Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Advocacy for Social Justice
Educators who embrace a social justice perspective are attentive to inequalities associated with race, social class, gender, language, and other social categories. They consciously look for alternatives to established educational practices that support the learning, development, and academic achievement of children whose backgrounds place them outside of the dominant culture. They employ multicultural, anti-racist, anti-bias educational practices that foster deep engagement in learning and high academic achievement among all of the nation’s children.
The advocacy for social justice standard tells me that good educators need to consciously and consistently create their curriculum with the culture of their students, as well as students of the world, in mind. They also keep in mind that different cultures have stereotypes associated with them and that students are affected and shaped by those gross generalizations. Good educators hold high academic standards for all their students regardless of race, socio-economic class, and other social categories.
This standard is important to all educators because it challenges us to think outside of the box and really look for ways to ensure that all of our students succeed. Many scripted curricula and older teaching practices do not emphasize ways to reach or educate minorities. As a result, students outside of the dominant culture could become disconnected to the curriculum and lose interest in learning, because they think it doesn’t apply to them. When teachers are aware of the inequalities that minority cultures face, they are able to make the learning more positive for their students, and they become better teachers.
Educators also need to think of ways to include students’ cultures in our teaching. According to Sonia Nieto (2008), even teachers who are trying to be nice sometimes “convey, even unwittingly, a deep disdain and disrespect for families by suggesting that home cultural values have no place in school” (p. 29). As educators, we need to be aware that our students are never all going to come from the same cultural background. Students feel much more connected and invested in the curriculum when it reflects their cultural backgrounds. It is also key that as educators we never hold students to lower standards than others based on their cultural, ethnic, class, or gender groups. We may think that we are making accommodations in their best interests, but in truth we would be doing them a disservice.
When I was developing my unit for my full time practicum I was a bit stuck at first as to how I was going to make a unit on fairy tales multicultural and integrate the many backgrounds of my students. Growing up, when I thought of fairy tales I always pictured the Disney princesses or Rapunzel. None of these fairy tale characters had a background close to my Hispanic or African American students at the Joseph Lee in Dorchester. Luckily, when I broached the topic with my supervising practitioner she mentioned that she had a collection of Cinderella stories from many different cultures. After looking through many of them I selected a few for various read alouds and placed the rest in the classroom library for the students to read during Independent Reading or Fun Friday. This way, the various cultures of my students would be represented and they would get a chance to learn about other cultures.
The students were very interested in the Cinderella story that I read which talked about a young girl from an African village and the boys in my classroom got a kick out of “Prince Cinders” which put a further spin on the classic fairy tale by starring a boy. They laughed out loud later in the week when I read the story “Ashpet” because it was about a girl from a community in the Appalachian Mountains (and the story was written in that dialect so I had a great accent going on during the readings). Artifact 1.3 is a copy of all the different book covers for the stories we read during the unit.
During my sophomore year, my Racial and Cultural Identities class was asked to think about the many aspects of our own identity, what helped to shape our identity, and the inequalities of the different cultural backgrounds that make up our nation. I grew up in a white, upper to middle class, and non-diverse neighborhood, so these were not topics that I often thought about. However, I now realize that these are issues that my students face on a daily basis and are biases that they deal with their entire lives. Artifact 1.1 is a copy of my identity paper. This assignment helped me to realize what shaped my identity, as well as the advantages that I have over those from a minority background.
Even long after the class ended I still find myself thinking about these issues and relating them to what my students in both my practica face. Those in the majority do not feel these inequalities. However, as an urban educator it is essential that I am aware of the discrepancies in race, ethnic group, class, and gender among my students. I am a privileged, White, female. Not all of my future students will have that luxury.
However, I have also learned over my four years at Wheelock that racial categories are not something that can be ignored. Patricia Gandara (2008) discusses how teachers who say things like “I don’t see color, I see children” are actually ignore key aspects of a student’s development. She writes that “membership in a racial group shapes experience, access to social and cultural capital, and perspectives” (p. 44). Racial categories are not something that teachers can ignore, we just can’t use those categories as a basis for what we feel our students should be able to accomplish.
Advocacy for social justice also reminds me that when I am thinking about possible field trips, not all my students may be able to afford the bus fare or the cost of admission. I also need to think about whether I am promoting any gender stereotypes when I purchase gifts for my students (e.g. buying the boys books about sports while getting the girls books about shopping). When teaching I need to be constantly aware of how I am presenting information, what material I am using, and if I am making my teaching culturally relevant to my students.
While I feel that I am aware of the challenges that minority students face, my teaching needs to better reflect this knowledge. When I enroll in a graduate program, I plan on taking a more advanced version of the Racial and Cultural Identities class. I want to learn specific strategies that will help me to promote cultural equality in the classroom, and how to make sure that my lessons reflect the varied cultures of my students.
Gandara, P. (2008). Everyday Anti-Racism: Getting Real about Race in School. In M. Pollock (Ed.), “Strengthening Student Identity in School Programs” (p. 44-49). New York, NY: The New Press.
Nieto, S. (2008). Everyday Anti-Racism: Getting Real about Race in School. In M. Pollock (Ed.), “Nice Is Not Enough: Defining Caring for Students of Color” (p. 28-31). New York, NY: The New Press.
September 25, 2007
Racial and Cultural Identities
Interview Reflective Essay #1
My most significant values and beliefs all come from my parents, relatives, and my church; while some of these values were further emphasized by my teachers and other adults that I came in contact with over the course of my life my parents, the church, and close relatives were the ones who really imparted their wisdom and beliefs unto me. From an early age I was taught the value of a good education, hard work, and honesty. I was taught that helping others was a noble thing to do, and that I should treat others the way I wished to be treated.
I learned these values through close observation of my parents. They were always calm and courteous to others, even if the people they were dealing with weren’t always polite to them. Both of them emphasized my education by working with me on homework, helping me study for tests, and even grounding me when I was older for getting a grade lower than a B- on a report card. Things that I wanted weren’t just given to me most of the time. I would have to do chores around the house or baby sit to buy the things that I wanted.
