Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Underground Railroad Lessons

I wanted to create lessons that helped our students think critically about the Underground Railroad. These lessons incorporate reading, writing, social studies and technology. They can be modify to fit the needs of your classroom.

Day 1 Introduction

Use Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole  to the begin to see how the Underground Railroad works.  The first time “reading” the book just show the students the pictures and ask what they think is happening. The second time walk them through what is happening. Have them think about what each character might be feeling.

Visit www.wonderopolis.org and search Underground Railroad to introduce the concept of the Underground Railroad. Watch the video and read the article then have the student complete the activity.

Activity: Have students write a blog in the perspective of one of the characters from the story. Have them make sure to explain why they were doing what they were doing and the emotions they were feeling.

You could spend 4 days on this part of the lesson, one for each step in “The Road to Freedom”.

Use the website - http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/underground_railroad/index.htm to explore the life of slave and how they escaped through the Underground Railroad. The Activities and Resources in the For Teachers section at the bottom of the page gives you several activities to do related to each part. Be sure to check out the primary sources provided so the students can have an authentic look at the people and events that shaped this period.

This part will take two days at least   “Tell the Story”

After the Reach Freedom tab is the Tab that says “Tell the story”. Have students answer the questions based on what they have learned and by reading the excerpts from interviews of freed slaves. Explain they need to write in first person and make sure to add the emotions that go with what they experience.

Introduce students to Google Maps in the Google Drive section of their account and teach them how to pin locations and write about each location. Here is an example of the one that I started.

Explain that they are going to complete a “map” scrapbook of their road to freedom. They can use the Scholastic website to help  them complete the map or they can create their own using the knowledge they have gained through this study.

Other activities to show what they learned:
Wax museums
Write a newspaper article

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