For the last two weeks, students have been learning about the Civil Rights Movements and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Memorial Learning Commons.
We started with an activity. Students with brown eyes were able to play Duck, Duck, Goose while students with green, blue, and hazel eyes had to sit and watch. (Mrs. Dressler gave me this wonderful idea based off of Jane Elliott’s classroom experiment.) After part of the class played Duck, Duck, Goose for a few minutes, students were asked how they felt. Most students with green, blue, and hazel eyes shared that they felt sad, mad, and left out.
We then read Children of the Civil Rights Movement written by Paula Young Shelton and illustrated by Raul Colon. The book was based off of Paula’s childhood experience with the Civil Rights Movement. Paula was born in New York and moved, with her family, down to Atlanta, Georgia when she was very young so her parents could participate in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Uncle Martin).
I created and shared the following timeline so students could visualize that this devastating part of our history took place a long time ago. It happened long before the students were born. We discussed how it’s important for us to learn our history so the terrible aspects are not repeated.
Students shared how they would have felt if they couldn’t go through this gate (perhaps leading to a playground) because of the color of their skin.
|Illustration by Raul Colon|
I also prompted students to turn and share how they would have felt if their family wouldn’t get served in a restaurant, even though there were many empty tables, because of the color of their skin. Paula was only four years old when this happened to her and her family. She threw a tantrum which she referred to as her first protest.