Equality and Civil Responsibilities as a Theme
Throughout the three lesson-plans there will be a focus on equality, as it relates to prejudice, and civil responsibilities within the community of our classroom and school. An examination of the strong ties between the historically significant events and the connections to society and the behaviors of today will allow students to begin to understand the cause and effect nature of history. Woven throughout these lessons will be the thread of character education and civil responsibilities. Each lesson will spin the yarn of truth, respect, responsibility, and the decisions that affect individual beliefs, freedoms, dreams, and civil rights. There will be multiple opportunities to engage students in deeper thinking that transcends simply a lesson of the past by relating the lessons application to our classroom community and the school community as a whole. This work attests to my proficiency in Approval Standard S3: Subject Matter and Curriculum Goals (integrated across content areas).
In the first lesson students will explore the cause and effects of inequality and prejudice. The students will be involved in a social experiment that allows them to feel and see prejudice and inequality. To start the lesson some students, when entering the classroom, will be given a snack (boys) while others (girls) will, upon entering the class, be given no snack. (I will in the end share the snack with the other half of the class) This will allow students to feel just a small injustice and help to support the preceding lesson. A deeper investigation of prejudice will ensue with the reading of a book about Martin Luther King Jr. After reading the story I will conduct a discussion that will provide opportunities for students to share their thoughts and feeling regarding prejudice, discrimination and inequality. This discussion may prove to be very visceral for some, while others participate with empathy. Students will have the opportunity to explore their ideas about what prejudice means to them, why people have prejudice, how prejudice may lead to discrimination and inequality; additionally we will explore ways to combat, overcome and eradicate these issues within a community. A Readers’ Theater will provide an additional opportunity for students to participate and view a historical account about inequality and prejudice through the eyes of Frannie Lou Hamer, an African-American woman fighting for the right to vote in 1962.
In the second lesson the thread of civil responsibilities is woven throughout examinations of Martin Luther King Jr.’s., famous, “I Have a Dream Speech”. Students will develop individual ideas of what dreams are as they relate to their responsibilities within a community. Students will then create posters depicting their dreams for their classroom or school community. Each student will illustrate and write their dreams and these will be displayed through the classroom.
Lastly, a connection of prejudice, inequality and civil responsibilities within a community is woven through a lesson developing the tenets of equal rights for all. A focus on the importance of support and peaceful “protesting” will help support student’s evaluate of their own community and the rules of respect and responsibility within that community. Students will design peaceful “protest” signs and silently march through the school in a demonstration of the strength in the community and that character values that the classroom and school holds as rules. In this lesson students will be able to see that they have power and that together they can create an environment that is safe and supported by friends and teachers.
Each lesson is comprehensive enough to be taught individually, however, when combined the powerful message is deepened. By asking students to apply the principles of community involvement and group reflection, an environment rich with consideration of individuals and respect for the civic begins to evolve. The powerful tools of responsible civility and equality are necessary to model and practice often throughout all lesson. Still, these important tools when combined with historically significant events and developed through a creative curriculum will become a stable foundation. This continued practice of civic responsibilities will become a natural reflex for the citizens of the future.
Lesson Plan 1 – Social Studies, Language Arts, and Arts
Lesson Plan 2 – Social Studies, Language Arts, and Arts
Lesson Plan 3 – Social Studies and Art