Curricular Unit Information

Unit Title: The Power of Words
Course: Social Studies
Grade Level: First
Unit Length: Six Weeks
Length of Class Period: 45 min per lesson
Personal Stake:

Historical research provides primary and secondary sources that prove American citizens have a voice and often use it to remind our elected leaders that our government is of the people, by the people and for the people. Segregation undervalues, underestimates and marginalizes citizens. Therefore, “segregation” should not be supported by our government. When citizens focus on a common cause, power, passion, ideas, critical thinking and resources are tools they use in collaboration to unite and facilitate change.

In conclusion, the objective its to give the students insight regarding the way the District of Columbia’s landscape has changed and evolved due to a committed group of American citizens who believed in their right to peacefully protest laws that did not support or protect the rights of all of their linguistically and culturally diverse citizens

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?]

The Civil Rights Movement was a revolutionary time period. Students need to be aware of, analyze, understand and interpret how society and its values have evolved over time. Students will be expected to describe the meaning of words associated with civic values such as fairness, responsibility and rules. They will explain and provide personal examples of what it means to treat all people fairly and equally without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, etc.

DCPS Content and Skills Standards:


1.1 Students interpret maps, including the use of map elements to organize information about places and environment. â¨Locate cardinal directions (e.g., north, east, south, and west) and apply them to maps and globes. (e.g. Plan a safe walking route from home to school; Locate Washington, DC on a map)

(Civic Values)

1.2 Students identify and describe, the symbols, icons, songs and traditions of the United States that exemplify cherished ideals and provide continuity and a sense of community across time. (4) Describe the meaning of words associated with civic values such as fairness, responsibility and rules. 

Common Core Standards (connections):

READING RL.1.1 Ask and answer such questions about key details in a text. 

RI.1.5 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. 

RF.1.4  a) Read on-level text with purpose and understanding. b) Read on-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings 

RF.1.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

1.LD-O.6. Recite poems, rhymes, songs, and stories, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

1.LD-Q.3. Describe familiar objects, people, and events and their attributes with specific words and phrases.

1.R.1. Generate questions and gather information from several sources in the classroom, school, or public library.

1.M.1. Identify techniques used in television to present commercials and other information (animation, close-ups, sound effects, music, graphics).

1.IT-DP.5. State the meaning of specific signs, graphics, and symbols.

1.IT-E.2. Respond appropriately to questions based on facts in text heard or read.

1.LT-P.7. Identify a regular beat and similarities of sounds in words in responding to rhythm and rhyme in poetry.

1.LT-S.8. Identify words that the author selects in a literary selection to create a graphic visual experience.

1.LT-U.2. Sequence a series of events in a literary selection heard or read.

1.BR-F.20. Read aloud grade-appropriate text fluently, accurately, and with comprehension.

WRITING 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.

W.1.7: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

Methods of Inquiry:

-Make Historical Observations symbols, images, artifacts and places 

-Form Questions about civic values, symbols, images, artifacts, historical figures and places

- Analyze text, images, artifacts and places to gain historical meaning 

-Make inferences from text, images, artifacts and places 

-Research Books using “Civil Rights” as a theme

-Utilize Music and Dance Resources to interpret and make inferences about a given period in history.


It is important for students to see every single person plays a role in how this world operates and that they are expected to fulfill their roles as citizens of their country who respect cultural, linguistic and ability diverse people. They should develop clear values, self respect for themselves and others and empathy for those who sacrificed in order for themselves and others to have freedom, justice and social/economic equality.

Essential Questions:

-Who are you?

-How can we explore cartography?

-What is race?

-What is the value of skin color?

-What is beauty?

-Why are you proud of who you are and what differences you may have?

-How can courage assist you in creating positive changes locally, nationally and internationally?

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?]

Individual Completed KWL Chart

Diagnostic Assessment:

Students will complete the "K" portion of their KWL Chart in order to describe their previous and present understanding of Civil Rights. 

Formative Assessment:

Reflection Logs/Field Trip Journals will be used for students' reflections on the material they are learning and any questions they may need to have clarified will be added to the "W" portion oftheir KWL Charts. This allows students to make connections to what they have learned, set goals, and reflect upon their learning process. The act of writing about thinking helps students become deeper thinkers and better writers.  Both the students and I will use the Reflection Logs during the formative assessment process to review what the student is learning, and the questions they still have. This will allow me to adjust instruction to meet each student’s individual needs. 

Reading Response Logs will be used to examine what the students are thinking with response to literature. The students will respond personally, ask questions, predict, reflect, collect vocabulary and compose their thoughts about authentic literature.

Think-Pair-Share (Lyman, 1981) is a summarization strategy that can be used in any content area before, during, and after a lesson.  The activity involves three basic steps.  During the "think" stage, the teacher tells students to ponder a question or problem.  This allows for wait time and helps students control the urge to impulsively shout out the first answer that comes to mind.  Next, individuals are paired up and discuss their answer or solution to the problem.  During this steps students may wish to revise or alter their original ideas.  Finally, students are called upon to share with the rest of the class.  There is also a Think-Pair-Square-Share.  In this strategy, partners discuss answers with another pair before sharing with the class. This activity ensures that all students are interacting with the information.  Teachers can use this activity in the formative assessment process as they walk about the room listening to student conversations.

Summative Assessment:

Step 1: Throughout the unit, students will be asking who, what, when, where, why, and how questions while they read and review various texts and collect evidence that helps them determine the meaning of civil rights (equality).  Using these question stems, students will conduct in class research using a variety of multi-level text, interviews and the internet to find answers. Their research will also include reviewing historical documents, and observing documentaries regarding civil rights laws/issues from the 1960’s and contemplating about how these laws/issues relate to their family, schools and their community today. Each student will have a field-studies entry in their Field Journal every time they go on a trip.

Step 2: Students will compare/contrast, analyze and interpret the meanings of civil rights represented in different settings. Student’s individual "L" part of the KWL Charts will be completed and show clear evidence about what each student has "Learned".

Step 3: Students will complete a pre/post bio poem and self-portrait reflecting their personal self-image of themselves at the beginning and end of the unit.


In order to address the many different academic levels and learning styles of my students the learning environments will incorporate Key Domains, i.e. Approaches To Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Creative Arts, and Health and Safety. Their interests will be supported using the following strategies.

-provide different leveled texts that address our topic of inquiry (Reading A-Z)

-conduct in-depth analysis of whole group complex text that is approached using different learning styles:auditory (podcast or read aloud), tactile (manipulating words and sentences for further understanding, acting out the text, visiting a place/space that provides context for what is being read), intrapersonal (partners and small group work), interpersonal (independent reading and reflection), visual (images, charts, graphic organizers), etc.

-Cover text sequentially.

-Use PowerPoint™ presentations or overhead transparencies for visual learners when lecturing.

-Teach key concepts and generalizations unique to each topic or period.

-Examine various points of view.

-Use a variety of text, video, and taped material of varying degrees of difficulty.

-Contrast historical or abstract facts with current events to bring relevancy to students.

-Offer several options for projects so that each student can express his or her understanding in individual ways.

-Allow students options for assessment.

Community and Cultural Resources:
[from the Summer Institute]

The Kiplinger Research Library

Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar

The Charles Sumner School (National Park Service) 

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

1. Who Am I? Pre Assessment

2. Bio-Poem

3. Where Are We?

4. Values & Beliefs “A Matter of Worth”

5. Taking A Stand For Equality

6. Children Unite With A Purpose

7. The Movement: An Explosion of Sound & Rhythm

8. A Musical Review

9.  Moving In The 60's

10. Documenting With Field Journals (Post Assessment)