Abstract (What enduring understandings/essential questions will this lesson cover?):

In this lesson students will listen to The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson and learn about the role of children in the Civil Rights Movement and specifically the Children’s March. They will discuss what it means to disobey an unjust law. Finally, students will create their own protest sign based on examples of historic and modern signs.

CCLS:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.2

Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.9

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

National Core Arts Standard 1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

Social Justice/Anti-Bias Standard (taken from Teaching Tolerance):

Justice 15

I know about the actions of people and groups who have worked throughout history to bring more justice and fairness to the world.

Action 20

I will work with my friends and family to make our school and community fair for everyone, and we will work hard and cooperate in order to achieve our goals.

Materials:

The Youngest Marcher, images of protest signs or protests, materials for making signs such as poster board or construction paper, markers, crayons, colored pencils

Vocabulary: segregation, intoned, morally, disobey, clutching, surging

Learning Target: I can create a protest sign using information from The Youngest Marcher and other primary sources

Hook:

Who are leaders of the Civil Rights movement that you know? Do you think any kids participated in the civil rights protests? Why or why not?

Direct Teach:

As a matter of fact, kids did protest! Today we’ll learn the story of the youngest protester to be arrested, Audrey Faye Hendricks. She participated in a famous protest called the Children’s March.

Read Aloud The Youngest Marcher. As you read, you might ask:

  • How does Audrey try to participate in the grown ups’ dinner conversation?
  • Who is Mike?
  • What does the author mean when she writes, “In a voice as taut as steel cables, as smooth as glass, he intoned…”
  • What is Mike’s (Dr. King’s) plan to fight segregation? How do people react? Why are they afraid or hesitant to get arrested?
  • How does Audrey feel before the protest? How does she feel when she arrives?
  • What is juvenile hall like for Audrey?
  • Why do you think the men are questioning Audrey about the meetings she attended?

After reading, you might ask:

  • All/most of us already know about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Who were some civil rights leaders you learned about from the story?
  • Did racism end when segregation ended? Why or why not?
  • How did the children make a difference? Do you think the protest would have been effective

Guided Practice:

After reading, take the kids through a See-Think-Wonder routine using the illustration on p. 13. You may also choose to share images from other protests from history and present (Ferguson, Muslim Ban, Women’s March…)

Independent Practice:

Students will create their own protest sign based on models

Anticipated misconceptions or questions (If kids say…):

  • Why does she call Dr. King Mike? Clarify (or ask classmates to) that Mike is a nickname. What does this show about her relationship to Dr. King?
  • Why did her parents let her get arrested? They are bad parents! Why do you think they allowed her? What evidence in the text shows they were worried? Why did they still let her go? Do your family members ever let you do things that are dangerous or new? Why?
  • “Martin Luther King, Jr. ended slavery right?” You might create quick a timeline with students to show the distinct eras of slavery in the U.S. and of Jim Crow.
  • “After MLK everyone is free now!” Depending on your community choose the most appropriate entry point (i.e. Is your school population homogenous? Is there a local or national news story your students are aware of?) but bring students attention to examples of racial inequity that persist today, for example, “MLK and all the fighters of the civil rights movement fought really hard for justice, and changed the world for the better in lots of ways. Can you think of any examples of racism that you see around us?”

Ideas for Modifications/Differentiation

  • Copy an existing sign
  • Trace letters using stencils
  • Cut out letters/images to make a collage

Share/Closing:

  • Have scholars share posters with classmates (or younger schoolmates)

Activist Extension:

  • Invite a local activist into your classroom. Generate questions to ask them about their activism and how to support them.
  • Brainstorm issues students are passionate about (homelessness, gun violence, etc). Plan a protest at school or local elected official’s office.                        

Additional resources: