Eloise Greenfield's "Neighborhood Street" and "The Meeting" from the book
Night on Neighborhood Street
will be used to introduce this part of my unit. "Neighborhood Street" describes the events that take place on a street in the community. It begins with the waking up of the children and spans a whole day until night falls on the neighborhood street. "The Meeting" depicts a Neighborhood Block Watch Meeting that gets heated when one man tries to start a fight. It demonstrates conflict resolution which again ties in nicely with our social development curriculum.
"There Is A Wading Pool in Our Park" from Arnold Adoff's
illustrates a hot summer day when the fire hydrants are opened for the children in the neighborhood. This poem is one which many of my children should be able to relate with since they live in the city where hydrants are often opened for children on very hot days.
follows a young girl as she flies over New York City. She describes various points of interest on her journey such as the George Washington Bridge, the new Union Building her father's working on, etc.
We will then read two poems from Langston Hughes'
Dream Keepers and Other Poems
entitled "My People" and "I, Too" and Lucille Clifton's "Listen Children" from
Pass It On: African-American Poetry for Children
, all of which speak about African-Americans' feelings about their heritage. "My People" describes the beauty of the African-American people, as does "I, Too" in which the speaker is sent to eat in the kitchen when company comes because of his dark skin; he looks to "Tomorrow", when no one will dare send him away: "They'll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed—/I, too, am America." 13 "Listen Children" urges African-Americans to remember that despite all they have had to endure, they have always loved each other.
"we have been ashamed
hopeless tired mad
we loved us
We have always loved each other
children all ways
pass it on" 14
I will wrap up this section with Eloise Greenfield's
which talks about growing up and how our daydreams change as we grow and learn. I thought this would be a good way to end because it's my hope that as I teach this unit my children too will grow and change and develop new attitudes about their culture as well as others.
Possible activities for this section include field trips in and around New Haven to expose students to what their community has to offer; invite people from the community to come in and speak to the class i.e. a fireman, a police officer, etc.; some type of community service in the "Beecher School Community" i.e. cleaning up the school grounds, planting flowers around the school, creating artwork for display around school, etc.; study of famous African-American women in
Dinner At Aunt Connie's House
as well as other famous African-Americans; create portraits of famous African-American women for our performance; write reports on famous African-Americans; choral readings of poems in unit; design a quilt of books and authors read throughout this unit; and celebrate "Eloise Greenfield Day!" on which students will share favorite poems written by the author.