Curricular Unit Information

Unit Title: Exploring the Power of Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan: Place, People, Time and Space
Course: English Language Arts 
Grade Level: Elementary (Montessori multi-age beginning at 1st grade)
Unit Length: On Going
Length of Class Period: 90 minutes (work cycle is usually 2 or 3 hours)

Personal Stake:
[Why is this unit meaningful to you? It is important that you identify some aspect of your curricular units and lesson plans that resonate with you personally. This demonstrates a connection to the content and serves as a model for students.]

This unit is meaningful to me because as I look at the large hole in the ground across the street from my school building, I am fascinated with the construction and buildings surrounding  our school in the two years that we have been in this building. I am also interested in doing this unit because of the many people who remember the building being used for a teacher professional development center, an assessment center and as a swing school for schools that were being remodeled (before becoming the Capitol Hill Montessori school). This is our second year being a full DCPS school.  Although the name Logan is in the front of the building, we are referred to as Capitol Hill Montessori (at Logan).  Students ask about the name Logan on the school but I have never taken the time to think beyond the question at that time.  I am interested in having students investigate the name and history of the school and then having them compare their findings to the philosophy of Maria Montessori.

I also enjoy oral history and this unit will give students an opportunity about how  to conduct their own research and oral history projects as it relates to their school and the community, including the blocks of 2nd and H street N.E. and 3rd and H street N.E. Their resources will include people who may still live in the community or who may have attended Logan School during the time of segregation and desegregation.  I am also curious to know how the block of H street (within the blocks of 2nd and 3rd street N.E) was impacted by the H street riots and how it has changed over time.  Students will document the changes over time especially with the rapid changes and continued construction around our school community.

This unit is also important to me because Montessori practices are very different from "traditional" teaching practices (no standards and textbooks). Students are very good at discussions and oral presentations. This unit is devised to have the students put things on paper as much as possible to help strenghten their written skills. I am sure that a unit like this is the first of a kind to be tried with the Montessori students at my school and although it will be somewhat of a challenge for me personally (taking  a risk working with students to think and read like a historian) and professionally (I am a resource teacher and I am not Montessori trained) but I am excited to try a meaningful  project like this which will allow students to become their own researcher, historian, investigator etc. as they guide their own learning in creating a summative assessment through a student centered exhibit.

Unit Topic:
[What are the big ideas students should develop? What is important for students to know and be able to do? What knowledge, skills, and attitudes do you want students to encounter and be familiar with in this unit?]

Students will use discussion techniques, interviews, maps, research, judgment, and other methods to produce written information and products related to what they have learned about the history of their school and their own personal connections to their school and immediate school community.  Students will use their five senses to observe and learn about their school's history, structure, and about the culture of their school and community past and present over a period of time.  

This unit will allow students to investigate and complete various historical missions in relation to (historical people, space, place and time) through questioning, observations, analyzing, researching and interactions using a variety of primary and secondary sources as it relates to finding out the history of the Logan School and surrounding community (H street block of 2nd and 3rd Street N.E.) during the time of segregation through present time ( for students who want to investigate beyond 2nd and 3rd street  - extension from Union Station to 6th Street N.E.)

Students will tell their own story of what they learned from the on going year long unit in the form of an exhibit for the school and community.

DCPS Content and Skills Standards:

Additional standards will be added since this is an on going unit leading up to a school and community exhibit.

3.1. Broad Concept: Students use cardinal directions, map scales, legends, and titles to locate places on contemporary maps of Washington, DC, and the local community

3.1.1.-Compare and contrast the differences between a contemporary map of Washington, DC, and maps of this area at the end of the 18th and 19th centuries 

3.1.4 Describe the various types of communities within the city, beginning with the community in which the elementary school is located.

3.1.5. Describe the ways in which people have used and modified resources in the local region (e.g., building roads, bridges, and cities, and raising crops).

3.4. Broad Concept: Emphasizing the most significant differences, students describe Washington, DC, at the end of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

3.4.2-Construct a chronological explanation of key people and events that were important in shaping the character of Washington, DC, (the Logan community) during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

3.4.5. Identify and research outstanding statements of moral and civic principles made in Washington, DC, and the leaders who delivered them, that contributed to the struggle to extend equal rights to all Americans (e.g., Lincoln and his second inaugural address, Frederick Douglass and his speech against lynching at the Metropolitan AME Church, Martin Luther King Jr. and his speeches at the Lincoln Memorial in 1957 and 1963, and Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at the Poor People’s March)

4.11. Broad Concept: Students compare and contrast 15th- through18th-century America and the United States of the 21st century with respect to population, settlement, patterns, resource use, trans- portation systems, human livelihoods, and economic activity.

