C. Design a poster to visually show who the main characters are in each excerpt.
____D. With a partner, research each author and create a one page newsletter to give biographical information about each. Include graphics and examples of other works written by the authors.
____E. In a short essay, explain what it means to see “with the eye of the heart”.
____F. Pretend you have just migrated to the United States from Puerto Rico. What problems will you face? How would you eliminate the problems? What resources would you need to eliminate the problems? How long would it take to eliminate the problems? Make this into a chart for class display.

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Lesson Plan Two


To create literature-based portfolio

To help students to organize their projects

To assist students in recognizing their individual and group accountability

To monitor student progress


Folders with inside flaps (each student needs two different colored folders)

Notebook paper


One day


1. Inform students that a portfolio is documentation (record) of their efforts. The portfolio will be used to assess completion of assignments and meeting the objectives of the class.
2. Each student is to label one folder as Social Studies Portfolio and a second folder as Quizzes and Tests.
3. Give each student the following Table of Contents for their Social Studies Portfolio:
____Table of Contents
____1. Project description and table of contents
____2. Individual Directed Dialog Journals
____3. Brainstorming notes and rough drafts
____4. Group assignments
____5. Time lines and group deadlines
____6. Freewrites
____7. Weekly evaluations of individual and group participation
____8. Finished products
4. Each section of the Table of Contents is discussed with the class. 5. Each student should design/decorate the front and back of the folder to be reflective of their likes or dislikes.
The portfolios will allow for assessment of students holistically. From Directed Dialog Journals through freewrites, rough drafts and finished products, observations of their journey in learning from reading, researching, writing and interacting with their peers can be made. This will enable a more balanced and accurate assessment of their skills.


Directed Dialog Journal—Students respond to specific instructions from teacher after a lecture, reading assignment, video, or group activity.
Brainstorm—Students freely associate without criteria of right or wrong.
Freewrite—Students write a response in any genre with a specific theme.

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Lesson Plan Three


To demonstrate and eradicate the myth that “they all are alike”

To identify cross cultural and culture specific aspects used in short stories or poetry by writers from different ethnic backgrounds

To focus on diversity within New Haven

To research personal family origins and traditions


Bag of fresh green beans (as many beans as students)
Three sheets of heavy tagboard
Individual student portfolios
Assess to computer
Copies of the following short stories:
____Little Things Are Big by Jesus Colon
____My Dzmgeon Shook by James Baldwin
____A Lakota Wornan’s Story by Mark St. Pierre
Copies of the following poems:
____Variety in Black by Denise Sanders Brooks
____The Man from Washington by James Welch
____AmeRican by TatoLaviera
Note: Any selection of short stories or poems by ethnic writers can be used.


Two weeks


1. Ask each student to pick a bean from the bag. Tell them to study their bean, learn as much as they can about it, give it a name and a history, and then introduce their bean to the class.
2. Beans should be returned to bag. Shake the bag and then spread them out on a table. Ask students to pick up their beans. In most cases, students will easily find their bean. Ask students to explain how they were able to do so. In the discussion that follows, students should generalize that not are alike just as not all people of any racial group are alike.
3. Ask students to write in their Directed Dialog Journal responses to the following questions: What does it mean to be a part of their racial group(s)? What does it mean to be African American? What does it mean to be Latina/ Latino? What does it mean to be Native American? What does it mean to be Euro-American? What does it mean to be Asian-Pacific Islander? What does it mean to be of mixed parentage? How are they seen? What does their family expect of them? What does society expect of them? What doors are open to them? What doors are closed? What are advantages and disadvantages in our society of being in that racial group? What do they like about that racial group?
4. Have students to read the short stories and poems selected. In groups of three to five students identify and record on newsprint, the aspects of cross cultural and cultural specifics located in each selection. By consensus determine how each selection would change if the ethnicity of the characters changed or that of the authors. The ensuing discussion will help to illuminate students’ assumptions about other races and cultures.
5. Have students write a recipe poem for each ethnic group. Within groups, students are to produce a miniature recipe book of diversity.
6. Have students to focus on the diversity in New Haven. Ask students to develop a survey of questions to be answered as a class. Questions might include: What racial and ethnic groups are present in New Haven? What languages are spoken? What countries are represented? What are some of the problems faced because of the diversity? How are they being addressed by the groups and government? Encourage students to use internet and other historic documents. The information gathered should be presented visually and in written form. This activity will help to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity in New Haven.
7. Ask students to research their family’s origins and traditions, using interviews, photos, and mementos. Some students will not be able to trace their roots quite easily. Give those students options to research an aspect their community’s history—perhaps of their town, school, church, an organization, or a landmark. Using tagboard, construct a trypic to display objects that pertain to their topic. Take this opportunity to invite parents and other community members to view the displays.

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Lesson Plan Four


To help students examine, describe, discuss and interpret works of art

To help students use art to develop an understanding of other individuals

To draw conclusions

Copies of:
____Horace Pippin’s Cabin in the Cotton IV
____Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series # 24
____Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series #1
____Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series # 45
____Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series # 58
____Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series # 50
____Rosa Ibarra’s Women Reading
____Carmen Lomas Garza’s Empanadas


Three Days


1. Display copies of art work. Encourage students to look at each work carefully. Recording in their Direct Dialog Journal what is going on in each picture. On a separate sheet of paper, students are to give each a title.
2. Divide class into groups. Instruct them to share within the groups what they recorded. As a group, prepare on newsprint titles for each picture. Each group should present their titles to the class and display.
3. Teacher should constantly ask for clarifications of why: What do you see that makes you say that? Why do you think that? Where do you see that? What else makes you say that? Could you describe that to me? Can you say more about that?
4. After each group has debriefed, teacher gives title and artist’s interpretation of each.
5. Students are to select one picture and write a story about it based on what is seen in the picture. Story should include factual knowledge of the ethnic group.

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Lesson Plan Five


To develop a bibliography about Puerto Rican Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans

To construct a time line that includes events from United States



Assess to Computer

Assess to reference books

Assess to library


Three days


1. Review with students the purpose of a bibliography and rules for writing a bibliography. Instruct them to use library and internet and compile a list of books related to Puerto Rican Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans. List must include two categories for each ethnic group—fiction and nonfiction. Each list should have four books for each ethnic group.
2. A copy of the bibliography should be placed in their portfolio and a copy should be given to the teacher.
3. Working with a partner, the following events should be chronologically placed on a line. Students should use notes from background lectures given by teacher as well as their bibliography to find out when each event occurred. A visual product should be displayed in classroom with a title.


Native Americans are forced west along the Trail of Tears

NativeAmericans granted citizenship

Woman from Alabama refuses to move to back of a bus

Native Americans fought colonists in King Phillip’s War

Bill of Rights passed by Congress

Spanish American War

The Depression hits

United States enters WWI

Puerto Ricans offered citizenship

NCAI organized

Civil War began

African Americans proclaimed citizens

Civil government set up in Puerto Rico

Operation Bootstrap

WWI ends

Civil War ends

African Americans begin “great migration” to the North

Puerto Ricans begin great “migration” to the mainland

Civil Rights’ Movement begins

Miranda Rights initiated by US Supreme Court

United States enters WWII

NAACP organized

AIM organized

U.S. Supreme ends segregation

Relocation of Native Americans law passed by congress

Puerto Rico placed under U.S. military

Freedmen’s Bureau created to help former slaves

Puerto Rico becomes a commonwealth

Women given the right to vote

Munoz Marin was elected as governor of Puerto Rico

BIA set up by Congress

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Computer Software

American Indian: A Multimedia Encyclopedia Social Studies School Service, Culver City, California, 1994. (1-800-421-4246) Uses text, images, and sounds to tell the history of indigenous North American cultures from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Cross-referenced are profiles of more than 150 North American tribes and succinct biographies of over 750 historical figures. Includes hundreds of photographs, drawings, maps, and full texts of documents on CD-ROM.

Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia: CD-ROM. January Productions, Hawthorne, New Jersey, 1995. (1-80-451-7450) Accurate and comprehensive encyclopedia on CD-ROM based on the 21 volume Academic American Enc yclopedia, many of whose contributors are authorities in their fields. Included are 53 video sequences, over 300 maps, over 6 hours of multimedia features, a good search engine, and approximately 33,000 articles supplemented with 8,000 photos.

