Units on African-American Culture

Wayne Wright

Teaching Methods for Social Studies

Prof. V. Sterling

December 11, 1996
Art DramaExperiencesLiteratureListening
MathMusicPoetryReadingResearch
Social StudiesSpeakingScienceTechnologyWriting

Cooperative LearningDiscovery CenterEvaluationsStrategies

Reading

Title: A time to read

Grade: Fifth

Time: 19 days

Materials:

-book entitled, "Roll of Thunder...Hear my cry" by Mildred D. Taylor (enough for the entire class)
-a sheet of paper

Day 1 to 17

Continue to read the book either at home or in the classroom as an entire class project.

Objective:

The students will learn about different African Americans through reading.

Pre-Lesson:

Ask the students to give the names of authors that they like to read. Some of these may be African Americans. Highlight these authors and record them on the board.

Lesson:

Discuss with the class the book entitled, "Roll of Thunder ...Hear my Cry!" This book is written by Mildred D. Taylor. It is a book that deals with the life of an African American girl during the school year in the depression of the dirty thirties.

Post Lesson:

Have the students continue to read this book on their own. Give the students a piece of paper and have them write down the main characters names and why they are a main character.

Assessment:

Have the students hand in their main character explanations.

 

Writing:

Title: Daily Diary

Grade: Fifth

Time: 18 days

Materials: a separate note book

Daily: Write an entry for each day.

Objective:

The students will gain a better understanding of African Americans through writing

Pre-Lesson:

Survey the class to see how many people keep a diary in some type or another. Have one of the students give the class a definition of a diary. The diary should include things that are important. A diary is a condensed version of an event. It is also contains personal thoughts, feelings, or reactions. It is a method of recording these personal feelings.

Lesson:

Have the students choose a character in the story and keep a personal diary of the character they chose. This diary is to be how they perceive the individual would have felt in the different situations they find themselves in.

Post - Lesson:

It is important to think about how each person is different and sees things in a different light than someone else, so it would be a good idea if you keep your feelings to yourself unless you think you opinion is important. Inform the students that these diaries will become part of a portfolio they will be putting together.

Assessment:

The assessment comes when these diaries are handed in at the end of the unit and included in their portfolios.

Writing:

Title: How will it end?

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials: A sheet of paper

Objective:

The students will gain a better understanding of African Americans through writing a prediction.

Pre-Lesson:

Give the students the opportunity to share with the rest of the class what they think about the first chapter of the book.
Ask the students what it means to make a prediction. What is it that meteorologists use to predict the weather for the next day or next week? ( They make their prediction using the information they have gathered in the past)

Lesson:

Ask the class to reflect upon what has been said and what they know about the different characters. Have them write a prediction about the outcome of the story. Have them use the information they already know from the class discussion as well as from any prior knowledge they brought into the class. Encourage them to include reasons for their decision.

Post-Lesson:

Ask a volunteer to read what they wrote down.

Assessment:

Include this writing in the students portfolio.

Art

Title: Who's Who

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-magazines, newspapers, or other sources of pictures of African Americans

Objective:

The students will gain a better understanding of African Americans through visual art.

Pre-Lesson:

Describe to the students that they will be making a bulletin board using the pictures or photographs of important African Americans.

Lesson:

The students will cut out the pictures of important African Americans and arrange them on the bulletin board with a brief description about who they are. Each student needs to find a picture. There may be more than one picture of each person, but no duplicates are allowed.

Post-Lesson:

Have the students share with the rest of the class about their picture. Have the students describe what it is about the individual that makes them an important figure.

Assessment:

Participation is the method of assessment. Either you found a picture or you didn't.

Art / Math

Title: Anyone for a game of Mankala?

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-egg cartons (enough for the whole class)
-two margarine containers or something similar for every student
-36 beans for every student
-scissors
-tape or staples

Objective:

The students will learn one way the African American children learned to count and manipulate objects.

Pre-Lesson:

Tell the students that today they are going to make a game that African American children play.