5.14. Broad Concept: Students describe the key events and accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

5.14.3. Identify key leaders in the struggle to extend equal rights to all Americans through the decades (e.g., Mary McLeod Bethune, Ella Jo Baker, César Chávez, Frederick Douglass, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Charles Houston, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Carlos Montes, Baker Motley, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Eleanor Roosevelt, Reies López Tijerina)

List and describe the steps toward desegregation (e.g., A. Philip Randolph’s proposed 1941 March on Washington, Jackie Robinson and baseball, Truman and the Armed Forces, Adam Clayton Powell and Congress, and the integration of public schools). (P, S).

3.IT-DP.6. Locate specific information in graphic representations (e.g., charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations, tables, timelines) of text.

3.W-E.3. Write up information on a topic that includes clear focus, ideas in sensible order, and sufficient supporting detail. 

3.W-E.4. Write a friendly letter complete with date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. 

4.IT-DP.7. Locate specific information from text (e.g., letters, memos, directories, menus, schedules, pamphlets, search engines, signs, manuals, instructions, recipes, labels, forms). 

4.IT-DP.6. Interpret information in graphic representations (e.g., charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations, tables, time- lines) of text. 

4.W-E.4. Write summaries of information gathered through research that include relevant facts and details. 

4.W-R.7. Revise writing to improve word choice (using dictionaries, thesauri) and level of detail after determining what could be added or deleted.

DCPS Standards for Grades 3-5 : Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills

The intellectual skills noted below are to be learned through, and applied to, the content standards for grades 3 through 5. They are to be assessed only in conjunction with the content standards in grades 3 through 5. In addition to the standards for grades 3 through 5, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection, and research skills:


Students place key events of the historical era they are studying and interpret information contained within time lines and comparative time charts.

Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.


1. Students place key events of the historical era they are studying and interpret information contained within time lines and comparative time charts.


Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.

Students use nontext primary and secondary sources, such as maps, charts, graphs, photographs, works of art, and technical charts.

Common Core Standards (connections):

Additional standards will be added since this is an on going unit leading up to a school and community exhibit.

2nd Grade Geography: 

3. Students develop spatial ability by drawing sketch maps of the local community, regions of the United States, and major regions of the world. 


2. Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources and know examples of each.

3. Students pose relevant questions about events they encounter in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photographs, maps, artworks, and architecture.

4. Students use nontext primary and secondary sources, such as maps, charts, graphs, photographs, works of art, and technical charts. 

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7 Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Methods of Inquiry:
[Inquiry methods are the primary means through which research is conducted; these tend to vary by discipline. They relate to the types of questions, activities and sources that are used with specific content. Methods of investigation often frame how evidence and data are collected, examined, and reported within a given field. For example, literary critics may perform critical textual analysis, historians may conduct document analysis and triangulate evidence; political scientists may analyze public opinion polls. Inquiry methods can also be cross-disciplinary.] 

Variety of Inquiry method: Historical Sourcing, Contextualization, Questioning, Discussion (rich), Inferencing. 

Students will conduct individual research, use sources, plan walking/traveling field trips etc. to complete the mission of finding out about the history of the school and neighborhood surrounding the school based on their choice of interests. 

Investigate the immediate neighborhood currently surrounding blocks of the  present Logan School at 215 G Street N.E. and 3rd and G Street N.E. (create neighborhood memory map).

Investigate the layout of the inside and outside structure of the present Logan school at 2nd and G Street N.E. (create personal building memory map).

Investigate the structure of the  building currently on the site of  the original Logan school first constructed. (formulate questions to investigate, draw structure of the building, map the location, map key things on the block surrounding the building).

Use primary sources (building lay out map) to compare how the space was used in the past and make note of housing and other structures next to or close to original building.

Formulate questions based on the investigation related to the structure, architecture, symbols, images, historical people, places and human relationships related to the first building and the currect school (Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan).

Use primary sources (newspapers, photographs, maps) to compare the similarities and differences of the current building and how the space is being used compared to how it looked and what it was used for when it was first constructed.  

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the past history of the CHM School at Logan through creating their own timelines (choice of the use of visuals, writing both etc) and they will explain and justify why they created their timeline in a specific order.

Through discussion, analyzing of documents such as photos, building documents, notes etc., students will be able to discuss and note the specific purpose of the document, date, photographer, author and other text features about the document. Students will give meaningful feedback about the document verbally and in writing. 

