The People Speak

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by Creagan2
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Arts & Music
Subject:
Film Report

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The People Speak

The reading of Sylvia Woods’ experience as a young schoolgirl walking past the park and not being able to play was impactful. She refused to pledge the flag or sing the Star Spangled Banner “because it says the land of the free and the home of the brave”. She noticed she was being treated unfairly and said it obviously wasn’t the land of the free because “if this land is free and the flag is mine, then how come I can’t do like the white kids?” Many of our upper elementary students can connect with this because they’ve heard of racism and segregation, especially in the news today, and they can use their background knowledge to relate to this young girl. 3rd-5th grade has standards that discuss segregation and this may be an interesting speech to show to the class. It gives an actual account of what life was like for kids at that time and how they felt. I would obviously discuss the Social Studies concepts and issues at that time along with integrating a writing activity about freedom. I might ask my students to write what freedom means to them. This would hopefully lead to a discussion of the definition of freedom and what it means to different people and how far our country has come. We could also discuss freedoms for other people, such as women and immigrants, and the obstacles they overcame.

I feel like Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech is very powerful where she describes a situation where other women are being helped but she isn’t. In the end, she starts talking about women’s rights and responds to a man who says, “Women can’t have as much rights as men because Christ wasn’t a woman” by replying, “Where did your Christ come from? He came from God and a woman; man didn’t have nothing to do with it.” I love this because it seems like it would have completely shut the man down and think twice about his argument. We’ve got to teach our kids that there are multiple arguments and multiple sides to every situation. I think it can make our students think about every scenario differently and teach them to look at multiple angles and form their questions and observations this way. I will be teaching 4th grade next year so I would love to show this speech when teaching SS4H7 where “The student will examine the main ideas of the abolitionist and suffrage movements” specifically Sojourner Truth. I would like to use this lesson integrated in both reading and writing. I would give my students the speech as a close reading passage. They would first read it as a cold read and write observations about their initial reactions in a writing journal. They would then be given a second read where they try to identify the speaker and purpose. Their third read they could follow along while watching the link to just that portion of the movie and write down any new observations made. As a class, we would discuss the speech, any clarifications that came about after their second and third readings, and what the speaker’s purpose might have been. This could lead to a writing response in writing journals where students examine how Sojourner Truth’s actions may have affected the suffrage movement.

The People Speak Film ReflectionBy: Courtney Reagan

Takeaway 2Sojourner Truth

Wow! I was taught, and have always taught my students, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt saved our nation with his New Deal policies but I never realized how much pressure was on him to create this deal and how he was practically forced due to rebellion. The speech by Genora Johnson Dollinger resonated with me because I didn’t realize how harsh the working conditions were and how violent the protests became. Her speech to the workers and spectators was also very brave and showed confidence even in the darkest times. I’m sure Dollinger had some fears that the battle would not cease and people wouldn’t follow but she showed her courage and passion in her beliefs to her fellow women and was able to break those silent barriers. I could use this is another lesson on SS4CG3 where “The student will describe the functions of government.” specifically “Explaining the process for making and enforcing laws and explaining managing conflicts and protecting rights.” And I would also play on the fact that one woman made such a huge difference and if they find something they are passionate about, even if it seems scary and you may be the only one, stand up for what you believe. I might have my students write persuasive essays to those spectators encouraging them to step up and join to stop the rioting and battle between the police and workers. I would point out that Dollinger used no physical violence so they would need to think of how to peacefully ask their neighbors and friends to stand up. I would also ask for the students to give specifics of what would be happening at that time to prove their knowledge of how difficult those times were for those people and details about the New Deal. I would allow those who are comfortable to present their speeches to the class, record them, and post them on our classroom website.

Takeaway 3 Genora Johnson Dollinger

“Democracy doesn’t come from the top, it comes from the bottom.”~Howard Zinn

Takeaway 1Sylvia Woods

Genora Dollinger

Sylvia Woods


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