Units on African-American Culture

"THE LIFE

OF A

SLAVE"

African - American
Thematic Unit

Angie Bohls
Elementary Social Studies Methods
Fall 1996
Art DramaExperiencesLiteratureListening
MathMusicPoetryReadingResearch
Social StudiesSpeakingScienceTechnologyWriting

Cooperative LearningDiscovery CenterEvaluationsStrategies


Subjects Covered within Unit:

Day 1: Reading, Writing, Listening
Day 2: Math, Social Studies
Days 3 - 7: Reading, Speaking, Listening, Research, Social Studies
Day 8: Evaluation
Day 9: Art
Day 10: Science
Day 11: Literature
Day 12: Literature ( Library )
Days 13-14: Drama
Day 15: Poetry, Technology
Day 16: Poetry, Public Speaking
Day 17: Music, Listening
Day 18: Extended Experience ( Excursion )
Day 19: Language Arts, Evaluation


Day One


Subject: Reading, Writing, Listening

Title: Life of a Slave

Grade: 5th

Time: 30 - 40 minutes

Objectives:

1. Students will make predictions about what the book Journey Toward
Freedom - The story of Sojourner Truth by Jacqueline Bernard is about
by recording their predictions in their journals.
2. Students will summarize the events in the chapters and share any feelings
about these events by recording them in the journals.

Pre-Lesson:
The students will be asked to make predictions about what they think the book
Journey Toward Freedom - The story of Sojourner Truth is about, what issues will be
discussed in the book, etc. They will record their predictions in their journals.

Lesson:
The students will listen to the teacher read chapter one of the book.

Post-Lesson:
The students will summarize the events of chapter one in their journal and
share any feelings about these events.

Assessment:
By having the students summarize each chapter, the teacher will know if
they are listening while he/she is reading the chapter and in they are gaining
an understanding of the issues dealing with slavery.

Materials Needed:
Journal Notebook Book - Journey Toward Freedom - The story of
Sojourner Truth by Jacqueline Bernard

Strategy Used:
Summarization; Journals; Visualization

*** This lesson will be carried out each day throughout the unit. The teacher
will read one or two short chapters of the book to the students each day and then
allows the students a few minutes to write in their journals. The students may take
the journals home, as they will not be collected until the end of each week. However, the teacher will check them periodically to make sure the students are completing the assignment.



Day Two

Subject: Social Studies

Title: What is Slavery? ( a brainstorming activity )

Grade: 5th

Time: 40 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will gain an understanding of what slavery is by working
cooperatively in small groups and brainstorming together.

Pre-Lesson:
As a large group, review some events that took place in the chapter of the book Journey Toward Freedom - The story of Sojourner Truth by Jacqueline Bernard, which
was read the previous day to them.

Lesson:
In small groups, the students will brainstorm ideas about what slavery is, including everything they know about the lives of African- Americans during that time. Each group will develop a herringbone chart and share their ideas with the class.

Post-Lesson:
As a large group, develop one common brainstorming chart, describing the events dealing with slavery. Briefly discuss and ideas the students do not understand. Display this chart in the classroom.

Assessment:
The students will be asked to write down three things describing slavery or things dealing with events that occurred during the slavery period.

Materials Needed:
Book - Journey Toward Freedom - The story of Sojourner Truth
Paper and pencils for brainstorming

Strategy Used:
Herringbone Technique; Brainstorming


Day Two

Subject: Math

Title: Coming to America

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will gain an understanding of how many slaves there were in the Southern United States during the slave period by comparing the total number of slaves to the population of their state and the surrounding states.
2. Students will create a graph or chart representing the number of slaves in the Southern United States in comparison to the population of their state and the surrounding states.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will discuss how many slaves there were in the South and where they migrated from. They will compare that number to the population of their state and the population of the surrounding states. This will provide them with a visual representation of the total number of slaves in the Southern United States at this time.

Lesson:
Students will create a graph or chart demonstrating what they have learned about the total number of slaves in the Southern United States and compare it with the population of their state and surrounding states.

Post-Lesson:
Students will complete a worksheet with story problems on it dealing with the number of slaves that were born in the Southern United States and the number of slaves that migrated to the United States. The problems will also relate to the comparison charts they made in class.

Assessment:
As a class, discuss the answers to the story problems on the worksheet.