My mother is a teacher so I grew up watching her try to come up with new ways to help her students understand concepts and processes. Some days she would come home late because she would have to stay after school to help some students who didn’t fully understand what she was going over in class. For these reasons, and my love of learning I have chosen to become a teacher so that I can hopefully try and instill some of the values that she and my dad have taught me.
I am personally affiliated with a white, upper middle class, Catholic cultural group. I associate myself with these groups because of my skin color, socioeconomic background, and religious beliefs. While there are other groups that I could include myself with, these are the ones that I feel are most prevalent in my life. My heritage and where my family comes from has never played a major role in my life other than certain personality traits that I have considered Irish.
For me, being associated with these cultural groups means that I am part of the dominant society. Because of the color of my skin I am not looked at a followed when I go into a store to shop. People do not single me out as prone to violence or a bad attitude. There are definitely not as many stereotypes about white people as there are about African Americans, Asian Americans, or Hispanics. When a member of a minority group is being taught to act “proper” they are told to act “white.” My skin color alone ensures that people do not judge me harshly upon sight and the large majority of society does not discriminate against me.
My middle class background has ensured that I have always lived in a safe neighborhood with a good school system. I have been given more opportunities to see and experience life in places other than my own state because my parents’ jobs allow us the money and leisure time to take family vacations. As a result of their hard work I do not have to worry about paying for college like many of my classmates do because my parents are paying my undergraduate tuition. Being middle class has given me many opportunities.
Being Catholic has instilled values in me that I believe some of my friends do not have. My religion means that almost anywhere I choose to go will have a church and people with similar beliefs and values to my own. To me, being a Catholic means that I will always have a connection to God and my fellow man.
In the first section of the interview I discussed where I was from and what my values were. I realized that I have lived a very sheltered life so far. While I have lived in some diverse areas, for the most part the people and backgrounds I have been exposed to are very similar to my own. White, upper middle class, educated people have for the most part dominated my schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces; living in Boston has really given me my first taste of diversity.
Understanding All Children in their Many Dimensions
Educators should know their students as individuals and as learners, and be able to relate to them in a variety of ways. They should be familiar with the cultures, histories, and values of the communities and families they serve, and know the attributes of the individual children and families with whom they work. Educators should be aware of the range of special needs their children may have, and seek out information concerning the strengths of specific children as well as resources to address their developmental and learning needs. They should use their knowledge of variations in development, second language acquisition, and disabilities to support children’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, intellectual, and creative development. Educators should observe and listen to children as they work, learn, and play in a variety of settings to gain insights into what their students know, how they think, what they value, who they are, where they come from, and what motivates them. Their knowledge of children and families, language and culture, and community development should motivate educators to view children’s actions and responses through multiple lenses. The more they learn about their students, the better they can tailor their teaching to engage children in active learning and meet their specific needs.
Understanding all children in their many dimensions means that good educators look at their students as individuals and not just as part of a whole. Teachers must be aware of each child’s individual strengths and weaknesses as well as his interests to build a curriculum that helps all students to succeed and flourish in school. A good educator will also take her students’ needs and levels of development into account when planning lessons and use her resources to get her students the help they need.
This standard is important because it tells us as educators that we need to be involved in our students’ lives. A teacher who is a passive observer of their classroom never really gets to know her students as individuals and as learners. As a result, the curriculum will not reflect the interests of her students, which may result in the students not engaging in their learning. This standard also reminds us that we have a duty to our students to understand their learning needs and to do as much as we can to make sure that our teaching practices foster the intellectual growth of each of our students.
According to John Dewey (1897) “only through the continual and sympathetic observation of childhood’s interest can the adult enter into the child’s life and see what it is ready for, and upon what material it could work most readily and fruitfully” (p. 108). Dewey is reiterating the importance of observing the students’ interests and developmental levels in order to prepare lessons for that child. This belief fits into component one of standard two, and it reminds teachers that they need to be constantly monitoring students to see their progress, what they are struggling with, and what captures their interest.
I am a strong believer in getting to know students as individuals and then integrating their interests into the curriculum. I achieved this component of the standard through the attached student interest inventory (Artifact 2.1). This inventory was taken during the field experience part of my Teaching Reading class. Each college student was partnered with either a third or fourth grader at the King Open School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the time I spent there, I was responsible for developing reading lessons for my fourth grade partner. We were in charge of picking books not only at their reading level, but ones that also fit their interests and would capture their attention. Using information from my student’s interest inventory, I selected books that had animals as main characters in the story. We read two books that semester because she didn’t want to put them down!
Going along with knowing students individually, Artifact 2.5 is an excerpt of a guided reading lesson plan that I wrote during my full time practicum. The curriculum required that the students read a text that discusses the Iditarod Dogsled Race. One of my students was from another country and did not have a lot of knowledge about the subject, which is something I had learned from observing her previously in the school year. Knowing this, I made sure to preview the text with her individually as well as with the whole class to make sure that everyone had the necessary knowledge to read and comprehend the story.
Mary Cowhey is another expert whose views match those of the second Wheelock standard. In her book Black Ants and Buddhists (2006) she discusses teaching a lesson about the Tainos to her second graders. After displaying a graph made by Bartolome de Las Casas, which read that there were no Tainos left alive after 1555, one of her students stood up and disagreed with the data because her ancestors were Taino. Cowhey was quick to find the reason behind this information discrepancy because she realized that “Las Casas’ data was for Haiti, not Borinquen/Puerto Rico…there were still more living in Borinquen, where some of your ancestors lived” (p. 141). Cowhey knew the family and cultural backgrounds of the students in her class and because of this she was able to explain why Las Casas data did not include her student’s relations that had lived.
When thinking about Cowhey’s story, I am reminded of components two and three of standard two. These components stress the importance of knowing the cultural aspects of your students as well as their families. This knowledge can be used to strengthen the curriculum and relate the material to the children’s lives. It can also be used to make sure that you are culturally sensitive to each of your students and that you are respecting their family values.
