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Grade: Elementary

#1527. Freedom Unit

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Jan 22 15:50:01 PST 2000 by Sally Dowell (saldowell@hotmail.com).
Locke Elementary, Memphis, TN, USA
Activity Time: varies
Concepts Taught: freedom, human rights

While exploring and comparing a variety of historical
periods, students will learn about oppression, human rights,
and freedom. This unit focuses on America's struggle for
independence, slavery and the Civil War, the Civil Rights
Movement, and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Unit Theme: Freedom

Essential Understandings (Enduring Understandings,
Generalizations):

1. Denying human rights leads to oppression.

2. Social, political and economic oppression can lead to changes in
power through conflict and cooperation.

3. Vocal music expresses the beliefs and values of a culture.

4. Timelines can be used to track changes in power and determine
causes and effects.

5. Political power can be a positive or corrupting influence.

Essential Questions (Guiding Questions):

1. What rights should all people have? What rights are Americans
entitled to by law? What rights do children have in our country?

2. What kinds of oppression have occurred throughout American
History? How have Americans fought against oppression? How have
other cultures resisted oppression?

3. How does vocal music express the beliefs and values of a
culture?

4. Why is it helpful to use timelines when we analyze historical
events?

5. How have people throughout history used political and economic
power? What were the effects?

Critical Content and Skills

Students will know...
1. The significance of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill
of Rights.
2. Americans gained their freedom and independence from Britain
through conflict (The Revolution).
2. The rights that Americans are entitled to by law.
3. Slavery was a form of oppression that existed in America.
4. Slavery ended as a result of conflict and (The Civil War).
5. After slavery ended, segregation still limited the rights of Black
Americans.
6. The Civil Rights Movement used nonviolence to fight for equal
rights for all Americans.
7. Other areas in our world are still struggling to overcome
oppression.
8. The meaning and significance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and
"Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Students will be able to:
1. Discuss the importance of various human rights.
2. Define their rights.
3. Analyze and compare struggles for freedom and human rights in
America during the Revolutionary Period, Civil War Era, and Civil
Rights Movement in American history.
4. Identify groups that have experienced oppression and
groups/people that have had political and economic power during
different periods.
5. Determine causes and effects of political change.
6. Use references to compare the evolution of Civil Rights in
America and South Africa.
7. Order historical events on a timeline.

Activities:

1. Briefly discuss new vocabulary: rights, oppression, power. Read
Dr. Suess's Yertle the Turtle and have small groups answer the
following questions:
Who has the power?
What group was being oppressed?
Who fought against the oppression?
What significant event ended the oppression?
What rights do you think all of the turtles in the pond should have?
What can be done to make sure that the turtles are not victims of
oppression again?
What would you do if had been one of the turtles?
Begin a large visual organizer on chart paper listing who had the
power, who was being oppressed, what kind of oppression what
occurring, and what caused the oppression to end. This organizer
will be filled out throughout the unit as we discuss Yertle the Turtle,
The American Revolution, slavery and the Civil War, the Civil Rights
Movement and apartheid in South Africa.

2. Tell students to think about the questions below as you read aloud
all or part of The Declaration of Independence by Dennis B. Fradin.
Have students work in groups to discuss the questions:
Who had the power?
What group was being oppressed?
Who fought against the oppression?
How did they fight against the oppression?
What significant event ended the oppression?
What rights do early Americans believe all people should have?
What can be done to make sure that all Americans have equal rights?
Groups can fold large sheets of drawing paper into quarters and
draw/write:
A. Who had the power.
B. Who was being oppressed.
C. How the Americans were being oppressed.
D. Ways they fought against the oppression.
Allow students to present and explain their drawings to the class.
Post the beginning of the Declaration of Independence in your
classroom. Discuss the words "We hold these truths to be self-
evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Have the whole class help
you translate these words into "today's English," to make sure that
everyone understands the meaning.

3. Study the "Star-Spangled Banner." (Find both verses, and post
them in your classroom. You will compare the lyrics to "Lift Every
Voice and Sing" later.) Discuss the meaning of the lyrics and listen
to various recordings, if possible. Sing it. Then have students
discuss this question:
What was important to Francis Scott Key when he wrote these lyrics?
What does he value? Use examples from the lyrics to support your
answer.


4. Read and discuss Tears for Ashon. Students work in groups to
discuss the following questions:
Who had the power?
Who was being oppressed?
What rights did Ashon have?
Did the slaves fight against the oppression? If so, how?
In the other stories we have studied so far, the oppression has
ended through conflict or cooperation. Why doesn't the oppression
end in this book?
Is there anything that can be done to end the oppression of slavery?