Lesson:

Have the students cut off the lid to the egg carton so they are left with the bottom portion of the egg carton. This is the main portion of the game board. The margarine containers are fastened to the ends of the egg carton to create the homebase for the beans.
Once they have completed their art project, the students will need some instruction about how to play Mankala. Player one starts the game by using the container on his/her left as their home base. They take the beans from one of their holes and distributes them evenly into the holes going to the left. If the last bean to be distributed into the holes lands in the homebase, the player gets to go again. If their are more beans left in a players hands after they put one into home base, they are distributed into the opponents side of the game board. If the last bean distributed lands into an empty hole, the beans opposite of it are transferred into the opposite hole.
The player with the most beans at the end of the game is the winner.

Post-lesson:

Ask the students what types of things they like about the game or dislike.

Assessment:
Pass or fail if they made a game or not.
Reading

Title: George Washington Carver

Grade: Fifth

Time: 5 days

Daily:

The theme of George Washington Carver will last the entire week.

Day 1

Materials:
-library resources

Objective:

The students will learn about important contributions of African Americans through the life of George Washington Carver.

Pre-Lesson:

Ask the students if they can think of anyone who contributed an idea or invention that has proved to be beneficial to society.

Lesson:

Introduce the students to George Washington Carver. He is the man responsible for the implementation of peanuts as a viable crop to replace the cotton crop which was rapidly depleting the nutrients of the soil.
Inform the students that there is a field trip to the library planned to see what they can find out about this man or anything related to him.

Post-Lesson:

Have a brainstorming session about what was learned

Assessment:

Test at the end of the week

Writing

Title: Writing you can eat!

Time: 2 days

Grade: Fifth

Materials:
-enough slices of bread for two per student
-one knife for every student
-napkins
-one large jar of peanut butter

Objective:

The students will learn about the contributions of George Washington Carver.

Pre-lesson:

Have the students brain storm about the different uses of peanuts. George Washington Carver discovered over 300 uses for peanuts. Some of these include soap and ink. Tell the students that they are going to use one of his ideas and make a peanut butter sandwich. This activity will require some careful thought and precise descriptions.

Lesson: Day 1

Instruct the students to write clear, concise directions for making a peanut butter sandwich. Make sure they reread their directions to see if they could make a sandwich using these directions.

Post-lesson:

Explain to the students that tomorrow we are going to make a sandwich using one of the directions that were just written.

Assessment:

The success of the directions to see which one makes a sandwich.

Day 2

Lesson:

Place the materials listed above on a table and pick one of the directions that were handed in the day before. Have a student come up to the front of the classroom. Have the student do exactly as the directions say. If the paper says to put the peanut butter on the bread then have them set the jar on the bread. Repeat this procedure for as long as time permits or until a sandwich is made.
Post-lesson:

Discuss with the students the importance for clear and precise directions and the importance of following directions as they are written. Ask the students what they learned about writing clear and concise directions.

Assessment:

The assessment is a test at the end of the week where the students tell about George Washington Carver and the events of his life.

Science

Title: How's does a peanut grow

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-sheet of paper
-marking pencil of some type
-scissors

Objective:

The students will create their own invention using the example of George Washington Carver.

Pre-lesson:

As a whole class, ask the students to give you a definition for an invention. What types of things would you include? What questions do you think George Washington Carver asked himself? How long do you think it takes to invent something?
Each person will be given a choice of things to find out.

Lesson:

Here are some options that you may choose: (Write these on the board for the students to look at)

1. Using your piece of paper, cut it into the shape of a peanut. George Washington Carver thought of over 300 ways to use a peanut. Pick an ordinary object in this room and find a new use for it. Write a description about your invention and record this information on your peanut.

2. Mr. Carver was nuts about plants and was anxious to tell others about them. What are you nuts about and what would you tell somebody who was interested in them as well? Record your findings on the piece of paper that has been shaped like a peanut.

3. Describe to me how to make peanut butter. Include things such as the processes that need to be gone through. Where do peanuts come from, how many are there to a hill, how long is their growing season, how do you harvest them, or how many does it take to make a pound of peanut butter. Record your findings on your peanut shaped piece of paper.

Post-lesson:

Take all of the `peanuts' and put them up on a bulletin board and label the board, "We've gone Nuts." Include this peanut in their portfolio.

Assessment:

The assessment for this portion of the unit plan is a test on what the students have learned about George Washington Carver.