During my pre-practicum experience, I was in a culturally diverse school in Brookline, Massachusetts. We were asked to do a Powerpoint presentation for our Curriculum Development course that displayed the aspects of our classroom as well as gave the viewer an introduction to the group of students that we were working with as a whole. Artifact 2.2 is a slide from the Powerpoint, which displays the cultural backgrounds of the second graders that I worked with. As you can see, we had an ethnically diverse classroom that year. It was important for me to know this information because it gave me a sense of the traditions the students had as well as some of the family histories. For example, on Chinese New Year a number of my students came dressed in traditional costume and passed out candy. Had I not known their backgrounds this would have been confusing for me, but because we were prepared for the day my supervising practitioner and I had set aside time in the morning for the Chinese students to share their tradition with the entire class.
I was also able to focus on attributes of an individual student during my time at the Joseph Lee. For my Meeting Diverse Learning Needs class we had to choose a focus child to observe for the entire semester. At the end, we were asked to make an Eco-Map of the child based on our observations and interviews with the child and the family. The Eco-Map showed their interests, their thoughts on school, the values of their family, and some aspects of their everyday lives outside of school. Attached you will find my Eco-Map as Artifact 2.3. The assignment required me to know my student on a deeper level and helped me to make sure that my lessons included activities to match my child’s interests and learning styles.
When teaching is it important to use the resources that you have, including more knowledgeable teachers or specialists. One specialist that is key to any school is the special educator with experience and qualification in evaluation. Levine (2001) states that these specialists can “provide valuable insights to guide management when their work is process-oriented, that is, when they focus on how the child accomplishes a task or where the breakdown in performing it occurs” (p. 274). This means that when a teacher is having trouble figuring out why a student is having a hard time understanding a concept the specialist can come in and see where the breakdown is happening.
During my practicum I was fortunate enough to have the resource teacher in the room with me for half of the day. After observing her for the first two weeks of school, I came to see how big of a help she was in our inclusion classroom and what a great resource she was for me. Throughout the course of the semester, I was able to consult with her about lesson plans, specific students, and methods of teaching. Her knowledge of the students in the classroom was extensive and it was a blessing to have her as someone that I could go to.
When reflecting on Standard Two I realize that while I have grasped many aspects of this standard, I really need to focus on the fourth component. When I came into my practicum classroom in September, my supervising practitioner already knew the students who had been at the school and what their major learning needs were (including the elements of their Individualized Education Plans [IEPs]). As a result, when I came into the classroom I didn’t sit down and read my students’ IEPs; instead, I just listened to her ideas about what the students needed and followed her routines. In the future, I need to make sure that I take the time to sit down and read all of their plans so I know what each individual child needs and how to make sure those needs are met in each lesson. When I have my own classroom, I cannot rely on the knowledge of others and need to make sure that I know this information for myself. I will also be enrolling in the Master’s of Science Degree in Integrated Elementary and Special Education here at Wheelock College. This degree will give me background in Special Education that I need in order to better serve my students and their learning.
Cowhey, M. (2006). black ants and buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Dewey, John. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Free Press.
Levine, M. (1987). Educational Care: A System for Understanding and Helping Children with Learning Problems at Home and in School. Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Services.
Race the Wind-30 min guided reading
Materials: 5 copies of “Race the Wind” books
Computer with video of dogsledding pulled up
Also have map of Alaska pulled up
Have students look at the cover and explain that the story will be about dogsledding and a very famous dogsled race called the Junior Iditarod.
Have students preview the text so they can make predictions about what dogsledding is.
Use the pointing method to choose who reads first---use this method throughout the reading period. Each student will read 2 pages. At the end of a student’s turn we will stop and discuss. However, if a student has questions they can always stick up a thumb and ask them.
Questions to ask students
Page 1-Why do you think people living in the Far North have to use dogsleds to get around?
Page 2-Stop and have students look at the diagram on page 8 to illustrate what the text is talking about
Page 4-Do what the mushers wear sound like something you wear? When would you wear clothing like that?
Page 6-What part of the boot is the sole?
Page 7-Why are snowshoes necessary?
Page 8-Stop and have students look at a map of Alaska to see the route
Page 11-Why do the dogs need to train for the race? Can you think of things that people need to train for?
At the end of page 11 have students stop. Play video of dogsledding for them and have them compare the picture on page 8 with what they are seeing. Tell them we will finish the story tomorrow and then dismiss them to their seats.
Standard Three Essay
Knowledge of content and integrated curriculum
Educators should know, understand, and use the central concepts and tools of inquiry appropriate to the subject matter and age/grade levels they teach. They should be able to create meaningful learning experiences that develop children’s understanding of subject matter and increase their skills. Educators should plan integrated units of curriculum, instruction, and assessment based upon their knowledge of subject matter, curriculum goals, and developmentally appropriate practices among the families, communities, and cultures from which their children come.
Knowledge of content and integrated curriculum tells me that teaching is about more than instructing out of a textbook. Teachers should be able to take what is most important for the children to learn and then plan educational experiences that help the students reach that understanding. Assessment of the learning needs to be developed to most accurately assess student progress and knowledge. Good educators need to be aware of the developmental levels of their students before they plan instruction, and they need to format that instruction to best fit their students’ needs.
This standard is important because it challenges teachers to think outside the structure of scripted curriculum so they can best meet the educational needs of their students. It reminds them to use materials and topics that their students will be able to manipulate and understand but that will also stretch their thinking. The standard also reiterates that good educators plan learning experiences that allow students to discover the material and make it their own. Finally, knowledge of content and integrated curriculum is important because it tells instructors to plan these learning experiences with a broader goal in mind: the big goal of the unit is what dictates each lesson.
