Sunday, January 11, 2015

Civil Rights in Action!-Post #1

In reading, we began a historical fiction unit focused on the Civil Rights. I always want to launch new units with an engaging activity, duh!, although sometimes this is hard to pull off. Luckily, the idea to start with photographs popped into my mind as I was planning. I have used this technique for talking about propaganda used by Hitler during the Holocaust and found it to be really effective and powerful. Images immediately increase students' background knowledge and (especially for studying a new time period), students can get a sense of the setting and the climate of the place at that time. Not only does it provide an awesome way to launch a unit, but we constantly refer to the images in our future discussions as we increase background knowledge and move through specific topics and events.
Without announcing the topic of our study, I had students respond to the images in their reading response notebooks. I wanted students to be able to write any thoughts or questions they had, but I also gave them a few questions to give a little extra support for students who might not know how to respond to this open-ended activity. I kept students in whole group to write about image #1 to make sure they knew what they were supposed to do when they began the "image walk."
-I see...I wonder...
-What's your reaction?
-What knowledge do you have about this image?
-What questions does this image bring to mind?
-Can you connect this image to another image?

You can download the set of images I used. I chose 14 images that are pretty famous for the Civil Rights movement, age-appropriate for 4th graders, and some that are specific to events in North Carolina. The download is editable so you can modify it to fit your needs {or just roll with it with plans ready!} I planned for students to analyze the images for about 30 minutes and they could have used 45 or more. It really depends on whether or not you want students to get to write about them all. If so, I suggest choose just a few images from the 14. 

My procedures: 
-Preparation: Post images in hallway or other space around the room. I printed two sets of the images so that with 21 students, 28 images were available for analysis. I also printed the images 4 to a page for students to refer to later in their discussion groups. 
-I allowed students to do a silent walk by the image gallery before beginning the written response. This way, if they didn't get to all images, at least they got to see them. It also was a way to trigger some prior knowledge on the topic.
-Students responded to the images independently, trying to get to as many as possible in the time allotted. I traveled around the room reading their responses and noting individual students' background knowledge and pushing students who were not going beyond describing the pictures (literal thinking) to go into deeper responses. (Each image is numbered so that students can record the image they are responding to).
-After the allotted time, students met in groups of 4 to share and discuss what they saw and what they thought. I had them choose a recorder to take notes using a t-chart where they listed "questions" and "thoughts" from their group. 
-Finally, I wanted us to meet in whole group to discuss and chart our questions, but we ran out of time and had to do this the following day. 

Now, each day, I choose one or two images for us to discuss prior to beginning our minilesson and activities for the day. I try to choose something related to what we will be discussing. For example, I'll choose the Norman Rockwell painting of Ruby Bridges on the day I read The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles. Use this as an opportunity to elicit questions to see if the read aloud (or video resource) answers those questions.

Stay tuned for post # 2 tomorrow where I share my Civil Rights timeline activity and a list of appropriate books for a study of the Civil Rights. 

1 comment:

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