Units on African-American Culture
The Underground Railroad
by Wendy Schoenrock 
Art DramaExperiencesLiteratureListening
MathMusicPoetryReadingResearch
Social StudiesSpeakingScienceTechnologyWriting

Cooperative LearningDiscovery Center

Bulletin Board

EvaluationsStrategies

I will have three different centers set up in the classroom.
Center 1: Will have all different kinds of books about African Americans and books written by African American authors.
Center 2: Will have different newspapers and magazines that highlight African Americans of today.
Center 3: Will be a computer center that the students can use to look on the Internet to find out more about African Americans.

Day 1 Cooperative Learning
Lesson 1
Time: One class period

Materials:
- Students will each need a piece of paper and a pencil
- Bulletin board set up with the words "African Americans that we admire"

Objectives:
After discussing that February is African American month, the students will write down three African Americans that they admire. Then they will tell why they admire those people.

Pre-lesson
Ask the students if they know why February is an important month (African American month). Ask if they know why they are called African Americans (they were brought from Africa to America).

Lesson
1) Have students get into groups of three.
2) Have each student write down three African Americans that they admire (Oprah Winfrey, Kirby Puckett, etc.)
3) Have each student tell the other students in their group who they wrote down and why they admire that person.

Post-lesson
Have the students write the names of the African Americans on the bulletin board under the heading "African Americans that we admire:".

Day 2 Reading and Writing
Lesson 2
Time: one class period

Materials:
- Book: Nettie’s Trip South
- each student will need paper and a pencil


Pre-lesson:
Ask students if they remember why February is an important month. Ask students if they know how the African Americans that came to America got here, why they came (brought here for slavery).

Lesson:
1) Read Nettie’s Trip South to the class.
2) Discuss the difference between hired helpers, such as cooks, house cleaners, farm workers or child caretakers who work for a person who pay them, and slaves who also did these jobs for a person who owned them as a slave. What decisions can hired helpers make about the money they earn? (They can decide to move and get a different job, they can spend the money on clothing, shelter and other things that they want.) What decisions can slaves make? (They get food, shelter and clothing, but have few in any choices about these things. Slaves cannot change jobs, move to another place unless they are sold to someone else and are told to move.)

Post-lesson:
Have each student write a summary of the book Nettie’s Trip South

Assessment for the summary will be based on:
1) The length of the summary (should be three to five sentences).
2) The main points of the story should be included in the summary.
3) Spelling and grammatically correct


Day 3 Reading with timeline and story map
Lesson 3 (Cooperative Learning)
Time: One class period for two days in a row

Materials:
- Book: Walking the Road to Freedom

Pre-lesson:
Tell the students that we would continue talking about slavery today. Tell them that many people believed that slavery was wrong and they worked to help slaves run away to freedom to states that slavery was illegal. The hidden routes and secret stopping places were called the Underground Railroad.

Lesson:
1) Read the book Walking the Road to Freedom (A story about Sojourner Truth) to the class.
2) Have the students get into groups of two.
3) Have the groups make a timeline of Sojourner Truth’s life according to the book. They should also write a paragraph about why their group thinks that Sojourner Truth was brave in helping the slaves escape to freedom.

Post-lesson:
Have each student make a story map based on the book. Emphasize the problems for slaves and the ways that Sojourner Truth tried to resolve those problems.

Day 4 Math and Geography
Lesson 3 (cont.)

Materials:
n Book: Walking the Road to Freedom
n Book: If You traveled on the Underground Railroad
n Maps of the Underground Railroad

Pre-lesson:
Discuss the Underground Railroad and how Sojourner Truth contributed to the Underground Railroad.

Lesson:
1) Have the students get into groups of two.
2) Have the students use the books Walking the Road to Freedom and If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad to estimate the distances of different routes taken on the Underground Railroad.
3) Have the students mark important rivers and boundaries on the map.



Post-lesson:
Discuss how the slaves knew where to go on the Underground Railroad and when they had reached a free state. Also discuss why the routes were called the "Underground Railroad".

