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ELA G8:M3B

The Civil Rights Movement and the Little Rock Nine

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In this module, students will study the U.S. civil rights movement, focusing particularly on the Little Rock Nine. They will consider the question “How can stories be powerful?” as they learn about segregation, the civil rights movement, the Little Rock Nine and the role of the various mediums in shaping perceptions of events. As students read A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls Lanier and a photo essay titled Little Rock Girl 1957 by Shelley Tougas, they will consider the different ways in which the story of the Little Rock Nine has been told. In Unit 1, students will build background knowledge as they study the history of segregation and Jim Crow laws in the United States. They will begin by reading primary sources, such as the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision and the dissenting opinion by Justice Harlan.

In Unit 2, students will analyze the role of various mediums (photographs, speeches, television reports, newspaper articles, etc.) in depicting the Little Rock Nine and will write an informational essay in which they analyze how various mediums may illuminate a story or provide an inaccurate or incomplete picture of a story.

Finally, in Unit 3, students will finish A Mighty Long Way. For their final performance task, students will present a song choice for a film soundtrack, and four photographs from Little Rock Girl 1957 to lift up as key events in a film about the Little Rock Nine as they went to Central High School, based on the memoir A Mighty Long Way. Student presentations will include a description of each photograph and the song, and an argument for why the events depicted in each photograph should be highlighted in a film. This module is content-rich; consider previewing the full module with a social studies colleague and finding ways to collaborate to provide an even richer experience. (Note: Students will encounter the racially charged language of the Jim Crow South and the Civil Rights era). 

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How does studying diverse sources about the same topic build our understanding?
  • How can photographs tell a story?
  • The story of The Little Rock Nine brought national attention to the struggle to desegregate schools in the United States.
  • The various mediums can shape perceptions and outcomes of events.
  • Photographs capture key events in time and preserve moments in history.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about the civil rights movement. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies Practices and Themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content.

These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K–8 Social Studies Framework:

NYS Social Studies Core Curriculum Unifying Themes:

  • 1. Individual Development and Cultural Identity

–   Role of social, political, and cultural interactions in the development of identity
–   Personal identity is a function of an individual’s culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences

  • 3. Time, Continuity, and Change

–   Reading, reconstructing, and interpreting events
–   Analyzing causes and consequences of events and developments
–   Considering competing interpretations of events

  • 5. Development and Transformation of Social Structures

–   Role of social class, systems of stratification, social groups, and institutions
–   Role of gender, race, ethnicity, education, class, age, and religion in defining social 
structures within a culture
–   Social and political inequalities
-   Expansion and access of rights through concepts of justice and human rights 

  • 6. Power, Authority, and Governance

–   Individual rights and responsibilities as protected and challenged within the context of majority rule 
–   Fundamental principles and values of constitutional democracy 
–   Origins, uses, and abuses of power

  • 7. Civic Ideals and Practices

–   Basic freedoms and rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic republic
–   Civic participation and engagement
–   Respect for diversity
–   Struggle for rights, access to citizenship rights, and universal human rights

Texts

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration
by Shelley Tougas
ISBN: 978-0-756-54512-3
Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches
by Josh Gottheimer
+ Show Notes – Hide Notes
ISBN: 978-0465027538
A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
by Carlotta Walls Lanier
ISBN: 978-0-345-51101-0

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Plessy v. Ferguson
by U.S. Supreme Court
The Editorial Position of the Arkansas Gazette in the Little Rock School Crisis
by University of Arkansas Libraries
http://scipio.uark.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/Civilrights/id/440/rec/1.,
Brown v. Board of Education
by PBS documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTGHLdr-iak,
John Chancellor reports on the integration at Central High School
by NBC News
http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/finishing-the-dream/1957-showdown,
“What Was Jim Crow?”
by David Pilgrim
http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm, 2000
Jim Crow Laws
by National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/malu/forteachers/jim_crow_laws.htm,
“Video Overview: Plessy v. Ferguson”
by Christian Bryant
http://video.about.com/afroamhistory/Overview--Plessy-v--Ferguson.htm,
14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
by U.S. Congress
“Life in the South after the Civil War”
by Alexandra Lutz
http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/life-in-the-south-after-the-civil-war.html#lesson,

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RL.8.3.[1] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

[1] Carlotta Walls Lanier’s book A Mighty Long Way is a memoir, which is categorized as literary non-fiction. Many aspects of the text will be analyzed using the Reading Information standards. However, because the book is also a narrative, the Reading Literature standards are also at times a useful lens. (For example, Carlotta is the main character and develops as a person with a unique story and voice over the course of the text).

 

  • I can analyze how specific dialogue or incidents in a plot propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
CCS Standards: Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RI.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for an analysis of literary text.
  • RI.8.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of an informational text.
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout the text (including its relationship to supporting ideas).
  • I can objectively summarize informational text.
  • RI.8.3. Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).
  • I can analyze the connections and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events in a text.
  • RI.8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).
  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone (analogies or allusions).
  • RI.8.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • I can determine an author’s point of view or purpose in informational texts.
  • I can analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • RI.8.7. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums(e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
  • I can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present an idea. 
  • RI.8.9. Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.
  • I can analyze texts for disagreement on facts or interpretation.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets

• W.8.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. a. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding or the topic or text. c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons and evidence. d. Establish and maintain a formal style. e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

• I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  • W.8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

a.  Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

b.  Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

c.  Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

d.  Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

e.  Establish and maintain a formal style.

f.  Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.

  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.
  • W.8.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

a.  Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new”).

b.  Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced”).

  • I can use evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCS Standards: Speaking & ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets
  • SL.8.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a.  Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

b.  Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

c.  Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.

d.  Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.

  • I can effectively engage in discussions with diverse partners about eighth-grade topics, texts, and issues.
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions.
  • I can build on others’ ideas during discussions.

• SL.8.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

• I can present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.8.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

a.  Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences.

b.  Form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.

c.  Form and use verbs in the indicative, imperative, interrogative, conditional, and subjunctive mood.

d.  Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.

  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.8.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a.  Use punctuation (comma, ellipsis, dash) to indicate a pause or break.

b.  Use an ellipsis to indicate an omission.

c.  Spell correctly.

  • I can use correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling to send a clear message to my reader.
  • L.8.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

a.  Use verbs in the active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects (e.g., emphasizing the actor or the action; expressing uncertainty or describing a state contrary to fact).

  • I can intentionally use verbs in active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood.
  • L.8.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

a.  Interpret figures of speech (e.g., verbal irony, puns) in context.

b.  Use the relationship between particular words to better understand each of the words.

c.  Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., bullheaded, willful, firm, persistent, resolute).

  • I can analyze figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

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