How would you describe Harriett Tubman? Students all over the world have learned about the risky things this woman did to free herself and so many slaves held in captive. With so much notariety given to Tubman, it is amazing to see what students would use to describe this wonderful woman in history.
On the board the following prompt is placed for students to answer:
Talking to a 6 year old, how would you tell them about Harriet Tubman?
I want students to respond about Tubman in a language that is simple to young kids. Knowing that young kids' attention and comprehension span is limited, my students must chose wisely in their response to the warm-up prompt.
Who was this phenomenal woman? To answer this question, students will watch two video clips on Harriett Tubman and take notes on the traits of this brave woman. As students watch each video, I write notes heard from the digital mediums on the whiteboard. Because I am doing this lesson with my regular class, many students struggle with watching a video and taking notes simultaneously. However, students are more than willing to copy my notes, add my notes to their running list, or help me add to my notes at the end of each video clip.
Here are samples of Tubman qualities 1 & Tubman qualities 2 that students placed in their notebooks. From here, its time to close read a poem that highlights not only the strength of Tubman but African Americans wanting freedom.
Students will focus on the risk taken by individuals to be FREE. Harriet Tubman is known for her heroic acts on the Underground Railroad. Students learned in the video clips that Tubman was seen world-wide as a woman of strength, determination, and passion. We will continue to study the great works of this women through the perspective of a slave in "Runagate Runagate"
We will read and analyze this poem in three ways. In the first read, students silently read the poem. Because the division of the poem is not obvious, students will make the mistake of just reading the words on the paper and not noticing that the poem is told through two voices: a slave and a master. In the next read, students will listen to the cd reading of the poem. Here the voices used by the reader changes between voices so the perspectives of each voice is heard to gain a better sense of the action. In the final read, we will discuss all of the literary elements found in each stanza of the poem. This will be modeled whole class where I will underline the elements and take notes in the margin of its meanings. Listen to my talk over annotating Runagate Runagate to understand the purpose of the re-reads and impact on student learning.
Students will end this lesson by answering comprehension questions in their notebooks. Because these questions are text-dependent, students may require some help with how to rely solely on the text and not prior knowledge to understand the literary elements and overall meaning of the poem.