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2006) address the importance of thinking about the end goal before designing individual lessons in their book Understanding by Design:
Deliberate and focused instructional design requires us as teachers and curriculum writers to make an important shift in our thinking about the nature of our job. The shift involves thinking a great deal, first, about the specific learnings sought, and the evidence of such learnings, before thinking about what we, as the teacher, will do or provide in teaching and learning activities…Our lessons, units, and courses should be logically inferred from the results sought, not derived from the methods, books, and activities with which we are most comfortable. (p. 14)
Backward design is important because as educators we have to make sure that each of our lessons relates to the goals of our unit. Teachers can have the most engaging and exciting lessons planned for their students, but if they do not connect to the overall goals and big ideas of the unit as a whole then these lessons will not serve the students in the long run. Educators also need to plan the assessments that they will be using throughout the unit so they can adjust their lesson plans as needed. Backward design is key in developing your own curriculum.
With these principles in mind, I planned the Revolutionary War Unit that I implemented during my Leadership Week in my full-time practicum. Artifact 3.3 is both the rough draft of my unit plan (with corrections made by Professor Samuels-Peretz) and the final copy of the lesson plans that I handed in for my practicum seminar. These plans detail the big ideas that I wanted my students to learn about, the understandings they would achieve, and the measurable objectives I would use to make sure they achieved these learning goals. Only after developing these aspects of the unit was I able to begin thinking about the individual lesson plans and how I would achieve these objectives. This was the first unit I planned on my own in which I wasn’t using previously developed curriculum. The backward design curriculum was crucial in this process so I could make sure that I was meeting the needs of my students.
When planning a math lesson for the fourth graders at the Joseph Lee Elementary School about multiples, I knew that I wanted to make the lesson a bit more hands-on than they were used to. The Investigations curriculum called for the students to understand and use multiple towers (and we knew that there had been questions on past unit tests that involved multiple towers) but I knew my students weren’t ready for these just yet; multiple towers were a bit too abstract for them. According to the Omnibus Guidelines (2001) my students were right on the fourth grade level, because they could “interpret organized information and draw conclusions from it” (p. 107), but since the multiple towers were not labeled in any way and the students hadn’t encountered them before, I knew they were going to need to see them in another way before making them on their own.
I decided to combine ideas I received from the TERC curriculum so the idea of multiple towers was particularly concrete for the students. We had been working on showing the students why it was important to know how to find multiples by giving them word problems that related to their lives. For example, one question we used was, “Andy wants to give all the students in E pod a pencil. He buys 20 boxes of pencils and each box has 5 pencils in it. If there are 100 students in E pod does Andy have enough pencils?” The students would then have to figure out what the 20th multiple of 5 was. Rather than counting by 5’s 20 times, the students could find the 20 multiple on the multiple tower, and from there figure out the 10th multiple and locate other patterns on the tower.
Knowing my students, I knew that they would need to see this tower in action before being given instructions on how to make their own. For the lesson, I had three students come up to the front of the room to assist me in creating our class’s tower. One student called on the class to give them the multiple, the second wrote the multiple on a post-it note, and the third stuck the note on the wall in tower form starting at the floor. We built a tower up to a student’s head and then stepped back to look at patterns. We first found the fifth multiple, and then doubled it to find the 10th. From there the students began to locate other multiples using those telltale numbers on their own. After this learning experience, the students were split into groups of two to create their own towers with new multiples and then find the patterns on that tower. At the close of the lesson, each group got to share something they learned. The students all referred to that lesson as they continued in the unit. Artifact 3.2 is a picture of the multiple tower we made as a class as well as ones the students created on their own.
One aspect of this standard that I would like to continue working on is connecting the learning to my students’ families. While I know the basic backgrounds of all my students, I don’t know the professions of their parents or traditions that they share. We sent home a questionnaire to the parents or guardians of all the students in the beginning of the year but received few back. In the future, I will work on getting a greater parent response and making sure that the students’ families and communities are well-represented in the curriculum. To do this I would plan a variety of family events throughout the school year that are specific to my class. Open houses for the whole school are great, but I feel that parents are more likely to show up for events that are geared specifically towards their children. Family breakfasts are great because parents can show up early before they need to be there for work and holding class nights or presentations to show off the students’ work in the afternoon give parents who work early in the morning a chance to participate as well. While this would be a lot of work, it’s also quite rewarding in the long run.
Ashley, L. A., Dichtelmiller, M. L., Marsden, D. B., Jablon, J. R., & Meisels, S. J. (2001). Omnibus Guidelines. Vol 2 K-5th grade. New York, NY: REBUS INC.
McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2006). Understanding by Design. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
THIS IS THE FINAL DRAFT (all edits are highlighted in yellow)
Elementary Education Department
GRADE LEVEL: _________4________
TIME ALLOTMENT: ___________5 sixty minute lessons_______
SUBJECT AREA(S): _________Social Studies____________
Students will better understand the development of the country they live in by learning the buildup that led to our nations founding.
Massachusetts State Standards:
3.5 Explain important political, economic, and military developments leading to and
during the American Revolution. (H, C)
A. the growth of towns and cities in Massachusetts before the Revolution
B. the Boston Tea Party
C. the beginning of the Revolution at Lexington and Concord
E. Revolutionary leaders such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere
3.6 Identify the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights as
key American documents. (C)
3.9 Identify historic buildings, monuments, or sites in the area and explain their purpose
and significance. (H, C)
2. Interpret a map using information from its title, compass rose, scale, and legend. (G)
Describe the climate, major physical features, and major natural resources in each
WHEELOCK COLLEGE EDUCATOR STANDARDS (Review the seven WCTS and list the standard or component of standard this lesson addresses).
Standard 3: Knowledge of Content and Integrated Curriculum
Standard 4: Educational Practices that foster learning, development, and achievement for all of
the nation’s children
Students will understand…
Students will understand the causes of the break from England.
Students will know that the Continental Congress led to the current structure of our government.
Why is America called the “land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Why did the United States break away from England to form their own nation?
ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE
I know that for the students in my fourth grade class that attended the Joseph Lee last year (as third graders), they did not cover the American Revolution like they usually do. Therefore, my students have a very limited or no knowledge of the Revolution. I do know that I have five students in my homeroom that are not from the Lee and may have possibly covered this topic already. One student that went to the Lee Academy has definitely touched on the topic and has mentioned facts from the time period that she knows. To find out where my other students are, on the first day of the unit I will make a KWL chart with them. While I will accept answers that are beyond the time of the Declaration of Independence, I will only focus on answers that deal with the time before the signing of the Declaration. This way I will be able to adjust my lessons to focus on the knowledge that my students are missing.
My students do not really need any knowledge of the subject in order to understand the content of the lessons. I am giving the students a brief overview of what occurred in the country before the timeline that I am covering begins. What they will need to have (and have already covered this school year) is a knowledge of maps. The students will be making their own maps and will need to know what a compass rose, a map key, and other aspects of maps are.
Students will be able to….
Students will know…
1. Students will know the causes of the American Revolution. (U1)
2. Students will be able to identify the original 13 colonies. (U2)
3. Students will be able to express their own rights that they find important in
4. Students will know the key phrases in the preamble to the Declaration of
Independence as they relate to the overall points in the Declaration. (U1)
5. Students will be able to identify some of the founding fathers and know their roles
in the independence process. (U1)
6. Students will be able to compare the Continental Congress to the basic structure
of the Legislative Branch of our government. (U2)
7. Students will be able to identify what the founding fathers wanted changed about
life in the colonies before the Revolution. (U1)
8. Students will compare and contrast the Patriots and the Loyalists. (U2)
9. Students will understand the goals of the founding fathers. (U1 and U2)
During the course of the unit, students will be working in small groups and individually. There will be whole class instruction during the lessons, which will take place on the rug in the classroom. There will be movie clips for one class from 1776 the Musical that will allow the students a different method of hearing the information and remembering facts. I will also allow the students to come up during lunch to view the movie as a whole if they want to. This will give them even more knowledge about the founding father and the process of voting for independence from England. When we discuss the Boston Tea Party I will help my students visualize this by bringing in loose tea and dumping it in a bowl of water. This way my students will have a mental image of what Boston Harbor looked like after the Sons of Liberty threw the tea off the trade ships.
MODIFICATIONS/ACCOMMODATIONS AND EXTENSIONS
I have students with IEPs in my room. Those IEPs state that they need extra time for any assessment and they also need extra support for written work. With this in mind, during the writing assignment on the first day of the lesson I will have them sit at a table together and further model what I am looking for from them and then help them to organize their papers. They will use the graphic organizer model that they have been working with recently to organize their ideas and begin writing. There will not be a formal test so they won’t need extra time on any of the assignments; however, I will make it clear that if they do not finish they can come up during lunchtime to complete the work. This is not a punishment, just an opportunity to make sure that they are doing their best work (which they will understand because it is common practice for this to happen throughout E pod).
For the student(s) that has already covered the material last year I will first assess how much knowledge she has on each subject. Using that knowledge I would then give her some reading material on the aspects of the Revolution that we are covering. There is a mini textbook in the room that we will use as a class for certain lessons, but we are not covering the book as a whole. This book will give her more background information and strengthen her knowledge. There is also a play about the Revolution that requires more knowledge than I would be covering to properly perform. IF there are enough students that have a grasp on the topic I will give them copies of this play and ask them to read it together. They can then choose to perform the play for the teachers during a special or lunch period.
During the first lesson of the unit the students will be making maps of the 13 colonies. When assessing the maps I will be looking to see a title, all labels (eg the names of the colonies), that the colonies are color-coded depending on their regions, a compass rose, and that there is a map key displaying the exports of each region. Maps must be done neatly and all labels and the key must have correct spelling. See attached rubric for how the grading will be done.
The second day the students will be taking notes on the different taxes. I will be looking to see that their notebooks are set up correctly and that there is the word, definition, and an example for each tax. As a class we will be brainstorming the rights that the children have as students and people. During this discussion I will be looking for every student to participate and give me an example of a right that they have. The students must also be able to back that right up and tell me why it is their right. For example, if the student says they have the right to ask their teachers for help they could tell me that the right is part of SLANT (an acronym to remind them of classroom expectations). They will also be writing a paragraph about their own personal rights that are important to them in their social studies notebooks. Students will also give me the examples for each of the taxes in their notes.
For the third lesson I will really be looking at the students’ group work. I will have a checklist and go around the room and make sure that the students are focused. I will also ask groups questions about why they chose to highlight what they did. This way I will have a good idea of which groups will bring what to the conversation and help the groups that need more support.
The fourth day I will be taking about the checklist again. This time I will be marking off who contributed to the Paul Revere conversation and well as participating in the debate about the snacks.
IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES (How will you begin the lesson and how will you carry it out? Also, consider grouping strategies and deliberate closure of the lesson).
I will call the students over to the rug to introduce the unit. Students will sit by table, criss cross, and close enough together so they will all fit. They will be facing the mini white board while I sit in a chair in front of them (this is only so I can write while we’re talking). I will begin by reminding them of the social scientists that we have been studying. Colum helps the students remember the four social scientists by having the students picture them wearing hats. For example, the economist would wear a hat with a dollar symbol on it, the political scientist would wear a crown, the historian would wear an older hat that’s maybe faded or worn, and the geographer would wear a hat with a compass stitched on the front. So I would begin the lesson by saying:
Boys and girls, today is a very exciting day because we are starting a brand new social
studies unit. We are going to learn about the American Revolution, which happened way
back in the late 1700’s. This is my FAVORITE time period in American history, and was my favorite social studies subject that I studied when I was in elementary school. It was a time of rebellion, secret meetings, and heroism. Now, before we begin, does anyone know anything about the American Revolution? I know that some of you studied this time period last year in third grade, but that most of you did not. We will be making a chart then hanging it up in the room so we can check off what we’ve discussed during the unit itself when we’re finished with this investigation. It will also give me a good idea of what you already know so we’re not covering topics that you’ve previously learned about. I want to see hands raised and attentive listening.
