This text set is for 3rd graders to study Black History Month. The set is for all students of all ethnicities to appreciate African American historical figures and important events from our history. It is to celebrate the achievements and to be aware of the struggles of a people in America. The set has a wide range of lexiles, grade level equivalents, formats, and subjects. It is important for students to be aware of these people and events, because they have directly affected our current events and the status quo. The more aware and educated students are and the more they understand and celebrate diversity, the more well-rounded and culturally-aware they will be. The struggles of People of Color in America is painful, but children can identify on a smaller scale with some of their struggles. Students of color in my classroom should feel accepted, celebrated, and understood, and this text set should help get to that point. According to Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, in the article “INSPIRATION: CHILDREN NEED TO SEE THEMSELVES REFLECTED IN BOOKS' CHARACTERS”, “INSPIRATION: CHILDREN NEED TO SEE THEMSELVES REFLECTED IN BOOKS' CHARACTERS”, “Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Christopher Myers says this matters in order to give all children a deeper sense of connection to the books they’re reading and to each other and to prepare them to live in a rapidly globalizing, multicultural, multiracial, and multi-faith nation and world: ‘When we think about what it is to be ‘connected,’ we think about memory. We think about history. We think about storytelling. All of these words that we hear—‘literacy,’ ‘inclusion,’ ‘diversity’—those are all words for connection . . . When I say to people ‘why do we need to have diverse books?’ it’s not because necessarily everybody needs to see themselves reflected in every book, but because we need that sense of connection. We need to live in a global sense.’” All of the books have pictures and are visual representations of the information. The final 2 texts are "alternative" texts, as they are told in poetry form.
The first book is called Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It's published by Scholastic, Inc., and the ISBN is 9781448773329. This 40 page, historical fiction book's lexile is 380L, and its grade level equivalent (GLE) is 2.3. This book has won the Peace Award and Coretta Scott King Award.
Henry “Box” Brown is a little boy who is a slave in the South. One day, he’s taken away from his family and taken to a warehouse to work. He grows up without normalcies like knowing his own age and a family relationship. When he grows older and gets married, his family is sold at a slave market. One day, he lifts a box at his warehouse and comes up with a brilliant idea; he wants to mail himself to the North. The book tells the tale of his long journey in his crate to the North, and he finally has what he always wanted: freedom, his first real birthday.
Teaching points from this book would be how the story develops throughout his life and how his attitude affects his future. We would also talk about how he used problem-solving to get himself out of an awful situation. I would bring up real examples of slaves who were separated from their families or eventually freed. This book would address comprehension, as the story is told as a narrative and sequence of events. This would be good for students to retell the story. A standard to fit this book is RF.3.2 – Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. With one of the lower lexiles and GLEs, this book would be sufficient for students to read on their own, so it will address reading as one of the six areas of language arts. An objective to follow this book would be: throughout the book, the students will be able to read with 85% accuracy and give a 3 sentence summary of the book.
This book's title is Dad, Jackie, And Me by Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by Colin Bootman. It's published by Peachtree, and it's ISBN is 9780606152655. This 32 page, historical fiction book's lexile is 610L. It has won the Schneider Family Book Award for Young Children's Book (2006) and the Comstock Read Aloud Book Award (2006).
Set in the summer of 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, this book tells the story of a deaf father and son’s mutual love for baseball and Jackie Robinson’s rookie season. The son listens to the Dodgers game on the radio and recounts it to his father in sign language when he returns from work each day. The pair create a memory book with photos and articles about Jackie, and after many weeks, the father takes the son to see Jackie play at Ebbets Field.
Teaching points from this book will be about having heroes close to home or in the "big leagues." I could incorporate a math lesson about batting averages. I would talk about how Jackie Robinson broke ground in major league baseball and how he has affected baseball today. This book would address phonemic awareness, as it has one of the higher lexiles. A standard to go with this book is RF.3.1c – Decode multisyllable words. By breaking words apart into their syllables and phonemes, students will be able to understand unfamiliar words better. An appropriate objective is: by the end of the lesson, students will be able to break 3 unfamiliar words into their phonemes. In this way, students will gain understanding of the word structure. By practicing this, students will be more likely to remember the unfamiliar words.
This book's title is Follow the Drinking Gourd, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter and published by Rabbit Ears Entertainment. It's ISBN is 1939228557, and it has 48 pages. The genre is historical fiction, told through poetry (unrhymed verse). The lexile is 630L, and the GLE is 3.9. This book was a part of the award-winning Rabbit Ears series: American Heroes & Legends, and has won Parents’ Choice Silver Honors; Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Award; New York Festivals Gold Medal.
