To open today's lesson, I refer my students back to yesterday's reading assignment. I ask them from what point of view was this chapter written? It may take a minute for students to remember the difference between first and third person, and this is okay. They're seventh graders. There are days when they forget how to tie their shoes!
Once everyone agrees that the chapter was written from a third-person point of view, I display the following questions as an opening quick write:
After everyone is done writing, I ask a few students to share their responses. Inevitably, someone will say that a first-person narrative about slavery would tell the reader what it felt like to be a slave. This type of response is a great segue into today's excerpt from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
The first thing I do is create a timeline on the whiteboard. This timeline will be useful as we move through the readings of this unit. I put the following events on the timeline:
It is important for students to see the large swath of time that these events encompass. I find that the only thing my students have prior knowledge of is Dr. King's speech. And, even though they know who he is and what he was speaking about, they don't know when that speech was given. They certainly don't know that it is a full century after the Emancipation Proclamation.
I ask them to look at the date that Douglass's narrative was published. I ask for volunteers to explain why it is so incredible that we have a first-person account from a slave written in 1845. This question is meant to get them thinking about yesterday's chapter. I want them to recall that it was illegal for a slave to be taught to read or write.
It is important to keep this to five minutes, so students understand they have to work quickly and thoroughly.
At the end of the five minutes, student will share their re-creation with an elbow partner. I then ask for volunteers to share their main ideas and re-creations with the class.
To close today's lesson, I ask students (thumbs up or down) if their re-creation contained many of the same ideas as that of their partner. I let them know that listening is an important skill that needs to be developed, much like reading and writing.
I compliment them on being able to re-create a text that they have listening to only twice. This is a great accomplishment.
I collect the assignment as a formative assessment, looking for effort and completion.