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English - 'I felt as if I didn't matter'

What it's all about

Rosa Parks is a real-life heroine. Her story of defiance against prejudice is an excellent way of simplifying the issue for primary children, writes Chris Fenton.

Write the following statements on the board and give the children five minutes to discuss what led up to the event.

A woman is travelling on a bus. The bus stops and a man gets on. All the seats are taken so the man walks down the bus to where the woman is sitting. He asks her to get up and to give him her seat. She refuses. He asks again. She refuses. The bus driver calls the police and the woman is arrested and put in jail.

You can imagine the childish responses. But once the actual reason was given - that Rosa Parks was black and sitting in a seat reserved for white people only - my class simply didn't believe me.

So to help them experience segregation, I split the classroom down the middle with dividing panels. Then I lined the children up and segregated the class into two groups. Those on the left wore yellow PE bibs and, as the lesson went on, I favoured the group on the right, giving them questions to answer, rewarding them with house points, allowing them to finish five minutes early. After break, I reversed the prejudice.

We discussed how the children felt when prejudiced against. The little girl who said she felt as though she didn't matter really caught the mood. Prejudice does exactly that.

What else?

Research black heroes with a worksheet from ~babyblushes~, bit.lyTESblackheroes.

Check out bevevans22 `s picture book PowerPoint about Martin Luther King's life, bit.lyMLKstory.

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