This book, whose title is a well-known folk song in African American history that depicts secret directions for following the Underground Railroad, tells the story of Peg Leg Joe. Peg Leg Joe is a white, one-legged sailor who worked for plantation owners and made friends with many slaves. This was all part of a plight to teach this song to the slaves that will lead them to freedom. He hopped plantation to plantation to teach all the slaves this song, hoping to help free as many as possible. This story follows a family and their adventure along the Underground Railroad with the Big Dipper as their map. They are almost caught many times, but they eventually reach Joe, who helps them across the Ohio River toward freedom.
A major teaching point from this book will be the folk song it is based on. We will talk about how many slaves used songs as a way of communication, often deceiving their masters with their secret knowledge. We will also talk about the Underground Railroad and the countless slaves it helped free. It would be a good time to incorporate geography: where African Americans were slaves versus free and where the Underground Railroad went. This book addresses reading, although it is also effective for listening, as it is told in unrhymed poetic verse. I can ask my students to close their eyes and listen to the story that is being told through the verses and how it sounds different from prose -- or to them, "regular" books. Although told in a rather poetic manner, this book still gives a narrative, and it is very cause/effect-based. For example, because Peg Leg Joe befriended the slaves, he taught them the folk song. Because they learned the folk song, they knew where the next stop on the Underground Railroad was. There are dozens of cause/effect relationships throughout the story for the students to listen to. For this reason, a standard for this book is RI.3.3 – Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. An objective from this standards is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to state 3 cause/effect relationships from the book, told in chronological order. For this reason, this story would address comprehension as effectively completing the objective shows a deep understanding of the elements of the story.
This book, The Real Slam Dunk by Charisse K. Richardson and illustrated by Kadir Nelson is published by Dial Books. Its ISBN is 9781439590041, it has 80 pages, and the genre is realistic fiction (early chapter book). Its lexile is 590L. This illustrator has won The Coretta Scott King Award and the NAACP image award.
This book tells the story of Marcus Robinson, a student whose class is taking a field trip to meet Jason Carter at the basketball arena, and Jason Carter just so happens to be Marcus’ hero. Marcus doesn’t usually care much for school; he really only likes sports — especially basketball. However, there is a contest to win the prize of greeting Jason Carter at the field trip, and Marcus becomes determined to win. He studies for hours to win the math contest to meet his hero. When Marcus meets Jason, Jason tells him the realities of professional basketball and the dedication it takes to make it big. Marcus’ hero tells him all about what he needs to do to be the best young man he can be.
Some teaching points from this book will be about how historical figures are almost always very well-rounded; they didn't just "happen upon" their fame -- they worked hard for it. We can talk about other African American historical figures, from MLK and President Obama to Michael Jordan and all of the hard work that led them to their success. This book can be used for visually representing, as it is told through a chapter book narrative; moreover, it's very plot- and sequence of events-based and can be represented visually easily. For that reason, a standard for this book is RI.3.2 – Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea, and an objective is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to determine the main idea and recount 4 key details that explain how they support the main idea. The visual representation comes into play with a graphic organizer; the students will make a concept map to retell the main parts of the story. Again, for this reason, this book would address comprehension as the students retell the story visually.
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Byran Collier is published by Hyperion Books. The ISBN is 9780847939954, there are 40 pages, and its genre is biography and autobiography. The lexile is 410L, and the GLE is 2.5 This book's awards include the 2002 Caldecott honor and 2002 Coretta Scott King Honor.
This book tells the real story of Martin Luther King, Jr and his fight for equality and rights for African Americans. As a child, he grew up in an environment where he often heard mean words and read exclusive signs all over town, but his mother often reminded him that he’s just as good as anyone else. This background pushed him to become the great leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
The main teaching point of this book will be about history: MLK's life, his effect on the Civil Rights Movement and the lasting effect he made on America. We will talk about a few of the major historical points of the movement. This is a good time to talk about ways to effect change; America is a place where everyone can voice his or her opinion and make a difference. For this book, I will use the standard W.3.1 – Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. For this reason, the book will address writing. This book will be effective in addressing writing since we will have discussed how MLK used persuasive language to convey his points, and that he needed evidence and reasons to persuade others. An objective to go with this standard is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to construct an opinion text with 3 supporting reasons. This book addresses fluency as the students will read the book and construct their own argument using linking words.
This book, Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman is written by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. It is published by Tandem Library with the ISBN 9780140561968. There are 40 pages, the genre is biography and autobiography, the lexile is 560L, and the GLE is 3.9. This book is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient.
This book tells the story of a young Harriet Tubman on the Brodas Plantation in the late 1820s. “Minty”, Harriet’s nickname, was always known for having dreams for a better and freer life. She was stubborn and rebellious; therefore, she was known as a troublemaker. Although she was often blue and concerned, her fiery spirit was what eventually led her to her freedom and helped her free hundreds of slaves in the Underground Railroad.