5. Read other easy fiction and non-fiction about slavery in the United
States. Continue discussing issues of power, oppression, rights and
conflict/cooperation.

6. Start building a time-line. Fill in important dates in American
History from Revolution to Civil War.

7. Read easy fiction about conditions for Blacks in America after the
end of slavery. Discuss rights.

8. Read various books about the Civil Rights Movement. Discuss
the following questions and add data to class chart and timeline.
Answer:
Who had the most power?
What group was being oppressed?
What rights did African-Americans have before the Civil Rights
Movement?
What rights were they denied?
Who fought against the oppression?
How did they fight against the oppression?
How did they end the oppression?
What rights should all Americans have?
Do all Americans have equal rights now?
What can be done to make sure that all Americans have equal rights?

9. Learn the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Post Lyrics in your
room discuss the meaning of the song. Read James Weldon
Johnson: Lift Every Voice and Sing by Patricia McKissack. Discuss
the anthem:
What was important to James Weldon Johnson when he wrote this
song?
What does he value? Use examples from the lyrics to support your
answer.
Think about "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful,"
and "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Which one do you think would make
the best national anthem and why? Give at least 2 reasons.

10. Discuss what rights children in our country have. What rights
should all children have?
Read and discuss the NEA's Bill of Rights for Children.
Discuss:
Is it fair?
Does America provide the rights listed to all children?
What can be done to make sure that all children have rights?

11. Watch The Lion King on video. Have students answer the
following questions:
What was life like in the Pridelands while Mufasa was king?
What was life like after Scar became king?
Who had the power?
What group was oppressed?
What happened to end the oppression?

12. Listen to South African choral music from The Lion King
Broadway Cast Recording. Explain that Lebo M, the choral director
and vocal arranger was exiled from South Africa in America. He had
to leave his friends and family behind. When Nelson Mandela
became president, he was able to return home.
How is the story of The Lion King similar to recent events in south
Africa?
What do Simba and Lebo M have in common?
Listen to the lyrics of "Shadowland" and "Endless Night." How does
the music make you feel?
How do the lyrics from these songs reflect events in Lebo M's life?

13. Read Shaka: King of the Zulus. Discuss South African history.
Work on timeline. Discuss issues of power and oppression. Add to
chart.

14. Read Nelson Mandela (First Biographies) and continue
discussing issues of power and oppression in South Africa. Add to
graphic organizer (chart).

15. What have we learned? Look back at the chart kept throughout
the unit. Through discussion and dialogue, lead students to discover
the following generalizations:

1. Denying human rights leads to oppression.
2. Social, political and economic oppression can lead to changes in
power through conflict and cooperation.
3. Vocal music expresses the beliefs and values of a culture.
4. Timelines can be used to track changes in power and determine
causes and effects.
5. Political power can be a positive or corrupting influence.


16. Students will work together in groups to create a Bill of Rights for
Students. They will also devise a plan to ensure that all students in
our classroom are ensured their rights.
What rights should all students have?
What can we do to ensure that everyone in our classroom receives
their rights?
What rules should we have?
What should our responsibilities be?
These "Bills of Rights" will be presented to the class and combined
into a single bill of rights.

Suggested Bibliography

General
Park, Frances. My Freedom Trip
Perlin. Father Miguel Hidalgo: A Cry for Freedom
Silverman, Malda. Festival of Freedom
Suess, Dr. Yertle the Turtle
West, Alan. Jose Marti: Man of Poetry, Soldier of Freedom

Slavery/Civil War
Barrett, Tracy. Nat Turner and the Slave Revolt
Collins, James. John Brown and the Fight against Slavery
Jackson, Garnet. Frederick Douglass: Freedom Fighter
Wright, Courtni C. Journey to Freedom: A Story of the Underground Railroad


Civil Rights
Elish, Dan. James Meredith and School Desegregation
Hakim, Rita. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March Toward Freedom
Haskins, James. The Freedom Rides
Jakoubek, Robert. James Farmer and the Freedom Rides
Roop, Peter. Martin Luther King Jr.
Seamus, Cavan. Thurgood Marshall and Equal Rights

South Africa
Holland, Gina. Nelson Mandela (First Biographies)
Stanley, Diane. Shaka: King of the Zulus


Music/Videos
The Lion King
The Lion King: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Sarafina: Original Broadway Cast Recording
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
"The Star-Spangled Banner"