- Thinking & Reasoning
- Social & Civic Responsibility
This lesson will involve work in oral language, concepts of print, spelling, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing with the use of one book, The Black Snowman.
Main Curriculum Tie:
English Language Arts Grade 6 Writing Standard 2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
- A book for each student. The Black Snowman, by Phil Mendez, illustrated by Carole Byard.
- Venn Diagram (pdf) for each student.
- Materials to complete each project.
Background For Teachers:
This lesson is designed as a two-three week unit taught during February, Black History Month. The pages of the book, The Black Snowman, will need to be numbered. Begin with 1 after the dedication page.
- To emphasize a point: again to repeat indeed with this in mind for this reason in fact truly to emphasize
- To show time: first second third prior to meanwhile today tomorrow yesterday next week later afterward immediately finally then next in the meantime as soon as when
- Add information: again also additionally in addition another besides equally important for example for instance furthermore likewise moreover further next finally as well together with along with
- To conclude or summarize: as a result finally in conclusion consequently thus therefore accordingly due to in summary in short to sum up all in all To Clarify: that is in other words put another way stated differently to clarify for instance
- Ashanti: A tribe in western Africa
- Kente': a brightly colored cloth with magical powers
- forefathers: our ancestors
- Africans: people native to and living in Africa
- descendant: an offspring of a certain ancestor, family or group
Intended Learning Outcomes:
Using the book The Black Snowman, seven standards will be covered from the Utah State Core for 6th Grade. They are oral language, concepts of print, spelling, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.
Student created book.
- Read the book The Black Snowman together and discuss.
- Number the pages of the book. Start after the dedication page.
- Have the students work with a partner and reread the book several times to get the flavor of the story and the proper expression.
- Reread the book ach day that you work on this project. This will keep the story fresh in the minds and will build fluency at the same time.
- Write the title at the top of the page.
- An illustration that captures the main theme of the book must consume most of the page. It may be hand-drawn or computer generated.
- Put your name at the bottom of the page.
Write a critique regarding your feelings about the book. Make your opinion clear.
- Write the definition of ethnic.
- Write about things you are familiar with that have ethnicity.
Make a Venn
Diagram (pdf) of the attributes of Peewee and
Jacob. This will be used to compare and contrast them in an essay. After predicting,
reading and discussing the book, the students will compare and contrast attributes
of Jacob and Peewee.
- Pass out Venn Diagram (pdf) and ask the students to list as many attributes as possible. Do a Venn on the board. Write down several of their responses.
- Ask them to turn to the following pages in their book and see if they can locate more attributes.
- Page 6: frightened, angry, well-used (hand-me-downs), furious
- Page 8: mama's boy, not confrontational, sarcasm
- Page 10: emotional, embarrassed, grudge
- Page 11: helpful, moody
- Page 13: admires brother, adjusts to the situation, talkative
- Page 16: cooperative, concern
- Page 19: determined
- Page 21: suspicious
- Page 26: agree
- Page 28: believer
- Page 29: denial, resourceful
- Page 30: confusing
- Page 31: curious
- Page 34: questioning
- Page 36: selfish, determined (again)
- Page 42: believer (Jacob)
- Page 43: fortunate
The student will then write a five paragraph informative essay.
Encourage the students to use strong transitional words. (These can be found in the Background for Teachers section of this lesson.)
- Introductory paragraph
- Attributes of Jacob
- Attributes of Peewee
- Similarities of both
Using the information from their Venn Diagram, students will compose a five-paragraph essay comparing and contrasting Peewee and Jacob.
Use the writing format worksheet for prewriting.
- Paragraph one is the introduction. This is about three or four well-constructed sentences.
- Paragraph two tells the attributes that are specific to Jacob.
- Paragraph three reveals the attributes that are specific to Peewee.
- Paragraph four tells the similarities of both boys.
- Paragraph five is the conclusion/summary.
Famous African Americans
- Have students make a two column chart listing ten African Americans in one column and their detailed contribution to our society in the second column. Remind students to include a header on their chart.
