The third phase will establish an understanding of a culture less familiar to my students and of a man less mentioned in our society by bringing to light similarities to the well established figure of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Right Movement. In other words, I will teach my children about the exotic country of India, as I do each year for International Day, by way of bringing in a variety of informational texts which depict the many colorful facets of India: the clothing, food, religion, art, music, etc. However, the key to making this country even more meaningful to my students will be in teaching them about Mohandas Gandhi, an equally prominent figure whose living example taught the world about non-violence and in fact inspired MLK himself. For the purposes of this unit as a means to bolster and make more meaningful my current instruction on the country of India, I will not include the daily lessons, which take place during much of Reading and Writing Workshop, as they will be more research based in nature for the purposes of International Day. It is also important to note that most of the texts, which I gather from the public library for our study of India, include sections or chapter about Mohandas Gandhi. However, the lessons which specifically draw together the lives of Gandhi and MLK will take place 1-2 times a week throughout the months of April and May as a way to utilize the foundations built in sections one and two to make the study of India more rich and meaningful. For logistical reasons, the lessons of sections 3-5 of my unit will no longer take place during Plugged Into Reading time, as there are required novels, which need to be covered at this point in the school year. The lesson sequence will be as follows:
Lesson 1: Activating Prior Knowledge
Read aloud the Mahatma Gandhi chapter in
as a way to introduce this historical figure in light of his influence on MLK. Begin a whole class KWL chart on the topic of Gandhi.
The children will begin to create a Venn Diagram which compares and contrasts the two peaceful figures. The children will also record questions they have about this man to use for purposeful reading in their research about India.
Lesson 2: Monitoring Understanding and Specialized Vocabulary
by Demi and model how to monitor comprehension of informational text by way of specialized vocabulary acquisition. For this lesson it would be best to have at least enough copies of this beautiful text for pairs of students to share.
Each child or pairs of children will be assigned one specialized vocabulary word in which they will indicate: The sentence they see the word, what they think the word means based on context clues, the dictionary definition, an image to visually remember what the word means, a sentence of their own using the word and then they will rate the word as to their degree of understanding. These graphic organizers will eventually turn into small posters which depict and briefly explain the vocabulary word and will then be shared whole class and displayed on a word wall dedicated to the study of India and Gandhi. The specialized vocabulary words will include: Karma, Hinduism, Muslim, vegetarian, foreigner, humiliation, determination, prejudice, satyagraha, resistance, hierarchical caste, untouchables, khadi, massacre, British imperialism, nonviolence, Mahatma, imprisonment, protest, fasting, unification, brotherhood, forgiveness and cremation.
Lesson 3: Text Features
The students will explore the text features of
by John Barraclough through a whole-class read and discussion of how they assist us in our understanding. A comparison between
by Demi and John Barraclough version can be discussed as a means to determine how effective visuals can be in illustrative or photographic form.
The students will work on fact boxes surrounding Gandhi's life and Satyagraha movement, which can either include photographs acquired online or illustrations.
Lesson 4: Text Structure: Comparing and Contrasting
Attention will be drawn to excepts in
Tales of Famous Heroes
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation, What it Really Means
by Leslie Holland, where Gandhi's influence on MLK is highlighted. The children will return to their Venn Diagram from lesson 1 and add new information, inferences and connections they have distinguished between the two.
As an exit slip, my students will utilize their notes and prior-knowledge to write an expository essay wherein they look at each man's historical influences, accomplishments, characteristics, dreams and message of peace to the world.