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Lesson Plans
  • Gotta Be Me
    Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students


    Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
    Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
    Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
    Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


  • Prep

    Bookmarks:
    Bookmark the following sites for your students:

  • Self-Portrait, by Benjamin West, c. 1770-76
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_1.7.self.html)

  • Self Portrait, by Thomas Smith, c. 1680
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_2.5.smithport.html)

  • Frida Kahlo's Self-Portraits
    (http://www.cascade.net/kport.html)

  • The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, 1834
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_2.6.kingdom.html)

  • The Declaration of Independence
    (http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html)

  • Congressional Quarterly
    (http://voter96.cqalert.com/)


  • Steps

  • Introduction/Discussion.

    Prior to beginning this lesson, discuss with your students the ways that societies are formed. You can begin by briefly summarizing the structure of Native American societal structures as a segue into a discussion on early American History. Show the class the AMERICAN VISIONS episode entitled "The Promised Land." Begin discussing the perspectives of early Americans, including Native Americans, Europeans Americans, and African Americans. Questions for discussion include:

  • What was the structure of American society before the arrival of Europeans?
  • Why did Europeans migrate to America from their homelands?
  • What were their experiences in their homelands?
  • How were their experiences in their homelands reflected in the development of America?
  • Discuss the role of other immigrants (non-European) in the development of America.
  • How are their experiences reflected in today's society?

    The questions can be discussed in terms of the ideas, customs, and languages that individuals brought from their homelands that have been incorporated and are still part of American society today.

    Define the words "custom" and "tradition" for your class. Give students examples of customs or traditions. For a homework assignment, students should research customs/traditions that are unique to their individual families. Students should record this information and share it with the rest of the class.



  • Creating a Self-Portrait.

    Materials (per student):
  • Several sheets of white 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Colored string/yarn
  • Buttons of varying shapes and colors
  • Glue

    URLs for this activity:
  • Self-Portrait, by Benjamin West, c. 1770-76
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_1.7.self.html)

  • Self Portrait, by Thomas Smith, c. 1680
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_2.5.smithport.html)

  • Frida Kahlo's Self-Portraits
    (http://www.cascade.net/kport.html)

    Activity: Visit the URLs listed above with your class. Discuss the contents of the images in terms of:

  • Why self-portraits are important.
  • What self-portraits tell us about a person's environment.
  • How the person shown in the portrait wants to be seen.
  • What self-portraits tell us about the time period in which they were created.

    Begin a discussion on self-perception in relationship to social identity. Using the materials listed above, allow students to create self-portraits. Encourage students to accentuate physical characteristics that they feel say a lot about who they are. When students have finished their portraits, have them describe and share their portraits with the class.



  • Creating a Model Society.

    URLs for this activity:
  • The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, 1834
    (http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/
    gallery/g_2.6.kingdom.html)
  • The Declaration of Independence
    (http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html)

  • Congressional Quarterly
    (http://voter96.cqalert.com/)

    Activity:
    Visit the URLs listed above with your class. Each site contains information on the ways that individuals would like their society to run, using an animal metaphor (The Peaceable Kingdom), a societal mission (The Declaration of Independence), and the ways people govern themselves (the Congressional Quarterly). Working in groups of three, and using the Student Organizer, have students create a model society. Students should focus on creating the laws for their society, addressing environmental issues, determining the social atmosphere, and deciding on economic factors. Let students choose a name for their society, the population, and the atmosphere. When students have finished, have each group do a presentation about their society. After all of the groups have presented their societies, begin a discussion based on the following questions:

  • How is the society that you designed similar to American society?
  • What characteristics of your society match your personal interests and concerns?
  • How did your group resolve conflicts over what to include in your society?



  • Reflective Essay.

    After students have completed the activities mentioned above, they will work individually to write an essay on the ways that they are similar to and different from their families and friends. Their essays should be supported by the information that they collected. Essays should be approximately 3 paragraphs long.


  • Tips

    Working in Groups
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc. from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students to take turns. (It may be efficient to have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer.) When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to the sites you want to use for your research. Bookmark the pages that you and your students think are helpful. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful, for reference later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time and make suggestions, so that you can be sure that students have a starting point.


    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.


    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students

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