Make a KWL chart.
Now boys and girls, the first thing we need to discuss are the 13 colonies. Does anyone know what I mean by that? Well, back before the United States of America existed, Great Britain owned all the land on the East Coast of the United States (except Florida and Maine). So if all the states on the East Coast were part of the British colonies can anyone name some of them? (Wait for students to name New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). This was called colonialism and all the British lands that were not part of the British soil were part of the British Empire. Great Britain had over thirty different lands around the world that were part of their empire. Why do you think Great Britain wanted to control all these lands? (Wait for answers and discuss).
Great Britain was especially interested in the American colonies because of the resources that the colonies exported to Britain. Does anyone know what the word exported means? Exported refers to shipping goods produced in one country to another. In this case, the colonies exported goods like wheat, fish, lumber, and rice. The three regions of the colonies all exported different products to Great Britain. Can anyone guess what some of the goods the colonies exported were? (Wait for answers and discuss).
The New England colonies did not have good land for growing enough products to export. Therefore, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut exported more material items. These colonies exported ships that they built, fish, whale products, and other goods. Why do you think the New England colonies were able to build so many ships?
Write these items on the board because we will come back to them later.
The Middle colonies include New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware had soil that was really good for growing fruits and vegetables. The main export out of that region was wheat, which is used for making breads.
Write these items on the board.
The Southern colonies of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia had a warmer climate that was great for growing tobacco, rice and indigo. Indigo plants are used to make the dye for blue jeans.
Write these items on the board.
Each region of the colonies exported goods that were easily produced in their areas and that they had excess of. Knowledge of these goods and where they came from will be important later on in the unit. So today to help you to organize this information we’re going to use your knowledge of map making. These maps will help you to remember which regions the 13 colonies were part of and what their major exports were. You will be able to look back on these maps later in the unit whenever you need to remind yourself of any of that information.
I’m going to give you this blank map of the Thirteen Colonies. Now, who can tell me some of the things that need to go on this map? Make sure that students mention a title, labels for the colonies, a compass rose, and a map key. Excellent, those are all things that a map needs. In this case, I also want you to do a few more things. I want you to color code the colonies. The New England Colonies should be labeled and colored in green. The Middle Colonies should be colored red, and the Southern Colonies should be colored in orange.
Now this next part is important! Is there room to write the names of the colonies inside each of their borders? No. Instead, look at your maps and you will see that there is a line drawn from each of the 13 colonies and there are two letters at the end of each line. Each of the United States has a two-letter abbreviation so you don’t have to write the full name out. I have labeled each of the colonies with the abbreviation already, but if you choose you may write the full name of the colony out next to the abbreviation if it will help you remember.
After you do this you’re then going to label the colonies and their exports. But are you going to write each of the exports out or would it be easier just to use a symbol? Exactly, symbols save you from having to write the same thing over and over. Writing takes up a lot of space on a map. Now, we have the list of the exports written on the board. Let’s think of some symbols for these exports.
Draw the symbols on the board that the students come up with. Also, make sure that all elements they will need on their maps are listed on the board. Quickly review what needs to be on their map key (symbols for the exports and colors that show the regions of the colonies). Show the students the materials they will have on their tables as well as the grading rubrics. Also, tell them that the directions will be on the white board as well as the symbols they have come up with. Tell students that I will turn the lights off when they are getting too loud. Dismiss the students by table.
When there are five minutes left in the period use the pod-wide attention technique to get the students’ attention. Tell the students that we are out of time for social studies today. If they have not finished their maps they will tonight for homework. Point out the homework written on the board and tell them to put their maps and the books in their binders. Give out behavior grades and then once they have their grades they can stand up and line up at the door.
Each table should also have a basket with crayons and colored pencils (already sharpened to save time) as well as rulers and enough copies of If You Lived in the Time of the American Revolution for everyone. Tell students that they can find two examples of maps of the colonies in the book on pages 12 and 13. Homework for the night will be to finish the maps and to read up to page 17 of the book.
Today is the discussion of rights that the students have and then tying those rights into the rights that were taken away from the colonists when Great Britain imposed taxes. Students will begin to understand the causes of the Revolution as well as start to empathize with the predicament the colonists were in. The lesson will begin on the rug in the same manner the previous lesson had.
Alright class, today we’re going to talk about rights that people have. Can anyone tell me
what a right is or give me an example of one? A right is a claim, or something that a
person deserves to do. Living in the United States we have many different rights. You
each have rights as students, children, and people. For example, you each have the
right to an education, to be loved, and to have huge appetites. Can you think of any
other rights that you have? Let’s make a list of rights that we can hang up so everyone can see them.
Record on the white board the list of rights that the students come up with. Make sure to write them down somewhere else so the rights can be transferred to chart paper later. Tell the students to keep these rights in mind as they go back to their seat (dismiss by table). The students will be writing a paragraph about a right that they have that’s important to them. Students will state the right and then explain why it’s an important one. Move the white board with the list of rights we came up with over to the front of the classroom. Students will do this writing in their social studies notebooks on the left hand side of the page.
All these rights that we’ve written down on the board and in your paragraphs are important rights. Now I want you to think about how you would feel if those rights were suddenly taken away from you? What if you didn’t have the right to go to school, eat a healthy meal, or to get a full night’s sleep? What if someone besides your mom or dad told you that you had to go work on a farm for 12 hours of the day? You’re probably feeling like it’s not fair, maybe a little angry, and confused. You are completely right to feel that way, and that’s how the colonists were feeling when Great Britain suddenly began to tax the colonies. You see, even though the colonies belonged to Great Britain, for years the colonies had really been able to run themselves. Just like each town now has a mayor or a selectman to run it and make the laws, the colonies had people they elected to be in charge. However, after fighting in a war to protect the colonies from the French, Great Britain needed money. They believed that the colonies should be required to pay for an army to protect them from any threats. That sounds pretty fair, right? (allow students to share their thoughts and ideas with the class). Well the problem was, Great Britain didn’t ask the colonies what they thought.
