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Human Rights and Discrimination

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 5
Reading: Literature Standard 6

Time Frame

5 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


Linda Garvin
Clara Jenson
Patty Lyman
brooke rauzon


Students will learn about discrimination and the many ways people are discriminated against by describing how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.


Background for Teachers


  • discrimination: judgmental; having or forming distinctions.

  • freedom: power to do, say, or think as one pleases.

  • peace: freedom from strife of any kind; condition of security together: with united action; in cooperation.

  • separate: be between; keep apart; divide.

  • courage: meeting danger without fear; bravery; fearlessness.

  • dreams: think of something as possible; imagine.

  • Africa: continent south of Europe; second largest continent.

  • Kente: a brightly colored cloth representing African culture.

  • slaves: one owned by another, or subject to another.

  • plantation: land under civilization; a large farm or estate.

  • underground railroad: secret paths, houses, and people that hid slaves as they traveled to free states.

  • civil war: a war in the U.S.A. between the north and the south states over slavery.

Additional Info for Lesson
  • Use a Venn Diagram for Day 2 when students review the similarities and differences of the characters in The Black Snowman.

  • The Chapter Map for Day 3 can be adapted from the following: Chapter Map

    Book Title: Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman

    Page 1 - Introduction

    Page 2 - Who Was Harriet Tubman?

    Page 3 - At Miss Susan's

    Page 4 - Follow the North Star

    Page 5 - Trouble

    Page 6 - John Tubman

    Page 7 - I'm Going to Leave You

    Page 8 - Harriet Tubman, Conductor

    Page 9 - Nighttime Daytime

    Page 10 - Go On - Or Die!

    Page 11 - A Sad Christmas for Old Rit

    Page 12 - The War Years

    Students will do a summary of each chapter and write a one page biography of Harriet Tubman.

  • Goal Sheet example for Day 5.


    I am who I want to be.
    I choose my path.
    I decide my future.
    I am the catalyst for improvement.
    I am not swayed by others to paths I do not choose.
    I am the master of my life.

    My Goals:

    Long Term Goal

    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal
    Long Term Goal

    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal
    Long Term Goal

    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal
    Short Term Goal

Instructional Procedures

Day 1:

  1. Students will create an individual K-W-L chart about discrimination and human rights. They will write what they know about the topic in the first column. In the second column they will write what they would like to know or questions they have about the topic.
  2. Read the story Martin's Big Words as a class.
  3. As the story is being read, students should take notes on new information they are learning. They will record this in column 3 of the K-W-L chart.
  4. Students will compare what they knew to what they learned.
  5. Students will create a list of ways people discriminate against others.
  6. Introduce the vocabulary for the Human Rights and Discrimination Unit. (See Background for Teachers section.)
Day 2:

  1. Before reading The Black Snowman, have students make predictions about the story based on the book cover and the title.
  2. Students will picture walk through the book.
  3. Read the story.
  4. During the reading students should generate questions about the information in the story.
  5. Also, you should clarify any words or ideas within the text.
  6. After reading, have students summarize the main ideas in the story in a short paragraph.
  7. Also, have students complete the Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the two main characters of the story, Jacob and Peewee. Use adjectives to contrast the different attributes of each character. Use adjectives to compare the attributes both characters share.
Day 3:
  1. Review vocabulary words and meanings.
  2. Have students create a Chapter Map containing a summary of the most important facts and information from each of the chapters. (See Background for Teachers section.)
  3. Read the story Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman
  4. Have students map each of the chapters of the story, writing down the most important facts.
  5. Students will cooperatively group to share their important facts and then determine which facts are truly the most important.
Day 4:
  1. Students will take notes about the character traits and site evidences on sticky notes.
  2. Read The Story of Ruby Bridges.
  3. After reading, have students cooperatively create a Character Trait and Evidence Analysis using the notes that they wrote during the reading describing how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how the events are described.

    (Use a compare and contrast graphic organizer. One side will be the character trait and the second side will be the evidence from the text showing the trait exists.)

  4. Groups will compare their Analysis with other groups.
  5. As a class, students will determine which traits and evidences are the most important.
Day 5:
  1. Before reading Salt in His Shoes, students will make predictions about the story based on the cover of the book and the title.
  2. Students will picture walk through the story and confirm their predictions.
  3. Read the story Salt in His Shoes as a class.
  4. During reading, students will take notes about the main character of the story on large sticky notes.
  5. After reading, each student will create a character web based on the information on the sticky notes.
  6. Have students compare their character webs with other students. Students will look for the most important information.
  7. Students will create a goals and dreams sheet with both long term goals and short term goals.


Students may research topics of study from any of the books that they read. They may look for other evidence of discrimination and bring this to the class. They could use newspapers, nightly news on television, magazines, etc.

Assessment Plan

Day 1: Students will write a one page essay about discrimination and the ways people discriminate against others.

Day 2: Students will check predictions and write a summary of the story The Black Snowman. Students will review the similarities and differences of the characters.

Day 3: Students will write a one page biography of Harriet Tubman using the information from their chapter maps and their Internet search.

Day 4: Students will create a free verse list poem based on the character's traits and the evidences given.

Day 5: Students will create a collage on black paper similar to the collage in the book Martin's Big Words. They will use pictures of themselves, of their interests, and of their goals.


  • Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Doreen Rappaport - ISBN 0786807148
  • The Black Snowman, by Phil Mendez - ISBN 0590448730
  • Wanted Dead Or Alive: The True Story Of Harriet Tubman, by Ann Mcgovern - ISBN 0590442120
  • The Story Of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles, - ISBN 0590572814
  • Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream, by Deloris Jordan - ISBN 0689833717

Created: 08/02/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018