In this unit, students begin to explore African-American history and the civil rights movement by studying Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and their influence on the nation. Students will begin the unit by thinking about the ways in which people are similar and different, including skin color, and how those differences should not define who we are or how we are treated. In the second part of the unit, students will learn about the discrimination and injustices faced by African-Americans during the civil rights movement and why it was necessary to fight for change. Finally, students will explore Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and study how their influential leadership drove the civil rights movement and influenced and inspired others to fight for change. It is our hope that this unit will help instill the values of diversity and fairness, and that it will serve as a launch for further discussions around discrimination, fairness, and valuing individuals. This unit also falls during the month of February. Therefore, it will give students a chance to explore and deepen their understanding of Black History Month and why studying and celebrating black history is an important part of our nation’s history.
In reading, this unit exposes students to the genre of biography. For each influential leader, students will read multiple biographies, noticing the ways in which authors use specific details to support points in a text. Students will also be pushed to think about which details are key details, how details are connected, how illustrations connect to particular points and ideas in a text, and the meaning of unfamiliar words. After reading multiple biographies, students will then compare and contrast the ways in which the authors present points in both texts. Students will also be challenged to think about the themes that develop across the biographies, particularly in regards to what makes the person an influential leader and the lessons that can be learned from studying each person.
In writing, this unit pushes students to begin answering questions using words and sentences, and, therefore, rely less on picture support. Students will also continue to work on answering the question and including an inference or critical thinking that shows a deeper understanding of the text. At this point, all structure focus correction areas should be taught; therefore, the focus of this unit should be on providing individualized feedback to students who are not at a 3 or 4 on the rubric.