Civil Rights. A. Civil Rights Movement Brainstorming. MLK Malcolm X Rosa Parks Thurgood Marshall Fannie Lou Hamer Ella Baker Segregation Emmett Till Integration Suffrage Court cases Freedom Summer of 1964 March on Washington. Constitutional Rights Voting Act of 1964
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Role of Government and Courts in Preserving / Denying Rights Then and Now
Political Activism and Activists Then and Now
Champaign-Urbana and Illinois During the Civil Rights Movement
Making choices and taking action:We will look at how people took a stand (some died, some were beaten, some were put into jail, etc.). Students will discuss how important it is to stand up for what you believe in and some of the ramifications for doing so. Students will learn about various approaches to taking a stand (i.e. non-violent approach).
Diversity and difference:Students will learn of the struggle of African American people as they fought for equal rights. Students will get a close-up of how life was for African American people.
Justice, rights, and responsibility:Students will learn about the laws and bills surrounding equal rights fro African Americans. They will go over the constitutional rights of African Americans before and after the Civil Rights movement, amendments that were changed/ratified during/after the Civil Rights Movement, and important court cases during that time.
Historically excluded people: Students will learn about the different ways that people are excluded. They will learn about social, economic and racial discrimination, both then and now. Students will learn about the different ways in which people justify racism. They will also identify ways in which exclusion has negatively affected that group of people.
1) What motivates a movement and how does one take place?
2) What is racism and how does it originate?
came to be
Zinn is a good source, because Zinn feels that students need to understand every aspect of what they are studying. Students won't just learn about Martin Luther King Jr. from Zinn's perspective, they will learn about Fannie Lou Hamer and why she was an important part of the movement; they will learn about the court cases that surrounded the Civil Rights movement; they will learn why African Americans were being lynched because they whistled at a white woman, and so on. Zinn will give students a clear view of the event and not the sugar-coated version. We do not expect students to actually read Zinn, but we will use it as teachers to inform our instruction. (p. 435 – 459)
This unit is designed for 5th grade students. It is important because these students are at a very impressionable age and it is important to understand other perspectives to make them well-rounded citizens. This theme is also very recent; its effects are still felt today. The students in our classrooms may feel some of these effects. Diversity is an overarching theme of social studies. Right now this theme is an undercurrent of society, but is rarely discussed except in relation to Affirmative Action. People are very uncomfortable with it, and as a result it is not really discussed in classroom setting except as a “flavor of the month” during Black History month.
This unit uses research and anecdotal evidence highlighting “best practices” to inform instruction. It relies heavily on Doing History and If This is Social Studies, Why Isn’t It Boring?, both of which detail multiple “best practices” of social studies in real classrooms. Our instruction will also be informed by our own practice; we will discover in the course of this unit what techniques work best for our particular group of students.
Although the school does not teach a unit on the Civil Rights Movement, it does have a wide variety of resources to teach it. The library has a whole section dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement, including literature, movies, and lesson plan activities. They also encourage bringing experts (or people who have experienced the Civil Rights Movement) into the classrooms to give presentations or interviews on the subject.
Many of teachers in the school use KWL’s as a way to ascertain what students already know and what they want to know. The school recognizes this strategy and important and necessary for effective teaching.
In interviewing a 5th grade boy I learned that students enjoy hands on learning better than sitting at their desks listening to the teacher talk for a long time. The student also said that he enjoys participating in field trips and activities where the class goes outside. He said that group work was fun, but sometimes he does not like working with certain people.
“I think making connections is important when working with the students in Champaign. They are taught a lot of things that they can’t apply to their outside life and therefore they don’t retain it. I’m not a teacher, so I don’t know many more. I would assume that letting the students work in groups would be effective. I work with children and the big thing now is kids learn better from one another. When they work together they reinforce what they know by explaining it to their group and the people who don’t understand might learn better from their peers.” - Urban League Worker
Levstik, Linda, and Keith Barton. 2001. Doing history: Investigating with children in Elementary and Middle Schools. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
“I think children’s literature is important because students get tired of reading text books, so adding non fiction and fiction texts to the curriculum can engage them. Students also need to see books with characters that look like them, so African American texts would be a nice addition.”
“A variety of good literature, combined with careful teacher facilitation, can help students see and understand…historical perspectives” (Doing History, p.
