The purpose of my Postwar America: King and the Civil Rights Movement, is two-fold. I want students to gain a better understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. I also want them to develop stellar character and leadership skills.
The title of my unit is Postwar America: Civil Rights. My unit will focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. It is designed for 5-8 graders, although it could be adjusted to meet the needs of younger and older students. It is a thematic unit that will take approximately fifteen 1-hour class periods to complete. Language arts, math, science, social studies, music and art will make up the thematic spectrum. This unit will be taught around the time of Dr. King's birthday or Black History Month. There will be a special wall in the classroom dedicated to this unit. This wall will project thematic nature of this unit. Dr. King once stated, "Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education. This unit was designed to develop student character and set them on a course to be life long learners.
· Students will gain an increased awareness and appreciation of Dr. King's fight for equality and justice.
· Students will appreciate the benefits of living a life of integrity.
· Student will develop and demonstrate leadership skills that will help them better our society.
The language arts component will take up the majority of the unit. Students will begin this unit by discussing anticipation guide statements. These statements, no more than five, are designed to build background knowledge and focus students to the unit at hand. Anticipation guide statements should always be debatable. Students enjoy debating these types of topics and shall enjoy this activity. I have developed my anticipation guide statements mainly from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., On Leadership by Donald T Philips. I will read and discuss a chapter of this book to my class 10-15 minutes a day. This book is inspirational and motivates people to be good leaders. It focuses on how King developed his leadership skills throughout the Civil Rights Movement. You can use the anticipation guide statements listed in lesson number one or develop your own to suit your focus .Be sure to monitor the time wisely. Sometimes students can stay on one statement for a whole class period!
The teacher concludes this lesson by recording student responses and questions to the "K" and "W" sections of a K-W-L graphic organizer. The student writes: What I know, what I want to know, and what I have learned. This l gives the teacher a chance to assess the students' background knowledge of the civil rights movement. The KWL charts will be kept in specialized student folders for this unit. I will provide the folders for the students. Each class will have a distinct color.
Students will study King's "I Have A Dream" speech and discuss the rhetorical influences of this speech. They will look at the oratorical devices King used to add vitality and force to his speech. After studying King's "Dream" speech, students will create their own "I Have A Dream" speeches. Students who need addition support will be given an outline to follow to complete their speeches. Student work during this unit will be posted on a designated wall in the classroom to reflect its thematic nature.
Students will write 5-paragraph persuasive essay on what it takes to become a great leader. They will utilize information read and discussed within the classroom to help them come up with ideas. The process of writing a persuasive essay will be reviewed for the students. Students will compete in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest.
Students will also be responsible for knowing the definitions and spellings of many vocabulary terms. Terms like segregation, boycott, equality, justice, Jim Crow, prejudice, discrimination and culture to name a few. Students will strengthen their dictionary skills during this time.
Students will watch 2 movies about the civil rights movement. Both of these movies are based on true stories. The first movie is called Glory Road, the second, Ruby Bridges. Glory Road is the story of a 1966 college basketball team that changed college basketball and nation. They were confronted with tremendous racial obstacles on their way to a national title. Ruby Bridges is a story of a black family's pursuit of educational equality during the 1950s.While watching these movies students will do a "scavenger hunt". They will copy down important information from the films. They will be encouraged to write down as many things as they can. Upon viewing both films students will compare and contrast them. I will make a Venn diagram using butcher paper and stick it to the white board. A Venn diagram is a graphic organizer that helps students compare and contrast information. Usually they are two circles that overlap to their centers. This creates 3 compartments. In the middle section the students write what makes the things the same. In the outer sections of the diagram information is recorded on how two things contrast. Each circle will have a title of the movies viewed. Students will compare and contrast the two movies as I record their responses. The Venn diagram will be hung in the classroom for students and visitors to reflect upon.
I would like to include a play of some kind depicting civil right challenges. Students will utilize the timeline they come up with to create a play or skits to be performed at Multicultural Night at or school. Most of the rehearsal for the play could be done before or after school. I think I have a title already…The Dream. Students could act out scenes like the bus boycott, the Sit-in Movement, the Albany Movement, the Birmingham Letter and Campaign, and the March on Washington. Students would conclude the play with a rendition of the I Have A Dream speech.
For an art assignment students will create a stamp in King's honor. Teachers may want to collaborate with their school's art teacher on design materials and strategies to enhance this project. They will also create a moral dedicated to King's legacy. Students will draw pictures and write quotes. Students will display their artwork in a hallway area of the school. I would love to have the local news station interview students on their accomplishments.
For the math segment students will complete word problems that pertain to state standards. Students will solve problems like: Dr. King was born in 1929 and died in 1968. How old would he be if he were alive today?
Teachers may find it beneficial collaborate with one of your schools math instructors or coaches to enhance this lesson The timeline I mentioned earlier would be included in this segment.
Students will play the game, "Who Wants to be A Civil Rights Expert?" This is a game I came up with based on the TV game show, "Who Wants to be A Millionaire?" The game starts with students putting events in chronological order. I use the overhead projector to show events labeled a) to d). Students have to say the correct order of sequence using only the letters. Like b,d,a,c or a,d,b,c for example. The student who answers correctly first comes down to play the game. A student must answer 6 questions to become a "civil rights expert". All questions are copied onto transparencies to be placed on the overhead.
The questions get harder as we go along. Contestants can ask a friend and request a 50/50. If it's a true or false question the student may poll the class. If a student answers all 6 questions correctly he/she will win a prize and certificate. Students who do not become "experts" receive a consolation prize.
All students are required to complete a book report on Dr. King during this unit. The book report will is a major part of the homework section of this unit. Each book most be approved by the teacher. This will enable the teacher to differentiate the instruction to some degree. Students will have two weeks to complete this homework assignment. Students should be given a book report guide to follow.
Teachers should assess students using various methods during this unit. I will use scoring rubrics, journal entries, oral presentations, tests and quizzes, and general classroom participation. The unit will conclude with students completing the "L" section of their KWL charts.