Connecting with Ruby Bridges
- Grades: 3–5
- Unit Plan:
Students will make connections to the text by using a double-entry journal. Strategic reading allows students to monitor their own thinking and make connections between the text and their own thoughts.
- Engage in critical discussions
- Discover picture books for presenting ideas
- Learn how literature can break barriers and build bridges
- Respond to shared texts in group discussions
- Learn to generate critical thinking
- Learn and apply the comprehension strategy of making connections
- Make connections and react to various texts using a Double-Entry Journal (PDF)
- Copies of The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
- Copies of Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
- Copies of Double-Entry Journal (PDF)
- Transparency of Double-Entry Journal (PDF)
- Overhead projector
Set Up and Prepare
Step 1: Introduce the lesson by check students' prior knowledge of Ruby Bridges. Ask the students the question, "Does anyone know who Ruby Bridges is and what she is famous for?"
Step 2: Explain to the students that Ruby Bridges, as a six-year-old child, became a pioneer in school integration when she broke a racial barrier to enter an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960.
Step 3: Demonstrate the double-entry journal reading strategy. Display the Double-Entry journal (PDF) and demonstrate how to use this technique with the use of an overhead projector.
Step 4: Explain to students that, in the first column, they should choose a passage from The Story of Ruby Bridges that they can react to. Then, in the second column, they should record their thoughts, reactions and/or connections.
Step 5: Reinforce the fact that these reactions should make a connection between The Story of Ruby Bridges and themselves, another book, or the world.
Step 6: Read aloud the first few pages of The Story of Ruby Bridges and model the process of completing the double-entry journal. An example follows:
Idea from Text
Students Thoughts, Reaction/Connection
My daddy lost his job, and that's when we had to move. "I remember us leaving. I was four, I think."
This reminds me of when I was young and we moved to Illinois because my dad got a new job.
Ruby's parents were proud that their daughter had been chosen.
This reminds me of when my brother was chosen to participate in the state spelling bee.
Step 7: Continue modeling the process so that all students can see your reactions and reflections and follow along as you complete the double-entry journal.
Step 8: For practice, have students work together as a class to fill in a bit more of the double-entry journal on the overhead. You record their thoughts for them.
Step 9: Divide students into groups of three or four. As you continue reading The Story of Ruby Bridges, stop every few pages and ask students to record their items from text and thoughts, reactions and/or connections on their own copies of the double-entry journal.
Step 10: Invite students in share their reactions with their group.
Step 11: Continue reading and stopping periodically for reactions until the story is finished.
Step 12: Gather students as a whole class to discuss the process of making connections.
Step 13: Ask students which types of connections were the easiest and the hardest to make?
Step 14: Tell the students that tomorrow they will read within their group the autobiography, Through My Eyes, using a double-entry journal.
Step 1: Distribute a new double-entry journal sheet for Through My Eyes.
Step 2: Reinforce students' knowledge of the double-entry journal by guiding them through the first entry and reminding them of yesterday's activity. If needed students may use the double-entry journal for The Story of Ruby Bridges for reference.
Day 3 —"Reading and Journal Entry Day" continued
Step 1: Continue monitoring student's completion of the double-entry journal.
Step 1: Gather student together as a whole class and discuss their journal entries. Invite students to discuss or describe any connections they made with Through My Eyes and their reactions to the autobiography.
Step 2: Collect double-entry journal for assessment.
Step 3: Create anticipation for lesson two by making a connection between the kind of strength (of character) that made Ruby Bridges success possible with the kind of strength (physical) that makes bridges possible. Just like Ruby Bridges connected lives, so do expansion bridges.
Students write letters to The Ruby Bridges Foundation, P O Box 127, Winnetka, Illinois, 60093 describing the connections they made to her life and their reaction to the books, Through My Eyes and The Story of Ruby Bridges.
Have parents/guardians discuss with their child how much has changed since 1960.
- Learn how to use a double-entry journal.
- Use critical thinking skills.
- Make connections to text.
- Do you think the students will incorporate the double-entry journal for other reading assignments?
- Do you think this was a good way to connect The Story of Ruby Bridges and Through My Eyes with the student's life?
- By reading The Story of Ruby Bridges and Through My Eyes do you think student's discovered the potential of picture books, even at their age?
- Class participation/discussion
- Double-Entry Journal