Conduct research (choice) about John A. Logan and this building that was named after him (create timelines around specific periods related to the use of the space for the site of the old and current Logan buildng, people who lived/still live or attend either Logan including during the time of the civil rights movement (segregation and desegregation), research and document public places focussed from 2nd and 3rd street block of G to H street (businesses during the time of the H street riots).

Research reading materials, non-fiction books, articles etc. related to segregation and desegregation of schools and surrounding community.

Make inferences based on information from maps, books, newspapers articles, photos and other documents and artifacts. 

Students will look at the context of the specific documents in terms of emotions, reactions, use of the specific documents during the time period and compare it to present day (their time). What would they write about their school present day in terms of the changes   of the school being multicultural and not used for traditional. 

Students will work independently, in small groups by choice on further research questions and other points interest as it relates to the school history, name of the school, people, space, place and time in the past and in the present utilizing the various sources as starting information, community places, oral history information etc.

[You should identify what dispositions or attitudes you want your curricular units or lessons to evoke in your students and those that you want students to come away with. This could range from an appreciation of the physical and emotional stress that soldiers experienced in the Civil War to a critical eye toward particular types of sources. Ideally, you will be able to determine which dispositions students don't have or need to develop and incorporate those into the unit. Attitudes get at the tension between the social and cognitive aspects of learning.]

The unit is designed to help students appreciate the current school building as a piece of history in terms of a place where they are able to go to school together regardless of race, space in terms of having a space on the playground and the building not being overcrowded, time in terms of how the building and immediate surrounding community  has changed over time and the various school related historical issues that have happened from  the time the school was first built compared to present day. In addition, the school was originally named after a notable person who was very important during the Civil War (John A. Logan) and the new name of Captiol Hill Montessori is  based on the learning premise of Maria Montessori. Students will be able to document and make note of how things have changed over time and even how the building and surroundings continue to change each and everyday, how things related to education policy impact them as Montessori students and how they play a role in making a difference today compared to the students who made a difference for equal rights for education throughout history. I hope to watch the natural change in the attitudes and emotions of the students as they learn about change over time and  history of the school community and that they are able to make an impact on their peers, adults, parents and community members in this learning process as we continue to strive for equal rights for education and social justice for all.

Essential Questions: 
[These include the central questions that help you organize and formulate lessons within a curricular unit. These should include a range of questions that include recall, descriptive, explanatory, analytic, synthesis, and evaluative thought processes. Please note that when engaged in historical thinking, the traditional ordering of Bloom's Taxonomy is flipped on its head—one has to evaluate a source or group of sources before one can adequately describe it/them (see Wineburg).]

Who was John A. Logan?

Why would you consider Logan to be important?

Why was the old Logan building important in this community?

Why was it important to have an addition to the building or a new site for the building in this community?

What purposes did both buildings serve in the past and do they serve presently?

Why would either building be considered as a historic site?

Should the reference to the name Logan on the front of both buildings be taken off or left on the buildings.

How did the riots on H Street (after Dr. King was killed) impact the people/culture of the Logan school and surrounding community?

What or who was located at the current first Logan site and the second Logan site before the structure of each school building was built on the site? 

What might you learn or gain from conducting oral history interviews with people who attended Logan (both its original and present building site)?

How can a timeline of events (choice activities) based on your historical findings help the school and school community learn about the  past history of the school and community ?

How can we use the past history of what we learned about the school and about the man Logan to help us appreciate and preserve the legacy of the school?

How best can the Montessori program take advantage of the space it has for its program, both the architecture of the school and the neighborhood where it sits?

What did the immediate neighborhood surrounding the school look like (use of real estate maps) compared to the present immediate surroundings?

What changes are still on-going in the immediate surroundings of the school and how might these current changes affect the Montessori school? 

What important events (based on the sources, readings, oral histories, documents) would you highlight to share/discuss with others before the school (each site) was built and after the school was built including the present time period that may have impacted the people/culture and the surrounding community?

What positive threads can you weave between General Logan and Maria Montessori as it relates to the person, building and learning process of students?

What changes have you read or noticed since you have been attending school in the neighborhood?

Why would it be necessary to continue documenting the changes in your school and school community presently and in the future?

What specific documents, artifacts, photos, etc. would you exhibit to tell the story of the history of your school and school community to others in the community and how would you justify selecting these specific items?

Assessment of Student Learning:
[For each category below, what indicators or evidence will demonstrate student learning; how do the assessments reflect the content, skills, and attitudes outlined above; how will you know what students do and don’t know at the beginning, middle, and end of the unit?]