Materials Needed:
Paper for graph or chart Markers Pencils Worksheet

Strategy Used:
Discussion; Worksheet; Teacher Observation









Days Three - Seven


Subject: Social Studies, Reading, Speaking, Research, Listening

Title: Expanding Slavery

Grade: 5th

Time: 40 minutes per day

Objectives:
1. Using the class brainstorming chart, students will broaden their knowledge
of slavery by working together in small groups of two or three people,
researching a specific topic off the chart.
2. With their research material, students will gain a better understanding of
issues related to slavery by presenting a short presentation to the class.

Pre-Lesson:
The students will divide themselves into groups of two or three, depending on the class size and determine which topic they would like to research.

Lesson:
Students will research their specific topic for two class periods and prepare a short presentation for the class. Students must have at least one visual aid in their presentation. The presentations will take two class periods.

Post-Lesson:
The students will orally retell what was learned from the presentations at the end of each class period both days.

Assessment:
For each presentation, the students will be asked to write down one question and answer about the material presented. Some of these questions will be used as exam questions.

Materials Needed:
Access to resources Paper and Pencils Material for Visual Aids

Strategy Used:
Retelling; Prior Knowledge; Cooperative Learning

Possible Research Topics:
Sojourner Truth Martin Luther King
Harriet Tubman Living Establishments of slaves
Underground RR Migration of slaves to America
Ku Klux Clan Different Views of Slavery
Slave Trade Civil Rights
Education of Slave Children

Day Eight

Subject: Evaluation

Title: Test your Knowledge!

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will demonstrate the knowledge they gained about slavery
from the presentations by answering questions on a quiz.

Pre-Lesson:
Before handing out the quiz, the teacher will ask if there are any last questions the students would like to ask.

Lesson:
Students will answer questions on the quiz.

Post-Lesson:
Students will exchange quizzes and correct them in class.

Assessment:
The teacher will collect the quizzes and look over them. This quiz provides the teacher with valuable information, such as how well the students listened to each other’s presentations and how well they can retain information.

Materials Needed:
Quiz containing questions from the presentations, in the form of:
multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, and short essay
Pencils

Strategy Used:
Prior Knowledge
















Day Nine

Subject: Art

Title: Freedom Quilt

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will learn how important freedom was to the slaves by listening to the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt read to them
2. Students will create their own "freedom quilt" based on events from the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and from their prior knowledge about slavery and freedom.

Pre-lesson:
The teacher will read the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt to the students and discuss the issues in the book and other issues they have studied dealing with slaves and freedom.

Lesson:
The students will create their own "freedom quilt" using pieces of construction paper, torn in different sizes. The quilt will resemble a ragged look. The students will glue their pieces of torn paper onto a large white sheet of construction paper, creating their quilt. The students must have a recognizable pattern to their quilt. On some of the "squares" of the quilt, the students will write in black marker the important events that helped free slaves. They may refer to the book that was read in class or any other materials they need to use. Not every "square" needs to have something written on it, just the most important events to them, need to be recorded.

Post-Lesson:
Each student will share what he or she has written on their "quilt". They will share at least one attribute they believe that helped free the slaves.

Assessment:
By having the students model their project after a picture they have seen, the teacher will be able to see the ability of their visual perception skills. This activity also allows the teacher to assess the students knowledge of the major events which led to the freedom of black slaves. He/She will read the events each student has written on their quilt to see that there is at least two major contributions of the slaves freedom.

Materials Needed:
Book - Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt , construction paper, glue, black marker

Strategy Used:
Visualization; Graphic Organizers; Prior Knowledge

Day Ten

Subject: Science

Title: How cotton grows

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will study the growth development of a cotton seed to a cotton plant.
2. Students will plant their own cotton seed and observe it’s growth development by using a chart on the computer.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will study the impact cotton had in the lives of slaves. They will understand why cotton was so important to the slaves and what they did everyday in the cotton fields to keep the cotton growing.

Lesson:
After discussing the importance of cotton to the slaves, the students will learn about the growth development of a cotton seed into a plant. They will learn the various parts of a cotton plant and how to properly care for it. The students will then plant their own cotton seed and watch in grow. Since the growth of the cotton seed requires time, the students will be expected to watch it and record any observations. The students will also be expected to record the amount of water it gets and how often, the amount of sunlight it gets, and any other information they feel is vital to it’s growth.

Post-Lesson:
The students will discuss what cotton was used for during the slavery period and what it is used for today. They will discuss the similarities and differences of the uses between time periods.