The main teaching point from this book will be about how influential figures all start out the same way: as children. Everyone has the capability to make a difference in the world. As a child, "Minty" faced some of the exact same issues that almost all children face. A standard for this book is vocabulary, as the lexile is a bit higher. We would address new vocabulary words throughout the book. For this reason, a standard for this book is RF.3.1a – Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes. Although this sometimes relates to phonics and phonemic awareness, I would use it to introduce and explain new vocabulary words. An objective to go with this standard is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to produce 3 words with a given prefix or suffix. This relates to the book and standard because I will pick unfamiliar vocabulary words from the book with familiar prefixes and suffixes for them to base their words on.
Dinner at Aunt Connie’s House, written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold, is published by Hyperion Books with the ISBN 9780606107822. There are 32 pages, and the genre is biography with fiction “story quilt” formatting. The lexile is 640L, and the GLE is 5.8. This book is a Caldecott Honor Book and won The Coretta Scott King Award.
One summer, Melody visits her Aunt Connie’s house to meet her newly adopted cousin, Lonnie. As they play throughout the house, they find her artwork especially intriguing because they all can talk to the pair! The paintings are of 12 important African American women in history, including Bessie Smith, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks. The stories of these women inspire the pair to follow their dreams and be inspired by opportunity.
The key teaching points from this book will be about the historical impact these women had on America: their accomplishments and lives. This book will address comprehension and reading. A standard to go with this book is RI.3.3 – Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. The objective for this standard is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to compare and contrast the lives of 2 of the figures with 3 similarities and 3 differences. Each student will pick two of the historical figures that we read about in the book and compare their lives, accomplishments, and where they fit into history. This aids with comprehension and reading as the students see and explain the compare and contrast relationships.
This story is Two Friends By Dean Robbins, illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls. It's published by Scholastic, Inc with the ISBN 9780545399968. It has 32 pages, and its genre is biography with parts of historical fiction. The lexile is 430L.
This book tells the story of two real-life friends, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. They share stories with one another about fights for rights for both African Americans and women. This story is based off of a statue in their hometown of Rochester New York. The statue shows the two having tea and conversing about their plight for more rights. The book shows real photos of the two historical figures.
Teaching points from this book will be about the historical impact the two had and their accomplishments. I will talk about how many groups throughout American history have fought for their equal rights. With the standard RI.3.7 – Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur), this book addresses comprehension and reading. An objective to accompany the standard is: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to describe key events by the historical figures given the photographs from the book. The students will use the real photographs from the books to gain understanding of the events that took place to lead the figures to their accomplishments. This adds to their comprehension of the book; the more they can describe what they visually see and connect it to the text, the better they comprehend the information.
Harlem by Walter Dean Meyers, Illustrated by Christopher Myers, is published by Scholastic Press. Its ISBN is 9780590543415. At 1 page, its genre falls under poetry, songs, and verse. Its GLE is 4.5, This text is a Caldecott Honor Book, and the author has won two Newberry Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Michael J. Printz Award.
This poem, rich in jazz backbeats, tells the story of a father and son in their historic and artistic neighborhood.
This text is great for giving the history of Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance. This is also the perfect text to do with an art unit: poetry, music, painting, etc. We can use real Harlem art as inspiration for the children to create their own. This text addresses listening and comprehension, and the lesson to go with it addresses speaking and listening through the standard Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Students would engage in a discussion about why art was important during the Harlem Renaissance and why it is still important today. For this reason, and objective for this would be: by the end of the lesson, students will be able to discuss the importance of art during the Harlem Renaissance and today by stating an opinion and responding to 2 classmates' opinions.
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. Its ISBN is 9780006725961. At 1 page, its genre falls under children’s literature, and is one of the alternative texts. Its lexile is 300L, and its GLE is 2.6. This illustrator has won Coretta Scott King Award and Caldecott Honor.
This lyrical narrative tells the story of Clover, who often wonders about a fence separating the “white” side of town from the “black.” One summer, Clover meets Annie, who is a little white girl. Annie sits on the fence every day, and Clover becomes more and more curious about her and the other side of town. Feeling especially courageous, Clover decides to talk to Annie, and a friendship ensues as they realize they have more in common than they realized.
A teaching point for this book would be that everything that makes us different shouldn't separate us; while we have differences and should always celebrate them, we all have more in common that not. A standard to go with this book is RL.3.3 – Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. This standard fits well with the book since the two main characters drive the narrative. Because of this, this book addresses comprehension and reading. This is shown through an objective: by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to recognize 3 of the girls' personality traits that led to their friendship. In this way, the students are able to see the sequence of events that is told mainly through the girls' differing personalities and lives, thereby comprehending the story and main idea.