The British government (called Parliament) decided to just begin taxing the colonies. Taxes require people to pay a fraction of the cost of an item and give it to the government. Since the colonies didn’t have taxes before this, they were upset that items cost more and that they didn’t have a say in this. The British government’s first tax placed on the colonies was in 1765 and was called the Stamp Act. This tax required the colonists to pay tax on ANY paper good. This includes newspapers, letters, land deeds, and even a deck of cards! Can you imagine? The stamp was to show that the tax had been paid.
Have students copy down the notes on the Stamp Act written on the board. Notes will be set up in the normal three-column fashion. The left column will be labeled tax, the middle column will tell the year the tax was enforced as well as what was generally taxed, and the right column will show the examples of items taxed. For the Stamp Act the notes will say Stamp Act, a tax on all paper goods, and then give examples like cards, land deeds, and newspaper. However, rather than have the examples on the board I’m going to ask the students to give me three examples of paper products.
The colonies came together and called on Parliament to repeal, or take away, the tax and a year later the Stamp Act was repealed. But the trouble didn’t end there. In 1767 the British government passed the Townshend Act. This new act taxed the colonists on everything they imported (or bought) from Britain. These products included things like tea, glass, lead, and paint. The colonists had to pay extra money for items that they used everyday! Imagine that you had two dollars to spend on hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts. Hot chocolate used to be $1.80, and you would use the extra 20 cents to buy a stick of gum. Now, if all of a sudden you had to pay two dollars for that hot chocolate and you couldn’t get your gum! You knew that the only reason you had to pay more for that hot chocolate was because someone in Great Britain wanted that 20 cents! Turn and talk to your neighbor about how you would feel about this.
The notes for the Townshend Acts will go like this: Townshend Acts, tax on everything the colonies imported from Britain, and then the students would give me examples for the third column.
After this new tax was passed the colonies wrote letters of protest to Parliament and formed what was called the Committees of Correspondence. These committees helped the colonies to stay in contact with each other and to work for the same cause. The British Parliament received these letters and then they repealed the Townshend Acts, but they kept the tax on tea. Even though most of the tax had gone away the colonies were still upset because almost every person drank tea every day. That would be like Mrs. Curtis charging Mr. Whyte and myself for the coffee that we drink!
Instead of notes, we’re going to briefly discuss the Boston Tea Party.
There was a group of colonists called the Sons of Liberty who were opposed to Great Britain ruling the colonies. They were especially angered by the taxes, and after Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts but kept the tax on tea they decided to fight back. This group of about 50 men dressed up as Native Americans to disguise themselves and snuck on to British trade ships docked in Boston Harbor late at night on December 16, 1773. The men dumped all 342 chests of tea from the ships into Boston Harbor. If all your notes get done and we finish on time we will do an activity that will really help you visualize what happened to Boston Harbor as a result of the Boston Tea Party-it’s an experiment, but we have to get our other work done first in order to do it!
After this event the British government closed Boston Harbor and blocked all trade ships from coming and going through there. This made the colonists even angrier and they decided that they were not going to buy British goods anymore. They boycotted all goods from Great Britain. But the last straw for the colonists was the Intolerable Acts. This act stated that the colonists had to give food and shelter to the British soldiers that were stationed in the colonies.
Notes: left column-Intolerable Acts, middle column-colonists had to give food and shelter to the British soldiers, right column-if a soldier came to the door asking for bread the homeowner had to give it to them. Have all students finish notes at this time. Students that finish early can help set up for the tea experiment.
Pull out the containers and the loose tea. Make sure there is enough for each table. Explain that you want them to see and be able to visualize what Boston Harbor looked like after dumping all the tea into it. Make sure that there are paper towels down on every table. Use an example bucket to show the students how to do the activity. Make sure that each student puts a scoop of tea into the bucket and that they all get to stir the water a bit. Leave the tea there for the remainder of the lesson and then move them to the back of the room so they can see how the water darkens by the next day.
Boys and girls we are out of time for today. Tomorrow we will begin discussing what the colonists decided to do about all the taxes and how they were going to change the way things were run. For homework tonight continue reading the book you read last night from page 18 to 30. Also, draw pictures for each of the taxes that we talked about. For example, for the tax on tea you could draw a picture of a cup of tea and money next to it.
Dismiss by tables after you have given grades.
I really wanted to students to be able to empathize with the colonists about their rights being taken away and so students could see why the Patriots were angry. The students will also be able to see that colonists tried to tell Great Britain how they felt about all these taxes, but Parliament wasn’t listening so the colonists felt they had no choice but to fight back.
When the students come in I will tell them to sit in their normal seats. I will stand in the front of the room and explain what we will be doing today and giving them instruction.
Ok boys and girls, we’ve learned a lot about the American Revolution. Who can remind me of some of the reasons that the colonists were unhappy? Look back in your notes if you need help. (Wait for answers before continuing or giving them some of your own). Excellent, now that you all know so much about what made the colonists unhappy we’re going to learn about what the colonists decided to do about it. Now remind me what the three regions of the colonies were.
Wait for the students to say New England, Middle, and Southern. Think back to the first day of this unit when we made the maps that are now hanging up. Does anyone remember what the different symbols on the maps stood for? Students should answer with different products and exports that the colonies made. Exactly. The different regions of the colonies all exported different goods and they all had different ways of life. For example, the New England colonies made a lot of money off shipping and were much less conservative than the other colonies. The Southern colonies exported goods that were grown on plantations. Plantation owners usually owned many slaves so they could get all the work done. There were also less people in the Southern colonies that wanted to change the way that the colonies were run; they were more conservative.
Now, there were two groups of colonists: Loyalists and Patriots. Loyalists wanted to remain citizens of Britain and liked the way the king was running things. They could have also been afraid of the British soldiers that were now stationed in the colonies, or they could have had family in England and they were afraid that by standing against the king they would be putting that family at risk. These colonists, for whatever reason, remained loyal to Great Britain and that is why there were called Loyalists.