Assessment:
Using the information they recorded while their seeds were growing, the students will create a spreadsheet on the computer using the Excel program. They will be required to list the amount of water it received, each time it was watered, and the amount of sunlight it received. They will also include an additional comments section in which they will write about the growth of their cotton seed.

Materials Needed:
Paper cups, soil, cotton seeds, journal notebooks for recording observations, computers and the program Excel

Strategy Used:
Observation; Experimenting/Discovering



Day Eleven
Subject: Literature

Title: Highlight an Author Day

Grade: 5th

Time: 30 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will broaden their knowledge about slavery through the books
written by Virginia Hamilton.
2. Students will learn about the author Virginia Hamilton by discussing the events of her life with the teacher.

Pre-Lesson:
The teacher will ask the students what they know about Virginia Hamilton and
what they would like to know about her life. The teacher will hand out a worksheet asking questions about Virginia Hamilton’s life, which the students may answer throughout the discussion.

Lesson:
Students will listen to the teacher present information about the life of Virginia Hamilton, including books she has written.

Post-Lesson:
The teacher will ask the students what they learned about Virginia Hamilton from the discussion. The students will answer the questions on the worksheet they have not yet answered.

Assessment:
The students will collect the worksheets from the students to see how well they listened and if they learned about Virginia Hamilton.

Materials Needed:
Books written by Virginia Hamilton:
M.C. Higgins, the Great Many Thousand Gone
The House of Dies Drear Zeely
Paul Robeson W.E.B. Du Bois
The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu
Worksheet containing questions about Virginia Hamilton

Strategy Used:
KWL






Day Twelve

Subject: Literature ( Library )

Title: Books Galore!

Grade: 5th

Time: 30 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will use the card catalog to find books dealing with African-
Americans during the slavery period.

Pre-Lesson:
The librarian will review with the students the proper way to use the card catalog to locate specific books, according to topic, title, or author.

Lesson:
The students will use the card catalog to assist them in finding a book about African-Americans.

Post-Lesson:
The students will begin reading the books they selected from the library.

Assessment:
The teacher will observe the students using the card catalog and locating their books successfully.

Materials Needed:
Library or Resource Center

Strategy Used:
Observation; Prior Knowledge



Days Thirteen - Fourteen

Subject: Drama, using literature as a base

Title: Talk Show

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes per day

Objectives:
1. Students will brainstorm questions to ask the guests on the show, who will
represent characters from the book Journey Toward Freedom - The story
of Sojourner Truth.
2. Students will experience the feelings that the characters in the book
experienced through an interactive talk show.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will select three or four characters from the book to be the guests on
the show and one host. Examples of guests could be Sojourner Truth, Peter, or Fredrick Douglas. Students will then brainstorm questions to ask the guests of the show.

Lesson:
The classroom will become a talk show. The teacher will select three or four students to be the guests, one host, and the rest of the class will be the audience. Each member of the audience must ask at least one question relating to events that happened in the book.

Post-Lesson:
After the talk show, the students will explain the emotions and feeling the guests and audience members experienced during the show. Discuss the issues talked about on the show and the success or failure of the show.

Assessment:
The teacher will observe the talk show and evaluate the questions the audience members ask and the way the guests answer the questions. He/She will check to make sure every student has participated in the show by asking at least one question to a guest.

Strategy Used:
Story Drama











Day Fifteen

Subject: Poetry, Technology

Title: Poetry of African- American Literature

Grade: 5th

Time: 30 minutes

Objectives:
1. Using the book the selected from the library, the students will write a
short poem summarizing the events in their book.
2. Students will use the computer to type their poem and import graphics,
adding to the over-all appeal of the poem.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will brainstorm the events of their book, using the Herringbone Technique.

Lesson:
Using their herringbone diagram, the students will write a poem describing the events of their book. The students will use the computers to type their poem. They will also import at least one graphic to their poem.

Post-Lesson:
Students will proof-read a partner’s poem for spelling and grammar error.

Assessment:
The teacher will observe the students while typing their poems on the computer. He/She will note any areas of difficulty the students experience while writing their poems.

Strategy Used:
Herringbone Technique; Brainstorming; Summarization; Observation















Day Sixteen

Subject: Poetry, Public Speaking

Title: Book Poetry

Grade: 5th

Time: 40 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will read the poems they have written about their African-
American book orally to the class.
2. Students will demonstrate proper public speaking techniques while
reading their poems to the class.

Pre-Lesson:
As a class, review the proper public speaking techniques. Remind the students they will be evaluated on this.