“Interviewing…is an accessible and comfortable way for students to move beyond their own experiences, and yet it allows them to see how accounts may differ, how sources can vary in reliability, and how conflicting accounts can be reconciled.” Pg. 48
Through interviews, students can personalize what they want to learn about and get a personal and first-hand account about what happened during the Civil Rights Movement. This experience will make the events more real and concrete if they hear about stories from someone who actually experienced them.
“Writing is an important way in which …classmates construct their own historical interpretations…. Writing encouraged students to think about what they knew and could support.” Pg. 11-117
Writing is a great way for students to critically analyze, interpret, and synthesize what they have learned about a specific event or person during the Civil Rights Movement.
Unit Essential Questions
Unit Enduring Understandings
e. Articulate the implications of cultural diversity, as well as cohesion, within and across groups
II. Time, Continuity, & Change.
b. Identify and use key concepts such as chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
d. Identify and use processes important to reconstructing and reinterpreting the past, such as using a variety of sources, providing, validating, and weighing evidence for claims, checking credibility of sources, and searching for causality.
IV. Individual Development & Identity
V. Individuals, Groups, & Institutions and institutional affiliations contribute to personal identity
VI. Power, Authority & Governance
IX. Global Connections
X. Civic Ideals & Practices contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among nations
c. Locate, access, analyze, organize and apply information about selected public issues – recognizing and explaining multiple points of view.
e. Explain and analyze various forms of citizen action that influences public policy decisions
g. Analyze the influences of diverse forms of public opinion on the development of public policy and decision-making.
h. Analyze the effectiveness of selected public policies and citizen behaviors in realizing the stated ideals of a democratic republican form of government.
During this lesson, the students will listen as the teacher reads the book Going North. This activity will be followed by a discussion on the reasons that the family went North and what they encountered on the way. Students will make predictions about what the family might encounter in the North. This will spark their curiosity and give them something look into in the the coming weeks.
The teacher and the students will work together to complete a KWL chart about the Civil Rights Movement. They will also read excerpts from Oh Freedom! and come up with questions for an interview to be completed during the next lesson. Students will also examine other primary sources, including virtual ones that may be found at **library gov**
The students will conduct an interview with an individual who lived through the era of the civil rights movement and who was effected by it directly. The students will use the questions that they developed during the previous lesson to guide this interview. Following the interview, the students will write about what they have learned in their reflection journals.
The students will critically analyze the media as primary source material
The students will explore the institution of racism and the social movement that it spurred through this material
The students will examine a number of primary sources, from photographs to poetry to diary entries to song, in order to try to gain a richer understanding of the social climate at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. The students will analyze and evaluate primary source material by paying attention to its audience and purpose.
The students will explore modern media in order to make a comparison between the social climate then and the present social climate. They will draw conclusions about what they have learned throughout the unit about how the Civil Rights Movement has effected the modern social climate.
The students will make connections through
observing the media, their community and their
school looking for examples of discrimination, or social injustices they want to take a stand on. Students will write a composition explaining the social injustice they have chosen to address. Students will also research their topic, looking for pictures, books, and other resources that give background information. Students will write a short letter to a person they think has the power to help stop the social injustice that they feel strongly about.
Interview with a Student
Interviewing a student about what he knew about the civil rights movement was interesting. At first, I was a little nervous because I had to give him so many prompts and clues to what I wanted him to tell me about. It seemed as if he had no knowledge of the civil rights movement, just names such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. It seriously frightened me that this 11 year-old boy may not have been taught anything about the civil rights movement. However, my fears soon subsided when he began to tell me how Black people were treated in the 1960’s. He told me that Blacks had to use different water fountains, bathrooms, and restaurants. He also said that schools were separated and that the Black schools got no books, and White schools had all kinds of things. He also mentioned that Blacks did not get good jobs and received a very low quality of healthcare.
The young boy mentioned that African Americans got killed because of their skin color. For example, he said that the houses of Black people often got bombed. He stated that White people called Black men boys even if they were grown men. On a brighter note, he knew that Rosa Parks was put in jail for refusing to give up her seat to a White person. He also knew that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister who fought for civil rights in a non-violent way. He said that Martin Luther King wanted equality for all people, Black and White, man and woman.
I was very surprised to hear such knowledge of the civil rights movement, especially after I thought he knew very little. Not only did he talk about the laws that were in place, such as segregation of public places and schools, but he knew how Blacks were treated. This knowledge is key, and something that may not be in textbooks. He also knew about the leaders of the civil rights movement that are always studied, like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. I also asked where he learned this information. He said he learned these things in 2nd and 3rd grade by reading books about the civil rights movement.
In 4th grade, students study Black History Month, which “gets at” discrimination and civil rights. In 5th grade they go to a play about the Underground RR and study the Holocaust. Character Counts is done across the building, which he believes falls under the broad category of civil rights.
When asked what understandings students bring to the table, he responded that they bring a basic understanding of right and wrong. They also learn from parents and adopt some of their attitudes. “We build on a basic idea of treating people fairly,” he says. The school doesn’t tolerate name-calling or degrading other people with racial slurs.
There are three girls in 3A who play at school and in the neighborhood. One girl said that her mother told her that shouldn’t be playing with the little &%^&*($# girl. The principal says that statements like these are “hard to overcome”. He feels that the civil rights education at that school is appropriate at their level and locale. He says that if it’s an issue it needs to be addressed. It’s not always an issue, so civil rights are not always addressed.
He claims that discrimination is a two-way street. There is a lot of black against white discrimination from (Town name) towards students in his town. He alleges that people in (Town name) have ideas about these students from an incident a few years ago.
At a junior high basketball game, a “black grandma” from (Town name) went after an official. There were allegations the the students in this district had called the (Town name) students racially charged names. The principal believes that there is no truth to this allegation.
The school in this district tried to meet with the middle school in (Town name), but were not met halfway in their efforts to do so. The principal says, “We did our part” and indicates that the other school did not do theirs.
He talks about another incident in which the (white) son of the superintendent was benched for cursing during a basketball game, and the superintendent allegedly mouthed to his son, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” The African-American coach got fired. There was a backlash in which the Black Firefighters’ Union showed their support for the coach, and he got reinstated. The principal thought that what the superintendent did to the coach was not right, regardless of skin color.
The first teacher did not really teach any Social Studies because her students are struggling readers. She says she is lucky if she gets to cover one topic. Since the Civil Rights Movement is not in the Social Studies curriculum that she is teaching, it is not taught at all. She might inadvertently read a book about Martin Luther King around his birthday or during Black History month, but that is the extent of it.
The other teacher is the 5th grade gifted teacher. When asked which topics she teaches in her class, she answered that she focused mainly on earlier U.S. history such as the American Revolution or about Native Americans. She also said that she teaches a little about the Civil Rights Movement during Black History Month. At that time, they might watch a movie about Rosa Parks or read about book about a certain theme, such as black inventors, authors, musicians, etc. When asked how she would feel about teaching the Civil Rights Movement, she was very excited. She would be glad to have the chance to teach something that was more recent, that the students can relate to.
How do you feel about the current Social
Studies curriculum in (Town name)?
I feel that the current curriculum doesn’t address
African American rights. I feel that African
American, as well as other students are being
cheated on their education because of the lack of
African American history in the schools.
Did you know the current curriculum doesn’t
have a Civil Rights section?
I didn’t know that the current curriculum doesn’t
have a section on Civil Rights, I thought it was
included but not touched on as much.
Do you think students would enjoy a unit on
I think they would love it. It is something they
are not familiar with and the students will feel
more connected to what they are learning.
Working with a group was easy in our case because the topic was easily sectioned off. Working in a group helped us to get through the interview process far more efficiently than we would have individually.
The current teachers helped up to learn about the importance of this assignment by letting us know how little focus is put on this subject. They also let us know how eager they are to teach it.
It is easier to plan a lesson in the context of a larger unit, particularly when you are trying to get students to understand big ideas. Also, unit planning involves more thinking because lessons must be linked to know another, not just taught in isolation. This integrated process builds, and will thus scaffold students’ learning.
This will influence our future work with children by encouraging us to integrate the civil rights movement into our classroom, since it is so clearly lacking in the local schools’ curriculum. It also helps us to see how students can be personally connected to this topic. In studying the civil rights movement, the students will broaden their perspectives of the larger world.
1)Student Bibliographyhttps://netfiles.uiuc.edu/nolsen/shared/Civil Rights Bibliography/Student Bibliography.doc
2)Teacher Bibliographyhttps://netfiles.uiuc.edu/nolsen/shared/Civil Rights Bibliography/Teacher Bibliography.doc
3) Web Bibliographyhttps://netfiles.uiuc.edu/nolsen/shared/Civil Rights Bibliography/Web bibliography.doc
4) Images Bibliographyhttps://netfiles.uiuc.edu/nolsen/shared/Civil Rights Bibliography/Images Bibliography.doc