Lesson Plan on Crispus Attucks

Teacher:  Andrea Morgan

Subject:  Social Studies

Grade Level:  5

Date:  November 5, 2001

             I.      Content:  I want my students to understand that even though our Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and a black man was the first to die in the American Revolution, most blacks in the United States were excluded from this “self-evident” truth until the Civil War. 

          II.      Prerequisites:  The students will need to understand, or be advised of, the meanings for the following terms: role, motive, legacy, casualty, revile and self-evident truth.  To reinforce the above terms see the attached “list of terms” sheet that the teacher will provide for each student.  The students will need to understand the events leading up to the Boston Massacre.  The students will need to understand that black slaves existed in the United States until almost 100 years after the Revolutionary War.  

       III.      Instructional Objective:  Upon request, the student will describe the role, motive and legacy of Crispus Attucks in the Boston Massacre.  Included in the description must be referenced at least the following: (1) that Attucks was the first casualty of the American Revolution, (2) that Attucks was a black man who had escaped slavery and valued his freedom, (3) that John Adams, a future President of the United States, served as a lawyer for the crown reviling Attucks’ behavior, (4) that in the first 100 years after his death Attucks was all but forgotten and if remembered was considered to be a rabble-rousing villain, and (5) Attucks was honored in the late 1800’s when the Crispus Attucks Monument was erected in Boston despite some opposition. 

        IV.      Instructional Procedures:

Lesson-initiating activity:  The teacher will begin the lesson by asking the students if they have ever heard of Paul Revere.  After briefly acknowledging what the students know about Paul Revere, the teacher will ask the students what they know about Crispus Attucks.  Assuming the students know nothing, or very little, about Crispus Attucks, the teacher will explain to the students that Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the American Revolution.  The teacher will ask the students why they think they recognized the name Paul Revere but not Crispus Attucks.  The teacher will tell the students that they are going to learn about Crispus Attucks’ life and legacy. 

Core Activities:  The teacher will read aloud the first chapter of Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots (Childhood of Famous Americans Series) by Gary Morrow.  The students will finish reading the book during SSR or for homework.  The teacher will then create a time-line on the overhead projector which includes the following: Attucks’ birth (c. 1723), Attucks’ escape from slavery (1750), the Boston Massacre – Attucks’ death (1770), a poem and drawing of the Boston Massacre by Paul Revere who omitted Crispus Attucks in his portrayal (1770), the acquittal of British soldiers who killed Attucks defended by John Adams (1770), the American Revolution ends in victory (1776), and the Emancipation Proclamation (1863).  The teacher will discuss each of these events in detail.  The teacher will ask the students to reproduce this timeline in their notebooks. 

Closure Activities:  The teacher will read aloud the second paragraph of the “Declaration of Independence” which begins with “We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” and hold a whole-class discussion about the meaning of this paragraph.  The teacher will discuss with the class how words and actions can contradict each other. 

ESOL Considerations:  A “List of Terms” sheet is provided to aid the students understanding of difficult vocabulary needed for the lesson.  A timeline is created on the overhead as a visual aid.  

           V.      Materials and Equipment:  The material for this lesson include the “List of Terms” sheet created by the teacher, a copy of the book Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots for each student, and an overhead projector. 

        VI.      Assessment:  The students will be given an essay test for which they must answer:  What was the role, motive and legacy of Crispus Attucks?  The students are expected to address all the topics discussed in the objective.  The students will also be judged on essay organization, sentence structure and grammar.  The students will be allowed to use the timeline they reproduced in their notebooks as well as the book Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots. 

     VII.      Follow-up Activities:  The teacher will select historical figures from the time period of the American Revolution through the Civil War.  The students will randomly pick one of the historical figures from a hat.  Each student will need to generate a report on “their” historical figure that will include the role, motive and legacy that describes their assigned historical figure. 

  VIII.      Self-Assessment:  The teacher will ask her/himself the following questions:  Did I complete my objective  (judging by the results of the essay test)? Did the students seem excited about completing Crispus Attucks: Black Leader of Colonial Patriots?  Were the students’ enthusiastic and actively participating during class discussion?  What can I do to improve my lesson plan for next time?

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