Art

Title: Are you cut out for this?

Grade: Fifth

Time: 2-3 days

Materials:
-6 in. x 6 in. piece of linoleum rubber
-exacto knife with different types of blades such as V shaped, or U shaped blades.
-a black and white picture
-carbon paper
-ink, ink applicator, and paper
-magazines
-access to a photocopier

Objective:

The students will gain a better understanding of important African Americans through the use of visual art.

There are two days allotted for this lesson. The students will get as far as they can on the first day and continue on the second day. A third day may be required.

Pre-lesson:

Express to the students about the safety hazards about using the knife. They must cut away from themselves at all times, they must not use the knife as a weapon...anyone caught doing so will receive an automatic `F'.
Introduce the students to this project by having them find a picture of a famous African American. A photocopy is needed to begin the actual project. Have the students find such a picture.

Lesson:

When the students find a picture, take the picture to the photocopier and shrink it down to a 6 in. x 6 in. piece. Once all of the students have a photocopied picture of this size, have them tape it onto the linoleum with a piece of carbon paper between the two. The carbon paper should be so that the mark from the carbon paper is put onto the linoleum. Have the students trace around the important features or the lines that separate the whites from the darks. Once this is done, have the students remove their picture from the linoleum. Have the students draw lines through the areas they wish to remain white. All of these areas need to be cut down below the original surface level. This is done using the exacto knives. The students need to remove about half of the thickness of linoleum. The scraps go into the garbage. Caution the students not to cut all the way through. All of the cut out regions will remain white and those that aren't cut out will turn black.
After the students get to this part of the lesson, they are ready to proceed with the inking and stamping process. Apply a thin layer of ink to their linoleum cut out using an ink applicator. Roll the applicator in some ink until an even coat is upon the applicator. Roll the applicator across your cut out until all the uncut areas are covered with the ink. The linoleum piece is then turned upside down upon the paper. Press down firmly and remove the piece of paper and look at your print.

Post-lesson:

Allowing these to dry is essential because they will smear. Ask the students to carefully show their print to the class. Have them tell who it is and if they can remember what makes them famous.

Assessment:

This project will be included in their portfolio at the end of the unit plan.

Music

Title: Peanut, Peanut Butter...Jelly!

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-a large piece of paper to write the different verses on

Objective:

The students will learn to appreciate the work of a famous African American through music.

Pre-lesson:

Ask the students if anyone knows the song entitled, "Peanut, Peanut butter...Jelly!" The response is not important, but rather the direction the class now takes. Ask the students to think about what it takes to make peanut butter.

Lesson:

Have the students list the steps that a person was going to go through in order to make a peanut butter sandwich. Using the large piece of paper, organize their thoughts as to the proper order. First they must grow the peanuts, pick them, wash them, dry them, roast them, etc.
Using that same idea, ask them what they would do to get the jelly that is going to go on top of the peanut butter.
All the words or phrases that they come up with are put into a little rap style song for them to perform. This is an entire class project.

Post-lesson:

Point out to the students that it was important to think of all of the steps and to put them into the proper order. This song only makes sense if all of the different verses are in order.

Assessment:

The assessment for this could be to perform it in the kindergarten class.

Social Studies

Title: The life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Grade: Fifth

Time: 2 days

Materials:
-software entitled, "Timeliner 4.0"
-resources from the library
-a computer lab that is equipped with this software

Objective:

The students will use technology to learn about famous African Americans.

Pre-lesson:

The teacher needs to give a demonstration about the software entitled, "Timeliner 4.0" It is a software package which allows the input of important information in a time line fashion. Martin Luther King is a famous African American who stood up for what he believed and was a strong leader during the Civil Rights period. He was greatly appreciated by his people but was shot for what he believed in.

Lesson: Day 1

Class begins by finding out some of the important events in this man's life. The students can go to the library to find out the information that they will put on their time line. Students can work in groups of two or three because of the probability of a lack of computers.
Express to the students that some of the events of his life may not be as important as others, so try to include those that you feel are very important.
There can be bonus points for different events that different students found that others did not find. It may also be helpful if the teacher gives them a couple of events that they should have included in their time line.

