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HistoryFix: Fly to Freedom...can slavery ever be solved?

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from HistoryFix
Historical Topic: slavery Students Write: a story about solving the problem of slavery

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Fly to Freedom

This writing across the curriculum lesson was created by Nevada teacher Denise Boswell.

Denise believes this history lesson be appropriate for students in grades 5-8.

Lesson Overview:

Overview: Students will use prior content knowledge about slavery to discriminate between an example and non-example of slavery while building on a working definition of slavery. The mentor text, The People Could Fly, is used to identify examples of internal and external conflict. This text will also be the foundation for a writing assignment that focuses on the wish-fulfillment motif and character’s motivation.

Time Needed: one 45-minute class session, then time to develop (draft, revise, edit) the piece of writing.

Writing skills (traits) to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Idea Development (writing with a clear theme or topic in mind; putting researched ideas into one's own words)
  • Voice (conveying passion towards the topic; and making accomodations for the one's audience)
  • Sentence Fluency & Word Choice (using a variety of sentence types, sentence beginnings, and figurative language)
  • Students will describe the motivation for a character’s actions.
  • Students will identify the internal and external conflict in the story.
  • Students will draft a narrative demonstrating an understanding of character development and motivation. (Wish-fulfillment Motif)
  • Students will explain why slavery was introduced into colonial America.
  • Students will explain how the interactions among Africans and Europeans during colonial American resulted in unique economic, social, and political institutions.

Materials List:

Teacher Instructions:

  1. Play the PowerPoint slideshow: Slavery, Yesterday and Today.
  2. Have students write their definition own of slavery and a paragraph on how they personally feel about slavery. Students need to use details to support their opinion.
  3. Display the dictionary's definition of slavery. Have students check their definition and make adjustments.
  4. Show the example and non-example of slavery (freedom). Discuss these in groups.
  5. Read aloud The People Could Fly.
  6. Have students discuss the mentor text questions and share as a class.
  7. Pass out the Pre-write graphic organizer. Inspired by the mentor text, students will develop a piece of writing around one of these topics:
    • Think of a time when you have felt powerless. If you had a magical power, what power would you have and how would it solve your problem.
    • Think of a group of people that are vulnerable or powerless. Give them a magical power and explain how that would solve their problem.

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