Social Studies - 3rd Grade
Standard 3 Objective 1
Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1
Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 2
Social Studies - 5th Grade
Standard 5 Objective 2
5 class periods of 45 minutes each
This lesson plan is designed for students in the 3rd through 5th grades. In this lesson students will be introduced to the history of African-Americans in the United States. This lesson includes a discussion of the history of slavery, discrimination, and the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, students will have an opportunity to learn about more contemporary issues and challenges facing African-Americans in United States and Utah.
Teachers should have an understanding of the complex issues surrounding race relations in the United States, specifically between black and white communities. Teachers should know the various laws and legal systems that have created an unjust racial society in the United States. Teachers should be able to discuss these issues at a level appropriate for their classroom/students.
Students should know the various groups living in their community (ethnic/racial, religious, cultural, etc). Students might know about the history of slavery, emancipation, and the Civil Rights Movement in the Untied States, but this is not necessary for the lesson.
Begin the unit/class by writing "African-Americans" on the board, with the subheadings, "Don't Know" and "Think We Know" below.
Have the class spend a few minutes thinking about what they do and do not know about African-Americans. Once the students have had time to think of their answers, begin making a list. Leave the list for the remainder of the class.
There are three "Reading Rainbows" programs that address issues related to slavery in the United States. (Program 22: "The Patchwork Quilt"; Program 96: "Follow the Drinking Gourd"; Program 130: "The Carousel"). Resource material for each of these films can be found on the Reading Rainbows website. Some school library's might own VHS or DVDs of the episodes. Books are also available for each.
Discuss with the class what they have learning (from viewing or reading the story). See what items they might want to change on the "Don't Know" or "Think We Know" sides of the list the class made.
Have the students write (1 page) about whether they think it was easier or harder for African-Americans to live in Utah and why they feel this way.
At the start of class post a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on a wall in the classroom.
Read the document to the class and discuss what they learned from the reading. Be sure to remind the class that many slaves remained captive, because their owners did not release them. Discuss with the class why African-Americans came to Utah (work on the railroads, farm, escape prejudice and indentured servitude).
Either read to the class or distribute copies of selected excerpts from Missing Stories. Discuss the stories with the class, relating what they learned from the readings to the material from the previous day/lesson.
Each student should pick a story (from Missing Stories), that they related to or were moved by. Write (1 page) about why you feel this way. What was it about this story that you could relate to?
Review the stories from the previous lesson. Discuss what the struggles/obstacles each individual faced and what was important to them (values).
Read (as a class or individually) the second set of excepts from Missing Stories. These are stories from people living in Utah during/after WWII. Discuss what changed in society during that time period (African- Americans became important in the war effort, both at home and internationally). Discuss as a group how these stories are similar and different from the previous lesson. During this discussion, review the homework assignment from the previous day.
Write about what you personally could have done to make one of the storyteller's life a little brighter. (i.e. could have made a valentine for Doris Frye. What would you write on it?)
As a class or individually, read Terry Lee Williams story. Talk with the class about the Civil Rights Movement and what changes in U.S. culture have occurred in the past couple of decades. Discuss why it was important for everyone (not just African Americans) to have Martin Luther King Day celebrated in the United States and Utah.
Have the students think about a time in their life when they, or someone they care about, was treated unfairly. Have the students create their own "missing story" from the other person's perspective or their own point of view.
Complete the writing of your own "missing story"
Give the students time to draw a picture that can go along with their "missing story." Students will share their stories at the end of class.
Read to the class, Smoky Nights by Eve Bunting, about the Los Angles riots. Discuss the book with the class.
Bunting, E. (1994). Smoky Night. Harcourt Children's Books.
Kelen, L.G, & Stone, E.H. (2000). Missing Stories: An Oral History of Ethnic Minority Groups in Utah. Utah State University Press. Logan, UT.