__________________________________________________________

Day 5 Reading and Social Studies
Lesson 4 (Readers Theater)
Time: two days for one class period each

Materials:
n Book: The Drinking Gourd
n picture of the constellation, the Big Dipper
n gourd
Pre-lesson:
Show the children a picture of the constellation, the Big Dipper, and point out its relationship to the North Star. Show the students the gourd and discuss how you would make it into a dipper for water.

Lesson:
1) Read The Drinking Gourd to the class.
2) Have some of the students act out the words as some of the other students read the words.

Post-lesson:
Have the children tell a story about different events that they may have encountered if they were escaped slaves trying to make it to freedom. Remind the students that slaves were not allowed to learn to read or write and so story telling and singing were ways that they shared information and feelings.

Day 6 Music
Lesson 4

Materials:
Music and words to The Drinking Gourd

Pre-lesson:
Ask if the students remember why songs were important to the slaves.

Lesson:
Sing the drinking gourd song (words to the song are as follows)

Chorus:
Follow the drinking gourd!
Follow the drinking gourd!
For the old man is a-waiting
for to carry you to freedom
If you follow the drinking gourd.
When the sun comes back,
and the first quail calls,
Follow the drinking gourd!
For the old man is a-waiting
for to carry you to freedom
If you follow the drinking gourd.

Verse 1:
The riverbank makes a very good road,
The dead trees will show you the way.
Left foot, peg foot, traveling on,
Follow the drinking gourd.
(Repeat chorus)

Verse 2:
The river ends between two hills,
Follow the drinking gourd.
There’s another river on the other side,
Follow the drinking gourd.
(Repeat chorus)

Verse 3:
When the great big river meets the little river,
Follow the drinking gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom
If you follow the drinking gourd.
(Repeat chorus)
Post-lesson:
Discuss with the class what the words to The Drinking Gourd may mean.


Day 7 Social Studies (Speaker)
Lesson 5
Time: One class period

Materials:
Clothing, wig, etc. to dress up like Harriet Tubman

Pre-lesson:
Earlier in the day tell the students that they will be meeting a very important person today.

Lesson:
Dress up like Harriet Tubman and tell about her life as a slave and how she escaped from slavery and helped more than 300 slaves escape slavery through the Underground Railroad.

Post-lesson:
Tell the students that they will be learning more about me (Harriet Tubman) in the days to come.


Day 8 Reading (literature)
Lesson 6
Time: three days for one class period each day

Materials:
Book: Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky

Pre-lesson:
Ask students how much they remember about the life of Harriet Tubman. Have the students get into groups of threes and brainstorm what they know about Harriet Tubman’s life.

Lesson:
1) Read Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky to the class.

Post-lesson:
Still in their groups, have the students add anything to their list that they may have learned by reading this book.

Day 9 Art (time line), reading & Social Studies
Lesson 6
Time: One art period

Materials:
Construction paper
Resources that can be used to find events that happened in Harriet Tubman’s life.
Scissors
markers

Post-lesson:
Have the students each make railroad cars leaving room to write. Have the students make a time line of Harriet Tubman’s life on the railroad cars.

Assessment will be based on:
Number of cars on the train (should be at least five).
Accuracy and order of events
Dates should be included on the railroad cars.

Day 10 Music
Lesson 6
Time: one music period

Materials:
Word’s to "Let My People Go"

Pre-lesson:
Ask the students if they remember the book that we read about Harriet Tubman, Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky. Ask them if they remember the song that they sang and what it meant.

Lesson:
1) Teach the words to the students.
2) Have the students sing the song.

Post-lesson Writing
Have the students write their own song or poem that would help someone get to their house from the school.



Change bulletin board: Will have pictures and facts about Harriet Tubman, Faith Ringgold and Sojourner Truth. Will also have the picture titled "Safe For Now" by Janice Northcutt Huse.


Day 11 Reading and Brainstorming
Lesson 7 (Highlight an author)
Time: one class period

Materials:
book: Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
Internet and Library access

Pre-lesson:
Ask students if they remember who the author of Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky is (Faith Ringgold).

