Race, Language and Separation is a unit developed with my sixth grade students in mind, but can be adapted for any middle school children. This unit came about, mainly, because we have a large number of bilingual students in our school. This unit is intended to bridge the gap that divides English and non-English speaking students.
The unit will give students experience in expository and persuasive writing. This is coupled with basic research skills that allow students to gather information and add it to their knowledge base. Most of all, it will help students internalize information and develop an appreciation of fellow students.
“Brotherhood” month is a popular local celebration in New Haven public schools. It is symbolized by students reflecting and writing essays on diversity, integration, world peace, etc. The essays are judged by a panel and an essay winner is chosen. Students often lack background knowledge about these topics. This unit can precede “Brotherhood” month because it gives students a perspective from which to write.
Race, Language and Separation is a good supplement for teaching about segregation. The unit also focuses on how we use our diverse backgrounds to blend with and unify American culture. America borrows from many cultures. The unit has lessons that explore the etymology of some of our American words and phrases and through that, learn to appreciate the wonderful mixture that is our culture.
(Recommended for Social Studies and Social Development, grades 5-6)