Diagnostic Assessment:

 Montessori learning is about observations: students usually do not usually do assessments in the classroom except for formal assessments mandated by at the district level.  The general education Montessori teachers usually assess thorough rich discussion, peer feedback, teacher feedback, conferences and constant observations and documentation of the progress of students as a whole child. In this unit, I plan to not compromise the Montessori style of learning and assessing,  I wil not  be giving too many assessments or not even calling them assessments. Students will have a choice of  creating some of the assessments  (I will use the word checkpoints instead of assessments) to observe and evaluate students.



KWL and beyond activities

Small and large group discussions/conversations 

Carousel brainstorming

Writing activities

Formative Assessment:

Students will be assessed through out the unit based on the activities for the day.  Students will be assessed using the folowing strategies:

Interaction with the various documents (how students react to documents, use the documents, analyze the documents, questions etc).

Meaningful discussions whole group, individual, small group

Response to written activities

Note-taking and other work samples

Graphic organizers



Summative Assessment:

At the conclusion of the unit, students (small groups) will choose at least one aspect of interest about the history of the school to display in a museum style exhibit for the school community. Students must have written information based on research and other information they have learned from the various activities. Students will also label/highlight specific aspects of written/other work from their portfolio for exhibition.  This should include:  

Selective portfolio pieces inclusive of written samples.

Museum style exhibit on history to present day (inclusive of variety of sources and present day photos).

Refective piece about the process and the unit. 

[Summary of differentiation opportunities and possibilities in the curricular unit]

Due to the nature of the Montessori classrooms being multi-grade level (kids usually work together not necessarily in grade level but on interest or based on peer collaboration of asking each other) and inclusive of students with special needs, it is very important to differentiate. This means that activities will be scaffolded for students on various levels (use of the documents they have to observe, use and analyze, chucking, repeating directions, use of visuals, clarifiying information, varied written assigments, research  based on the skills and ability of students, use of various styles of learning material based on (multiple intelligences style of learning and the whole child) inclusive of reading ability.  Students who have difficulty putting things on paper may do well with discussion, but they usually need time to think through responses verbally and in writing.  Think time, field trips to MLK and other resource sites will be different for small groups of students. 

The reading text for some material will be modified and made simple based on the compexity of the  material for struggling readers, exceptional needs learners and grade of the students.

Community and Cultural Resources:
[from the Summer Institute]

Community and Cultural Resources:

Sumner Museum School - Information on Logan School, photos, school board minutes, PTA minutes.  Building survey and building survey records.

MLK Library - Real Estate Maps /Photos, photos, city directory, information from 1914 to present, vertical files.

Washington Historical Society - Real Estate Maps/ Photos, neighborhood photos, riot on H street photos.

Washington Post Archives (using ProQuest) - articles about Logan School and John A. Logan

Oral interviews of people who attended Logan:

Mr. Wise

Ms. T. Bunch

Great grandmother who lives in neigborhood.

Other interviews:

Current principal of Capitol Hill Montessori

Veteran Montessori teachers.

Mr. J. Hill - was an AU law student during the riots (following the death of Dr. King), he remembers having to go to the jails to defend those who part of the riots etc.

Mrs. M. Jones - lived in the surrounding school community for over 20 years (ward 6 council member).

Community support:

Mr. Cavanaugh (parent and realtor)

JMS Associates (Brian and Tim)

J. Mackinnon – retired librarian

S. Hill – trained ranger/ecologist

local historian (in the neighborhood)

Ms. Purcell and staff (news letter writer for the Hill)

Confirmed field explorations with staff:

Sumner Museum School -Ms. Kimberly (dates have to be scheduled)

Postal Museum - Ms. Emily (dates have to be scheduled)

Washington Historical Society Ms. Anne (special arragement for specific areas) date has to be scheduled.

Swampoodle walking tour (October)

MLK Library (Washingtonian Room) Ms. Kelly (dates have to be confirmed.

Daily Instruction:
Provide a numbered list of lesson plan titles that correspond to the lesson plans that you create.

Our Montessori program does not operate on a set period by period schedule like traditional classes.  Students are required to have a three hour (usually uninterrupted) work cycle where students are working on work for the day (by choice and teacher invited lessons). In the afternoon, students are also expected to choose or complete meaningful work or be involved in a lesson.

Lessons will be created and referred to as missions for students  based on the  2 or 3 hour Montessori work cycle (multi-age and level classes).  The work cycle based on the creativity, curiosity and questioning strategies/responses of students, students may also choose to work on activities in their afternoon sessions.

Since this will be an on-going, almost year long unit which will eventually be driven by the students (ending possibly in the spring with an exhibit), additional lessons may be included (sources etc. may be changed based on lessons and input and feedback from the students). 