Lesson: Day 2

Have the students go to the computer room and input their information into the computer. Have the students print their time line out to show to the class.

Post-lesson:

Have the students share with the class the first thing they found out about this man. Ask the class to see if there was anything that they found that was before that time and ask them to share it.

Assessment:

This time line can be included in their portfolio.

Writing

Title: Are you motivated?

Grade: Fifth

Time: 2 days

Materials:
-information gathered from the day before
-examples of Martin Luther Kings's famous speeches
-a piece of paper or word processor
-arrange a field trip to the legislature

Objective:

The students will learn about famous African Americans through the research and creation of a motivational speech.

Pre-lesson:

Day 1
Take the students to the Legislature building or to a government building where the students might hear a motivational speech.

Day 2
Read the speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave in 1963 in Washington D.C. to the 200,000 people who marched there with him. Tell the class that they will be giving their speeches to the class.

Lesson:

Have the students brainstorm about what types of things should go into a motivational speech. Things such as a main idea, some points to back up that main idea, and some examples that the people listening to it can relate to.
Their assignment is to write a speech that will motivate the class to do something. This will force them to make a strong stand for something and will require them to think about the most effective way to sell that idea.

Post-lesson:

Have the students go around the room and share their ideas.

Assessment:

This assignment can go into their portfolio's

Speech

Title: Now you must act!

Grade: Fifth

Time: 2 days

Materials:
-speech written the day before
-a class list for the students to give a score to

Objective:

The student will convince the class to do something through an oral speech.

Pre-lesson:

Have the students read their speech to themselves.

Day 1 and Day 2

Lesson:

Have the students come up to the front one at a time and read their speech to the class. Have the students in the audience rate the speech on how motivating it was. If they thought the person had a good argument, then a 5 should be awarded. If they thought it could have been stronger, an appropriate number less than 5 should be given.

Post-lesson:

Ask the students why a person would give a motivational speech to certain type of people group and not to another. An answer could be that a motivational speech should produce some type of results. A motivational speech wouldn't be given at an acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Assessment:

Collect the gathered information and tabulate the class scores. Weigh them into an overall score with the teachers grade holding most of the weight.

Drama

Title: Acting it out!

Grade: Fifth

Time: 2 days

Materials:
-tape recorder
-resources from the library or past knowledge

Objective:

The students will display the contributions of famous African Americans through the use of drama.

Day 1

Pre-lesson:

Explain to the class that before the time of television, the radio was an important tool for entertaining or informing the listening audience. It was a time when the whole family would gather around the radio and listen to what it had to say. On it were mysteries, news reports, dramas, and many other types of information.

Lesson:

Today we are going to split up into groups of 4-5 people and create one of these programs. We are going to tape record your plays and play them back to the class. If you are doing a mystery person type of play, do not reveal your person. The class will see if they can figure out who you are by the information given in class. Have the students begin brainstorming about their play. Have them start writing their play.

Day 2

Lesson:

Have the students go into different parts of the school to record their plays on a taperecorder.

Post-lesson:

Ask the students what they learned about creating a radio show. What types of things are needed to make is sound real and believable? Things such as sound effects or expressions could be possible answers.



Assessment:

The assessment for this could be given as a group grade according to the work each student contributed. Each group could grade their own project as to how they think they did.

Listening

Title: Guessing Game with Facts

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-tape recorder
-paper to write their predictions on

Objective:

The students will portrait a famous African American through the use of Drama and technology.

Pre-lesson:

Settle the students down into a listening mode. Give the students a piece of paper for them to write their predictions on.

Lesson:

Begin playing the tapes for the class. Make sure that everyone is listening. If a student isn't listening, ask them a question that comes from the presented materials.

Post-lesson:

Have the students give you their predictions they have written on their piece of paper.

Assessment:

Have the students write their name on the top and hand it in. Their name is worth the credit of participating.

Oral Communication

Title: What did you think?

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Material:
-the book entitled, "Roll of thunder...Hear my cry!"

Objective:

The students will gain information about famous African Americans through their peers.

Pre-lesson:

Refer the students back to the book they have been reading. Today is the day when we will form small groups and discuss the reading.

