Curricular Unit Information

Unit Title: Nonviolence: The strategy of a Movement
Course: Power of Place 2013
Grade Level: 5
Unit Length: These lessons are part of a larger six-week unit that examines the International Baccaulerate unit How We Organize Ourselves through the lens of change.  These particular lessons focus on nonviolence as a strategy of civil disobedience.
Length of Class Period: 45 minutes
Personal Stake:

Nonviolence has been an extremely powerful tool in effecting social and political change around the world.  It is a fascinating tactic as it requires unusual human constraint.  As a teacher at an International Baccalaureate  school, the study of nonviolence and its impact in the international community extends the U.S. Civil Rights movement in a way that allows students to compare various efforts to affect change in other countries as well as changes to issues that have a global impact.  And while it was the core strategy for the Civil Rights Movement in the fifties and sixties, it became a contentious issue among black activists.

Unit Topic:

Students in my fifth grade class will begin this unit that examines change through the lens of the United States Civil Rights Movement.  Change is at the core of this transdisciplinary theme, How We Organize Ourselves, as it asks students to examine “the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities, the structure and function of organizations, societal decision-making . . . and their impact on human kind . . .. “ Civil Rights activists confronted U.S. institutions and systems that were designed to create formal and informal procedures/structures that discriminated against black people; and appealing to community members’ fears, insecurities, and guilt perpetuated these systems and inculcated the ideas and beliefs that black people are inherently inferior.

I would like students to examine and question primary and secondary sources that uncover for them the organizational structures that were also designed to break down institutional racism.I want them to focus specifically on nonviolence as a tactic to confront the systems that support racism and be able to explain nonviolent protest as a strategy for change.Since this unit occurs near the end of the school year, they should walk away from it with the tools of a historian, confidently understanding how to perform source work, identify multiple perspectives, and contextualize, specifically being able to communicate verbally and in writing the importance of these skills as part of a historian’s tools.I want them to be able to demonstrate that they can apply these tools to analyze and draw conclusions about people and events that shaped this country’s history, impacts their present, and can instruct their future.

As students in an IB school, they are asked to constantly be aware of the traits and attitudes of lifelong learners.  Each unit requires they pay particular attention to one or more of those traits and attitudes. The learning experiences in this unit provide many opportunities for students to be committed as they need to persevere to find answers to their questions not only during source work but also questions that will arise and lead them to other documents, events, or people.They must have the curiosity to formulate the questions that help them analyze their sources and the confidence that they can find the answers.And students who are successful are reflective about their strengths and weaknesses as learners and reflective about the potential biases in the documents they must evaluate.Additionally, it will be important that they are open-minded so they can recognize multiple perspectives as well as their own entrenched ideas and points of view—all key to being a competent historian.

Standards:

Economic Growth and Reform in Contemporary America (1945-Present)

5.14. Students describe the key events and accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View 

3. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.

4. Students use nontext primary and secondary sources, such as maps, charts, graphs, photographs, works of art, and technical charts. 

Common Core Standards (connections):

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.

Methods of Inquiry:
  • Connecting
  • Source work
  • Multiple perspectives
  • Understanding contextualization and why it’s necessary
  • Evidence-based thinking
  • Questioning

For example, students will have a chance to engage in source work with several photographs from the 1963 March on Washington, local sit-ins and analyze whether there are connections with human rights movements in other countries.  They will be asked to use what they have learned about their sources to create follow on questions for investigation and further examination of why some demonstrations were met with violence and others were not.  When students are expected to evaluate sources, they will start to approach every document with a more critical eye demonstrating a more rigorous approach to critiquing all their reading.  

Attitudes:

The learning experiences in this unit provide many opportunities for students to be committed as they need to persevere to find answers to their questions not only during source work but also to commit to finding the answers to questions that will arise from evaluating documents, events, and/or people; and I want them to appreciate the commitment of Civil Rights activists--people who were willing to give their lives for what they believed.  They must have the curiosity to formulate the questions that help them analyze their sources and the confidence that they can find the answers.  And students who are successful are reflective about their strengths and weaknesses as learners and reflective about the potential biases in the documents they must evaluate.  Additionally, it will be important that they are open-minded so they can recognize multiple perspectives as well as their own entrenched ideas and points of view; and acknowledge that the lack of open-mindedness is at the core of prejudice and discrimination.

Essential Questions:
 

Historical Question:Why did civil rights protesters use nonviolence as a strategy to effect social and political change?

 Guiding Questions:

  • What is a historian?
  • Why do historians examin past events?
  • What tools do historians use?
  • Who protests?
  • What are civil rights?
  • What is nonviolent protest?
  • What aspects of the fifties and sixties make nonviolence effective?
  • Why can nonviolent protests evoke and provoke violence?
  • What was the impact of marches and sit-ins?
  • When and why did protesters use violence as a means of change?
  • Why was the 1963 March on Washington not met with violence?
  • How are the strategies of the U.S. Civil Rights movement used to effect change in the world today?
Assessment of Student Learning:
Assessment is critical for determining the quality of instruction and the commitment of students. Both the teacher and student have very specific responsibilities during the learning experience and success is limited when one or both do not fulfill those responsibilities. The assessments should reflect what has been taught and give students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of skills, concepts, and content. To the extent possible, these assessments should be authentic applications of those skills, content, and concepts giving students the chance to show they can analyze and draw conclusions about their reading.

Diagnostic Assessment:

Students will take a multiple choice quiz to determine their knowlegde of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and specifically nonviolence as a strategy for change. Diagnostic assessments are planning tools for lessons in both the area of skills and content.

Formative Assessment:

Each day's lesson concludes with an assessment to determine whether student's meet the objective, to monitor the lessons' effectiveness, to provide a roadmap for future lessons.

The types of formative assessments are designed to measure both content and process to determine whether students are acquiring specific skills that may be applied to analyze and draw conclusions despite the content.  Some of the formative assessments used in this unit are: 

  • Posters
  • Letter writing
  • Tweets
  • Debates
  • Exit tickets
  • Source work
  • Class discussions that include evidence-based thinking

Summative Assessment:

Summative assessments are culminating checks to determine if students are able to apply a body of knowledge and skills and concepts to problem solve. Fortunately, for students with varying intelligences, elementary school teachers have been encouraged to test students' proficiency using a wide variety of tools, including performance assessment. And while using such instruments help to build student confidence and results in a more accurate picture of students who are challenged by traditional written tests, ultimately the majority of students are judged by their ability to excel on written examinations. Few college entrance exams are oral, visual or performance assessmemts. Consequently, to adequately prepare elementary school students for success in high school and beyond, elementary school teachers should use a variety of testing instruments, written, oral, and performance.

Differentiation:

Differentiation is a recognition of students multiple learning styles and challenges. Ensuring that they have many ways to access information and demonstrate their mastery of both content and skill are essential.  In practice, that means that assessments, activities, and direct instruction are developed and redeveloped to make sure students have many opportunites to interact with the information in the ways that are the most comfortable and effective.

Community and Cultural Resources: 

Students will be able to draw upon numerous resources in the community, such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Civil Rights exhibit at the Newseum, the National Archives, the American History Museum.

Daily Instruction:

1.Pretest and “What is a Historian”

2.What is change?  What are civil rights?
3.What is the U.S. Civil Rights Movement? (Lessons 3a and 3b)
4.Why protest and what stratgies do protesters employ?
5.What is non-violence?
6. What are the types of non-violence? 
7.When and why did protesters use violence as a means of change?
8.How was the 1963 March on Washington different from other Civil Rights nonviolent protests? 

9.How are protest strategies used in present day civil rights movements?

10. Summative Assessment