Missions may change in order will be adapted as needed to fit the Montessori work cycle and choice (student input/choose) work cycles.  

Some missions although created for a two or three hour work cycle may still need addtional time and or may change based on unexpected activities/interruptions during the school day.

Students are not usually assigned homework as part of the Montessori plan at my school therefore some assessment/reflection activities may be done by the child during their choice time as an extension of class.  

A range of ten missions are outlined for this unit but five lessons will be developed based on the length of the work cycle being compared to a traditonal block schedule or literacy block of 90 to 120 minutes in a three hour work cycle.

Mission 1

  • Students will use prior knowledge to complete an open ended pre-checkpoint sheet of questions (inclusive of visuals and historical vocabulary) related to the school and school community.
  • After completion of checkpoint, students will complete a KW chart (know and want to know) about the school and the school community.
  • Students will give feedback on the pre-checkpoint and the KWS activity through honest and open journal writing. Students will be asked to also infer about what they will learn from the unit (based on the title of the unit - Exploring the Power of Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan: Place, People, Time and Space) and the checkpoint activity.
  • Students will share parts of their journal entries (by choice)

Mission 2

  • Students will complete a journal writing based on a photograph showing students in a specific setting at Logan School.
  • Students will complete a guided reading activity based on textual information (DC Public School article) of text, this text will be modified for students who need the modification/accommodations.
  • Students will complete a formative assessment (based on grade level) by writing a few sentences, paragraphs (visual or phrase/word) about what they learned from the text.

Mission 3

  • Students will complete warm up activity
  • Students will explore the man John Logan as a family man, soldier/(Civil War), politician/senator, vice-president candidate/Memorial Day contribution.
  • Students will explore documents and text in envelopes and take notes based on the text and information given.
  • Students will write a paragraph each from the given texts and documents about John Logan
  • In small groups or individually students will create a report together based on grade level.
  • Students will reflect daily in the form of a journal entry relating to the mission in each class session.

Mission 4

  • Segregation/Civil Rights Movement (people and places) through primary sources and literature/books.

Mission 5

  • Neighborhoods Change, Ideas Change People Change Schools (2nd and 3rd (G street N.E.)
  • Mission 5 will be considered as a midpoint for missions, although this unit will have more than ten missions due to it being almost a year long project/mission. Students will revisit the pre-assessment and reflect on their responses and attitude at this point as they get ready to really explore the neighborhood surrounding the school building.

Mission 6

  • Neighborhoods Change, Ideas Change People Change Schools (Exploring Swampoodle area).

Mission 7

  • Neighborhoods Change, Ideas Change People Change Schools (2nd and 3rd H street N.E.)

Mission 8

  • Common Threads related to our school and surrounding community:Maria Montessori/Logan/African Amerians/Irish/Other (people and cultures)

Mission 9

  • Logan today (Capitol Hill Montessori)

Mission 10

  • Post checkpoint and Power of a Place:Exploring Capitol Hill Montessori@Logan Community Exhibit Planning.

A primary resource is a document that is produced during the time of study. This is a map of the Logan neighborhood where the first Logan was located.
Creator: Real Estate Plat Book, Vol.2
Source: Published by Griffith M. Hopkins
Date: 1893

Another example of a primary resource are these notes from a Board of Education meeting regarding the Logan School..
Creator: DCPS Board of Education
Source: Sumner Museum School
Date: April 3, 1935 to November, 1936

This primary resource is an official record of residences that existed on the current site of the Capitol Hill Montessori School@Logan before the (current) school site was built. The house was owned by Antonio Pignatello. Address of site is 215 G Street, N.E.
Creator: Microfilm
Source: Martin Luther King Library (07/15/2013)
Date: 1928

Newspapers are an important primary resource for the documentation of events in local history. Sample news articles students will use during the unit.
Creator: Washington Post
Source: Martin Luther King Library
Date: October 19, 1969 (main article) other two 1971

Photographs are another important source. This is a photograph of the Logan School in 1987 showing the north and east elevations.
Creator: Fisher, Patricia (photographer)
Source: Sumner Museum School
Date: August 25, 1987

This is the "hole in the ground" which inspired me to wonder about the history of our school's neighborhood and how it is changing.
Creator: Lesa Warrick
Source: Personal photo
Date: July 31, 2013

The front of our building has the sign "Logan school" and no signage for "Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan." This was cause for me to wonder why and how things have changed in our school's history.
Creator: Lesa Warrick
Source: Personal Photo
Date: July 31, 2013