Multicultural Chronicles. Social Studies School Service. Culver City, California, 1994. (1-800-421-4246) Macintosh software that allows students to inquire about people who have made positive contributions to America.

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America’s Great Indian Leaders. Knowledge Unlimited, Madison Wisconsin, 1993. (1-800-356-2303) Tells the stories of Native American leaders that is dramatic and historically accurate.(65 minutes divided into 15 minute color segments)

Immigration Today: A Case Study. Turner Multimedia, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 1995.(1-800-346-6219) Looks at the challenges faced by immigrants and their impact on local culture. (25-minute color video)

Multicultural Peoples of North America. Clearvue/eau, Chicago, Illinois, 1994. (1-800-144-9855) Examines the cultures of the people who make up America. ( Three 30-minute color videos the celebrate the cultural heritages of Puerto Rican Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans by tracing the history of their emigration to North America.)

Native Americans: The Invisible People. Turner Multimedia, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 1995.(1-800-344-6219) Reveals stories of crime, intense poverty, gambling riches, racial hatred and ancient traditions of Native Americans. Examines key economic, social and political issues facing Native Americans today.

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Student Bibliography

Armstrong, William H. Sounder. Harper and Row, New York, New York, 1969. A young African American, angry and humiliated when his father is incarcerated for stealing food for his family, grows courage and understanding by learning to read with the help of his devoted dog.

Avery, Susan. Extraordinary American Indians. Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1992. Discusses the lives and accomplishments of outstanding Native Americans from the eighteenth century to the present, including Wilma Mankiller, Billy Mills, Louis Ballard, and Will Rogers.

Baldwin, James. If Beale Street Could Talk. Dell, New York, New York, 1974. Two young African Americans are sustained by their love in their struggle against injustice and racial oppression.

Brooks, Bruce. The Moves Make The Man. Harper and Row, New York, New York, 1984. An African American boy and an emotionally troubled White boy in North Carolina form a precarious friendship.

Brown, Dee Alexander. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. H. Holt, New York, New York, 1991. The heroic struggle of Native Americans to preserve their lands and culture.

Brown, Marion Marsh. Homeward The Arrow ‘s Flight. Abingdon, Tennessee, 1980. A biography of a young Omaha Native American woman who overcame sexual and cultural prejudices to become a physician.

Felsen, Henry. Street Rod. Random House, New York, New York, 1953. Rick Madison describes the joys and problems, the dreams and frustrations of a gang, the “Greasers”.

Fixico, Donald. Urban lndians. Chelsea House Publishers, New York, New York, 1991. Examines the history, conditions, and changing fortunes of Native Americans living in urban America. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Friese, Kai. Rosa Parks: The Movement Organizes. Simon and Schuster, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990. A biography of the Alabama African American whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus helped establish the Civil Rights Movement.

Hoose, Phillip. It’s Our World, Too! Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA, 1993. Stories of young people who are making a difference in the United States.

Jones, Jayne Clark. American Indians in America. Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis, MN, l991. Includes history of Native Americans from the late 18th century to the present.

Taulbert, Clifton. When We Were Colored. Penguin Books, New York, New York, 1990. Memoir of author’s life growing up in segregated Mississippi with people who maintained dignity and created a caring community.

Taulbert, Clifton. The Last Train North. Penguin Books, New York, New York, 1992. A sequel to When We Were Colored that is a cultural diary of an African American who migrates North during the early 1960’s.

Westridge Young Writers Workshop. America’s Hispanic Heritage. John Muir Publications, Sante Fe, Mexico,1992. Presents writings by students in grades three to seven on topics of Hispanic culture, including dance, cooking, games, history, art, songs, and role models.

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Bibliography for Teachers

Berkhofer, Robert F. The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present. Random House, New York, 1979. Analyzes the stereotypes and images developed through the centuries by writers, artists, and government leaders.

Burns, Stewart. Social Movements of the 1960’s. Twayne Publishers, Boston, Massachusetts, 1990. Probes the life cycles of social movements that have altered American life using history.

Dennis, Henry C. The American Indian. Oceana Publications, Dobbs Ferry, New York, 1977. Chronological history of the North American Indians with a selection of illustrative documents, appendices, and bibliography.

Fuch, Lawrence. The American Kaleidoscope: Race, Ethnicity, and the Civic Culture. Globe Fearon, Paramus, New Jersey, 1990. Examines the people of the American culture in civic interactions by race and ethnicity.

Hirshchfelder, Arlene. Rising Voices. Ivy Books, New York, 1992. Conveys a range of feelings, from pride in the old ways to conflict about the present through poems, brief essays, and testimonies.

Jensen, Jeffry. Hispanic Americans Struggle for Equality. Rourke Corporation, Florida, 1992. Examines the ongoing efforts of Hispanic Americans and their experiences in a society based on liberty and justice for all.

Joseph, Alvin M. The Indian Heritage of America. Alfred Knoph, New York, 1968. Condenses popular accounts of the Indians of North, Central, and South America from the emergence of man in the New World through recent times with illustrations and a good bibliography.

Levadi, Barbara. African American Biographies. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1995. Features the life stories of African Americans in literature, communications, fine and performing arts, sciences, mathematics, business, and public service.

Levadi, Barbara. Latino Biographies. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1995. Features the life stories of Latinos in literature, fine arts and performance, sciences, mathematics, business, and public service.

Levadi, Barbara. Native American Biographies. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1995. Features the life stories of Native Americans in literature, drama, fine arts and performance, sciences, mathematics, education, and public service.

Lewis, Samella. Art: African American. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Incorporation, New York, New York, 1978. Uncovers the contributions of African American visual artists from the seventeenth-century to the mid-twentieth century revealing the personal lives of the artists and the public attitudes of their times.

Lippard, Lucy. Mixed Blessings. Pantheon Books, New York, New York, 1990. Reflects the cross-cultural art in a multicultural society within the United States.

Marx, Herbert. The American Indian: A Rising Ethnic Force. Wilson Company, New York, New York, 1973. Reflects the changing attitudes both of and toward Native Americans, stressing culture and aspirations.

McKissack, Patricia and Fredrick. The Civil Rights Movement in America from 1865 to the Present. Children’s Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1987. Traces the struggle of African Americans in gaining their civil rights in America with a brief comparison of their problems to those of other minorities.

Meltzer, Milton. The Black Americans: A History in Their Own Words 1619-1983. Crowell Publishers, New York, New York, 1984. A history of African Americans as told through letters, speeches, articles, eyewitness accounts and other documents.

Meltzer, Milton. The Hispanic Americans. Crowell Publishers, New York, New York, 1982. Discusses the social and economic problems faced by twelve million Hispanic Americans who live and work in the United States.

Purves, Alan C. Tapestry: A Multicultural Anthology. Globe Book Company, Paramus, New Jersey, 1993. Reflects through stories, plays, poems, folktales, and essays the experiences of ethnic Americans.

Schaefer, Richard. Racial and Ethnic Groups. Scott, Foreman and Company, Glenview, Illinois, 1990. Gives an overview of the racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Seeley, Virginia. African American Literature. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1994. Gives a representation through fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic selections of the experiences of many who have struggled to maintain a cultural identity.

Seeley, Virginia. Latino Caribbean Literature. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1994. Gives a representation through fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic selections of the experiences of Latino Americans who have struggled to keep their cultural identity.

Seeley, Virginia. Plains Native American Literature. Globe Fearon Educational Publisher, Paramus, New Jersey, 1994. Gives a representation through fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic selections of the experiences of Native Americans who have struggled to keep their cultural identity.

Turner, Elizabeth H. Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series. Rappahannock Press, Washington, D.C., 1993. Overviews the sixty-panel work of Jacob Lawrence’s chronicles of the shift of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North.

Wissler, Clark. Indians of the United States. New York Anchor Books, New York, New York, 1989. Discusses the impact that settlers had on the Native Americans and the impact that the Native Americans had on the United States.

Whiteford, Andrew Hunter. North American Indian Arts. Golden Press, New York, New York, 1970. Describes and distinguishes the characteristics and different techniques of work done by various tribes from various regions.

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