Lesson:
1) Read Tar Beach to the class.
2) Have the students get into groups of three.
3) Have them compare Tar Beach and Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky.
4) Have them write down things that are similar in Faith Ringgold’s two books that we read or the things that are similar about her writing style in the two books and also the differences in each area.

Post-lesson:
Go over their answers as a class.

Day 12 Research for Writing Project
Lesson 8
Time: one class period for 2 days

Pre-lesson:
Tell the students that they are going to write a newspaper article about Faith Ringgold.

Lesson:
1) In their groups of three from yesterday the students will research Faith Ringgold. They can use the library, the Internet or any other source they can find.

Post-lesson:
Tell the students that they will have some free time to work on this and they will write the article during this class period tomorrow.

Day 13 Writing
Lesson 8

Lesson:
Students will work together in their groups to write a newspaper article about Faith Ringgold.

Post-lesson:
The teacher will put the articles that the groups wrote into newspaper form so that they can read what the other groups wrote.

Assessment:
Each member in the group will assess the whole group and the other members of the group. They will use a rubric that assesses the following:
1) Participation in research
2) Participation in writing the article
3) Overall participation and cooperation


Day 14 Science
Lesson 9
Time: one class period for 2 days

Materials:
Internet and Library access

Pre-lesson:
Discuss with the class why the slave owners may have wanted a lot of slaves (to get a lot of work done). Many slaves picked and sorted cotton. Ask the students if they know what machine was invented to make picking and sorting cotton easier and faster (the cotton gin).

Lesson:
1) Each student will pick a different machine that was invented that would have cut down on the work that the slaves had to do.
2) The student will research this machine (examples: bread making machine, combine, cotton gin, plow, etc.)

Day 16 Writing
Lesson: 10
Time: one writing period for 2 days

Pre-lesson:
Ask the students to imagine how a slave might have felt.

Lesson:
1) Have each student brainstorm about the feelings that a slave may have felt. Give the students two minutes.
2) Ask the students how a slave might have felt while traveling through the Underground Railroad (afraid, worried). Give the students two minutes to brainstorm about this.
3) Ask the students to brainstorm for two minutes about how they might have felt when they hit freedom (free, safe and happy).
4) Have the students get into groups of three.
5) Have each person share what they brainstormed with the rest of the group.
6) Have students put the words together in a readers play. Not all of the words have to be used and other words can be added.

Example:
(normal voice) hurt hurt hurt (each person reads one word per line)
angry angry angry
pain pain pain

(quietly) afraid afraid afraid
move quickly quietly
dark dark dark

(loud & bold) finally finally finally
happy happy happy
free at last!

Day 17
Lesson 10

Post-lesson:
Have each group read their readers play to the rest of the class.


Day:18 Using the Internet
Lesson: 11
Time: one class period

Materials:
Internet access
List of Internet addresses that I found

Pre-lesson:
Tell the students that I looked for addresses that I found that was interesting about the Underground Railroad.

Lesson:
1) Give each student a copy of Internet addresses that I found that were interesting to me:
n A slide show of the Underground Railroad done by a group of kids
http://enterprise.leap.yale.edu/lclc/projects/slides
n Maps and stations
http://enterprise.leap.yale.edu/lclc/url
n Picture called "Safe For Now" by Janice Northcutt Huse
http://www.cyber.advantage.com/Art/afro/safe.html
2) Have the students look on the Internet for things about the Underground Railroad that they think are interesting.
3) Have the students write down any web sites that they found interesting.

Post-lesson:
Let the students explain an interesting web site or sites that they found and have them put the URL on the board for the rest of the class to write down.


Day: 19 Drama (movie)
Lesson: 12
Time: 2 class periods in a row in one day

Materials:
n Movie: "Race to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad"
n TV
n VCR
n juice
n popcorn

Pre-lesson:
Tell the students that we are going to have a celebration for the last day of February and African American month.

Lesson:
1) Give each student juice and popcorn
2) Watch the movie: "Race to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad"

Post-lesson:
Class discussion of why it is important to observe February as African American month and why it is important to study African Americans.