Lesson:

The students will break up into small groups of 4-5 people in each one and discuss the book they read. They should discuss things such as character developments, how the story changed as it went along, the hidden feelings or motives that are present, or they can share some personal instances when they have felt the same way or have experienced something which relates to the story.

Post-lesson:

Have the students share with the class about their predictions they had at the beginning of the story.

Assessment:

Have the students write a sequel to the story.

Poetry

Title: Dancing with words

Grade: Fifth

Time: 1 day

Materials:
-paper and pencil

Objective:

The students will create a poem in limerick format which focuses on a famous African American.

Pre-Lesson:

Tell the students that a limerick is a comical poem consisting of five lines. Lines 1,2, and 5 rhyme and lines 3 and 4 rhyme.

Lesson:

Read the following example to the students:

There once was a man named Pete
Who had size nineteen feet
He had a few socks
That he filled with rocks
To fool the people walking on the street

Have the students pick a character, a person, or something that relates to what they have learned.

Post-lesson:

Have the students read their poems.

Assessment:

These poems can be included in the students portfolio's.

Research Project

The research project for this class will be a paper on Colin Powell.

The information for this paper can be found using the internet as an information source. Also there are articles and books written that will contain information about this man.

Some of these titles are as follows:


Anonymous, "How Blacks participated in the Republican convention", JET, Vol. 90: Iss. 16: Sept. 2, 1996: 4-10.

Anonymous, "Powell gives opening keynote speech at GOP convention", JET, Vol. 90: Iss. 16: Sept. 2, 1996: 12-15.

Barone, Michael. "The media and the message", US News & World Report, Vol. 121: Iss. 8: August 26, 1996: 26.

Corry, John. "Poupon Powell", American Spectator, Vol. 29: Iss. 9, Sept. 1996: 20-22.

Powell, Colin. "Integrity, kindness and Godliness", Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. 62: Iss. 22: Sept. 1, 1996: 683-685.


Some Books that are available:

Colin Powell: four star general by Elaine Landau

Colin Powell: a man of war and peace by Carl Senna

Colin Powell: soldier/statesman--statesman/soldier by Howard B. Means
Colin Powell sound recording by Warren Brown

Military leaders since World War II by Carl W. Borklund

My American journey sound recording by Colin L. Powell

My American journey by Colin L. Powell

My American journey: an autobiography by Colin L. Powell

Sacred honor: a biography of Colin Powell by David Roth

Haskins, Jim, "Colin Powell- A Biography", Scholastic Inc., New York, 1992.

 

Strategies Used

1. Visualization
2. Classification
3. Hands on
4. Cooperative Learning
5. Description
6. Creativity
7. Summarization
8. Collaboration
______________________________________

EVALUATIONS:

Evaluation of the portfolios

The portfolios need to include the following:

1. Prediction about what will happen 5 4 3 2 1
in the book "Roll of Thunder...Hear
My Cry!"

2. Diaries about a character 5 4 3 2 1

3. Peanut shaped invention 5 4 3 2 1

4. Timeline of Martin Luther King Jr. 5 4 3 2 1

5. Linoleum Art 5 4 3 2 1

6. Motivational Speech 5 4 3 2 1

7. Limerick Poem 5 4 3 2 1

Over all appearance and organization of the portfolio: 10 5 1

_________________________________________________

Weekly Test George Washington Carver Name: ____________

Essay test

1. Explain why George Washington Carver is an important figure in African American history? What are some of his accomplishments and contributions? What made him famous?

Musical Solutions

Here is a small list of some sources for songs dealing with African Americans:

Songs of the Trees by Mildred D. Taylor

Echoes of Africa in folk songs of the Americas by Beatrice Landeck
Songs and tales from the dark continent, by Natalie Burlin

Songs of war & history. Pub. by Richard K. Spottswood

Teaching Music with a multicultural approach Pub. by Va. Reston

Source book of African and Afro-American materials for music educators by James A. Standifer.

Literature Link

Here are some additional books:

Our People by Angella Shelf Medearis

Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman

Joshua's Masai Mask by Dakari Hru

Tanya's Reunion by Balerie Flournoy

Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell



Poetry

Pass it on: African American Peotry for Children

Selected by Wade Hudson, Scholastic Inc. 1993.