Civil Rights Done Right: A Tool for Teaching the Movement
Step One: Self-Assessment
On a separate piece of paper, make a list of all the content you teach related to the civil rights movement.
Look at your list, thinking about the depth and breadth of your coverage. What are students learning about the civil rights movement? Use the Lesson Inventory worksheet to sort your list into these categories:
- Level One: lessons that address or include references to the civil rights movement
- Level Two: lessons that focus on a single aspect of the civil rights movement
- Level Three: lessons that examine multiple aspects of the civil rights movement in depth
Identify a specific lesson (or activity or unit) from Level Three, your strongest lessons. Reflect on your instructional practices by responding to the questions and prompts on the Pre-Teaching Reflection worksheet. Did any of the questions surprise you? Explain. Did any of your answers surprise you? Explain.
Draw on your reflections from the Pre-Teaching Reflection worksheet to reevaluate the way you currently teach the civil rights movement through that lesson. What score did your lesson receive?
- 33–36: lessons that examine multiple aspects of the civil rights movement in depth (Level Three)
- 25–32: lessons that focus on a single aspect of the civil rights movement (Level Two)
- 12–24: lessons that address or include references to the civil rights movement (Level One)
You initially placed this lesson in Level Three, thinking that it has students examine multiple aspects of the civil rights movement in depth. Has your thinking changed? Evaluate your other civil rights lessons with the Pre-Teaching Reflection worksheet and then complete a new Lesson Inventory worksheet. Do you see any patterns? Where are the majority of your lessons: Level One, Level Two or Level Three?
You’ve begun to identify what and how you teach about the civil rights movement. Next, you’ll apply key points from the Teaching the Movement initiative. By the end of this series of steps, you’ll have a new and improved instructional plan for teaching the civil rights movement to your students.
To get started, return to your updated Lesson Inventory worksheet and identify a lesson for a “makeover.” Level Two is a good place to begin. You may also want to consider what your colleagues have planned and whether you can take an interdisciplinary approach to get more bang for your instructional buck.
Set a goal
Whether you have chosen to dig deeper into one topic or combine multiple topics into a unit, it’s important that you frame the goal of your Teaching the Movement makeover.
What civil rights movement topic have you chosen? Write up to three essential questions your students will be exploring about this topic.