I chose to call this unit “Lessons in Leadership” because students need to understand what qualities make a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. was ONE historical leader in the United States Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr. is my “model” of other historical Civil Rights’ leaders who students in my class learn about. There are other age-appropriate leaders students can read about in flexible reading groups, (leveled groups, heterogeneous groups), or teachers can read about these leaders aloud to pupils.(Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks…) Martin Luther King Jr. has a plethora of books available to engage young students and teach them how to be “upstanders” to inequality and unfairness. This bundled unit aligns with the rigor of the Common Core Standards.
Students will sequence events, use the best of reading comprehension strategies by “interacting” and “connecting” with a variety of good books, and think critically about what makes a good leader – in the world and in a classroom. Since students need to connect to their own lives, this unit will begin by students “interviewing” leaders in their school to build community. They will also interview a member in the family to find out what fair “rules” families have for their children and the “purpose” of those rules. Students will then venture out into their neighborhoods to find out who are the leaders in their communities. Lastly, students will learn about the leaders in the world.