We recently started teaching one of my favorite Social Studies units… Civil Rights! In this unit we focus on the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson. I wanted to incorporate this unit into my reading groups, so I went browsing in the amazing leveled library at my school.
Well, there was not a book about on any of the civil rights leaders for my lowest group, so I selected What is Government? by Ann-Marie Kishel. It was a perfect introduction of how the government helps us and the jobs within the government. During their computer rotation this group watched the Local and State Government video on Brain Pop Jr.
Most of the students in my middle group read on a level K or L, and I found the perfect book for them. We read Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rapport. Although, I have taught second grade for several years, this was my first time reading this book. Let me say, it will be read every year from now on. My students really got into the discussion with this book. There was a lot of deep thinking about what influenced Martin, how African-Americans felt, and the reasons behind a non-violent movement. I was surprised how long it took us to get through the book because of our discussions! One of my students even picked Martin’s Big Words for her ‘The Book You Must Read’ opinion writing topic.
For my third group I selected The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles. Before we started reading this book I asked my students to make a list in their journals of ways their classmates are different. I have to share the conversation that happened immediately after giving the directions:
Student 1: I’m black and he is white.
Student 2: Well, that’s just racist.
Student 1: It is a difference. I’m a girl and you’re a boy. So what?
I had to stop them there. They were hitting the mark with the point of the activity! I wanted them to write down more examples before we got too far into our discussion. Needless to say we spent the rest of our time discussing differences and how we’re are treated fairly. While reading the book in the following days we also had some deep discussions about how brave Ruby was and the type of person she had to be to not get defeated.
To continue integrating the social studies curriculum into reading I selected close reading passages about civil rights leaders for each group to do this week. If you have not tried ReadWorks you must! It’s free! They have a ton of leveled passages.
Like a lot of the country, we got hit with a snow/ice storm last week. This caused us to have 3 days off, so I put my creativity to work and created a Famous African-Americans: A Black History Month Pack.
Click on the picture to check it out.
I included seven activities for ten famous African-Americans: Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Thurgood Marshall , Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, and Jesse Owens.
I am excited to use this pack within my reading groups and social studies lessons. I hope you will find this helpful in supplementing your own lessons.