Lesson:
Students will take turns reading their poetry about the book they selected from the library orally to the class.

Post-Lesson:
As a class, discuss the areas of improvement the class needs to work on when speaking in public. Also, discuss the various ways students wrote their poems.

Assessment:
The teacher will listen to the students poetry and look for the following things: who the book was about, what happened in the book ( a problem ), and what the solution was to the problem. The teacher will also use a rubric containing certain components of proper public speaking techniques. The students will be rated on a scale of 1 - 5, 5 being superior and 1 being poor, on the following things: posture, voice control, articulation, speed control, and content of poem.

Strategy Used:
Summarization













Day Seventeen

Subject: Music, Listening

Title: Magnificent Melodies

Grade: 5th

Time: 30 - 40 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will study the different types of African-American music by
listening to examples of songs of the various types.
2. Students will sing two songs about slavery to gain an understanding of
how African-Americans expressed themselves through music.

Pre-Lesson:
The teacher will ask the students what they know about African-American music and what they would like to know. Students will then discuss the different types of African-American music, such as jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues.

Lesson:
Students will listen to various samples of the different types of music and discuss the similarities and differences between African-American music and the music of the 1990’s.

Post-Lesson:
Students will sing the African-American songs Early Working Song and
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Assessment:
Each student will write down the names of two types of African-American music they learned about today. They will also name at least one similarity and one difference between African-American music and the music of the 1990’s. The teacher will collect these papers.

Materials Needed:
Samples of jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues music
music for songs Early Working Song and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
paper and pencils

Strategy Used:
KWL









Day Eighteen

Subject: Extended Classroom Experience ( Field Trip )

Title: A Day in the Life of a Slave

Grade: 5th

Time: one full day

Objectives:
1. Students will gain an understanding of what a day in the life of a slave was like by visiting an actual plantation.
2. Students will observe the living establishments of the slaves to provide them with an understanding of how the slaves lived.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will brainstorm questions they would like to ask the tour guide about the life of a slave on the plantation.

Lesson:
Students will take a field trip to a plantation to experience what it might have been like living as slave and being owned by someone else.

Post-Lesson:
Once back in the classroom, students will debrief what they learned while on their field trip, what the liked and disliked, and share any highlights about the trip.

Assessment:
Students will react to the field trip by expressing their thoughts and feelings in their journals.

Materials Needed:
Permission slip from parents transportation to the plantation
meal chaperones journals pencils

Strategy Used:
Brainstorming ; KWL












Day Nineteen

Subject: Language Arts, Evaluation

Title: The End of the Journey

Grade: 5th

Time: 50 minutes

Objectives:
1. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of slavery by explaining what
they learned in this unit.
2. Students will take a short test, evaluating what was learned in this unit.

Pre-Lesson:
Students will think of three or four different things they learned about slavery.

Lesson:
While eating an African-American food eaten by slaves ( prepared ahead of time by the teacher ), the students will sit in a large circle and share what they have learned from this unit. The students will have the opportunity to express any likes, dislikes, or ways to improve this unit. African-American music will be played in the back-ground.

Post-Lesson:
Students will hand in their journals and then take a short quiz.

Assessment:
The students will take a short quiz containing the following questions:
1. Who is Sojourner Truth?
2. What was the Underground Railroad?
3. Describe a typical day in the life of a slave.
4. Where did slaves originally migrate from and why did they come
to the United States?
5. Briefly compare the Southerner’s view of slavery to the views of the
African-American slaves.

Strategy Used:
Summarization; Prior Knowledge; Quiz


Bulletin Board Idea




Virginia Hamilton

Virginia Hamilton is an American author of children’s books who’s heroes of her stories dignify the heritage of African-Americans. Her honors include the 1975 Newberry Medal and the 1975 National Book Award for the novel M.C. Higgins, the Great.
Other books Virginia Hamilton has written are:
Zeely
The House of Dies Drear
Many Thousand Gone
The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu
The Planet of Junior Brown
W.E.B. DuBois
Paul Robeson


Using Computer Software Program

Post Cards



The computer software program, Post Cards, would be an exciting way for students to visit the country many slaves migrated from. When discussing the migration of slaves, I would incorporate this program. The students will be able to visit Africa and learn about the various traditions of their culture, way of life, occupations, and famous people from that country. This program animates many things and uses excellent graphics and sound. It provides students with the opportunity to write about the places they learn about by writing post cards to other people. This is a neat way to study the migration of slaves.