- Explain to the students that they will select one of the famous African Americans to research and then create a six slide PowerPoint presentation according to the criteria in the handout.
- Slide One:
- Name the person
- Your name and date
- Slide Two:
- Background information
- Family Life
- Slide Three:
- Turning Point
- Slide Four:
- Successes and accomplishments
- Slide Five:
- His/her contribution to society
- Your feelings/opinions regarding
- Slide Six:
Henry Aaron , Ralph D. Abernathy, Louis Armstrong, Arthur
Ashe, Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker, Count Basie, Mary McLeod Bethune, Edward
W. Brooke, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph J. Bunche, George Washington Carver, Shirley
Chisholm, Countee Cullen, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Miles Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr.,
Frederick Douglass, Charles R. Drew, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul L. Dunbar, Katherine
Dunham, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson, Nikki Giovanni, Alex
Haley, Virginia Hamilton, Lionel Hampton, Lorraine Hansberry, Patricia R. Harris,
Matthew A. Henson, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Langston Hughes, Jesse L. Jackson,
Scott Joplin, Barbara C. Jorday, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Jr.,Malcolm
X, Thurgood Marshall, Jan E. Matzeliger, Ronald McNair, Garrett A. Morgan, Jesse
Owens, Rosa Lee Parks, Sidney Poitier, Leontyne Price, Frank Robinson, Jackie
Robinson, Mildred Taylor, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Booker
T. Washington, Ethel Waters, Phillis Wheatley, Daniel Hale Williams, Granville
T. Woods, Andrew J. Young, Jr.,
Things That Are Black
- Think about ten objects or situations you have encountered that are "black". Are they good? If so, what was their value? If bad, why?
- Have students construct a three column chart. In the first column, list the object. In the second column, determine whether it is good or bad. In the third column tell why. Remind the students to include the header.
- Review Story Elements with the students: Plot, Characters, and Setting
- Have students identify the Story Elements using well-constructed sentences.
The purpose of this activity will be determined in the student's message. It should be based on the observation that even though black is the outside color, we are all the same on the inside.
- Use seven different colored crayons (excluding black)
- Color the entire page a solid blend using all crayons.
- Cover the multi-colored page with SOLID BLACK.
- Using something sharp such as a paper clip, scratch away a message that depicts the theme of the book.
- Cover the page with spray or plastic wrap so the colors don't get on the opposite page.
- EXAMPLES: We're all the same color on the inside. Everyone's heart beats for equality. Happy ain't got no color!
- Have students write a poem about Jacob's feelings regarding his life before and after he met The Black Snowman.
- Any poetry form is acceptable.
- Have students list at least ten adjectives that describe Jacob. Strategically decorate the perimeter of the poem with them. The adjectives may also be included in their poem.
- Instruct students to write a one-page personal narrative regarding their knowledge and opinions of discrimination. (The paper may be double spaced and a fourteen point font.)
- Encourage students to clearly state their position and feelings regarding discrimination.
- Students should also include situation(s) in which they may have felt discriminated against or have shown discrimination towards someone else.
- The narrative may also include ideas on what can be done to end discrimination.
- Remind students to recapture their position in the conclusion.
- On the last page of the book a fireman notices the Kente lying in the snow. He picks it up and takes it to his child. Have the students pretend that THEY are that child. Ask how they would use the cloth, keeping in mind it still possesses magical powers from the great Ashanti tribe from Africa.
- Have students color your Kente and read about its powers.
- Instruct students to attach the Kente to the top of a paper and beneath it write how they will use those powers in their life.
- Attach your writing on the bottom of the page. (Vocabulary and spelling words can be found in Background for Teachers.)
Strategies For Diverse Learners:
Partner the "at risk" child with a student that can be a support to him/her.
Have the gifted student find other books that might be used in the same way as The Black Snowman. Let them write a unit that could be used in the classroom.
The Black Snowman, by Phil Mendez.
Created Date :
Aug 02 2005 11:16 AM