But the majority of the colonists were Patriots. These were men and women that originally just wanted the taxes to go away but eventually came to want to break away from Britain and form their own nation. Remember the Sons of Liberty that dumped the tea into Boston Harbor? Those men were Patriots. This group of colonists eventually wanted to break away from Great Britain and form their own nation.
Today I’m going to split you up into groups of twos. You’re going to read information about the Patriots or the Loyalists. Whichever side you are reading about is the side that you will become experts on. You will have 10 minutes to read about your group and then as a pair highlight your sheet to show the MOST IMPORTANT information. Be prepared to discuss what you have chosen to highlight.
Pass out the worksheets and highlighters to each of the groups. Reiterate the need to decide as a group what to highlight and suggest that they read the sheet first and then reread and highlight once they are done. Walk around as the groups are working and make sure they are on task and can explain what they highlighted. Also get a feel for which groups should be called on first. Give them five extra minutes if you feel it’s necessary. Once time is over, call students to attention by using the “stop, look, and listen” method.
Now that you’ve all had time to become experts on either the Loyalists or the Patriots we’re going to discuss the differences between the two groups. I’m going to write them all down on the board as we’re doing this to make sure that the facts are not repeated.
Write down all facts about each side on the board using two columns. Label the one on the left Loyalists and the one on the right Patriots. Make sure that for the Loyalists they have:
- Liked the culture that they shared with Great Britain
- Benefited from the trade with GB
- Many had close relatives in England
- Strong sense of duty/loyalty to British Crown
- Were afraid of what the new government would look like
Patriots’ facts should include these:
- Felt their personal freedoms were being taken away
- Thought that the taxes were the British governments unfair laws being forced on them
- No representation in British Parliament
- Had to shelter and feed British troops
- Closing of the Port of Boston
- British control of trade
If the students add more on or use their own inferences that’s great! Make sure that you have your own highlighted copies of the notes so you can tell students exactly where to look to find information. When the lists are completed have the students copy them down on the right hand side of their notebooks. This activity to understand that there were two sides to the revolution other than colonists vs Great Britain. Write homework on the board when there is 5 minutes of class left. Have students write the writing prompt on the notebook page so they can refer to it later and then write the page number that they will be working on in the notebook down in their agendas. Walk around and give grades. Dismiss students by tables after they have homework written down and have been graded.
For homework: on the page opposite of the page they took their notes on have them write about which side they would choose to be on and why. Much give at least three reasons for choosing that side. Also, read pages 48-63 of the …If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution book.
Call students in and have them sit on the rug. They don’t need anything with them.
Boys and girls you all did a wonderful job yesterday investigating the differences between the Loyalists and the Patriots. Today we’re going to be talking about the Patriots and the steps that they took after the fighting broke out between Great Britain and the colonies. Even though British troops had been stationed in the colonies for some time, there was no fighting that had occurred between the British army and the members of the colonies who opposed their occupancy.
However, the British army was ordered to travel to Concord, MA to take away all the ammunition the town had there so that the Patriots wouldn’t be able to use it if fighting broke out. A man named Paul Revere and two of his friends (Prescott and Dawes) rode to Concord to warn them and also passed along the warning to all the towns along the way. I’m now going to read you a story of Paul Revere and the long ride that he made that night.
Read “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and discuss what the story was about and the major events. This will help them to visualize the ride that was made (based on the map in the front of the book that I will refer to throughout the reading) as well as the distance covered by the Redcoats and the Minutemen.
Patriots quickly moved to protect their towns, and at Lexington, MA the first shots of the Revolution were fired. Patriot and British forces were engaged in a stand down when all of a sudden a gun was fired. No one knows which side shot first, but after that first shot shooting erupted on both sides. The Patriots were outnumbered so they fell back, but the British were stopped at Concord and then they retreated back to Boston.
After the Battle of Lexington and Concord the Patriots decided that they needed to get together and figure out how they were going to make the changes that they were looking for, especially after fighting had broken out between Britain and the colonies. They used the connections that they had made with the Committees of Correspondence (remember those?) and met in Philadelphia for the second time. Each of the colonies sent representatives to this meeting so that all of their views would be heard. The number of representatives depended on the size of the colony. This group of men called themselves the Continental Congress, and this congress served as the government for the colonies during the Revolution. The Continental Congress is actually a lot like our current House of Representatives that we have in our government today. Today, men and women are elected to serve and the state’s population determines the number of representatives from each state.
Today you’re going to see what it was like for that first group of men getting together and making a decision they all agreed on. Since the members of the Congress were making the choices for all of the colonies they didn’t take the responsibilities lightly. Today you are going to make a choice. And while it may not be a life and death decision, it will affect you tomorrow. Are you ready? Are you sure? Ok, I’m going to give you three choices and then split you up so you can discuss the choices and give me reasons for picking them. Are you SURE you’re ready? Ok, now when you hear the choice that I’m giving you there will be NO shouting out your pick got it? Are you REALLY, REALLY ready? Ok, today we’re going to pick…what the snack will be while we’re watching movie clips tomorrow! No shouting, and remember that the movie will ONLY happen if you all take this seriously. Here are the choices: popcorn, some form of fun size candy, or cupcakes.
Split students up into groups based on the snack they pick. Write instructions on the board. Students need to back up their choice and try to convince the rest of the class to pick their snack. Tell them they are getting ten minutes to structure and prepare their arguments. At the end we’re going to vote again and then the winning team will get the snack they chose. Call up the popcorn team first, then candy, then cupcakes. Have the groups stand in the front of the room and designate one student to speak. This will prepare them for tomorrow’s lesson about the decision to write the Declaration and they will be able to see how hard it was for the members of the Continental Congress to all agree on declaring independence from Great Britain.
Homework: Read the information sheets about John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
-green, red, and orange coloring pencils (pre-sharpened)
-blank maps of the 13 colonies
-copies of …If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
-rubrics for grading the maps
-Loyalist and Patriot information sheets
-copy of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere