Follow the history of individuals who changed the world with this collection of teaching resources for Black History Month.
- Understand the central message or lesson in the story
- Understand that the struggle for freedom and equality took many generations, and continues today
- Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson
- Chart paper and markers
- A copy of the Show Way Family Tree printable for each student
- One copy of the Show Way Family Tree Answer Key printable
- A 12x18 manila paper or a piece of white construction paper for each student
- Markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils, enough for the class to share
- Extension activity only: 3 copies per student of the Show Way Family Interview Sheet printable
- Extension activity only: A 9x12 piece of manila paper or white construction paper for each student
- Pre-read the book.
- Make a copy of the Show Way Family Tree Worksheet printable for each student.
- Make an example of a show way quilt/timeline for the class.
Step 1: Introduce Show Way, a book about family heritage. The family in the book passes down, generation to generation, a “show way.” Show ways are quilts with secret messages: maps to freedom. They are also an idea. Show ways are paths to a better future.
Step 2: Discuss freedom quilts. Although the historical accuracy is disputed, there is folklore that slaves in America made quilts that served as secret maps. The quilts showed slaves the route to freedom, using the Underground Railroad.
Step 3: Read aloud Show Way with your class, stopping to ask and answer questions as you read.
Step 4: Review the author’s family tree with the class. Next, fill in the Show Way Family Tree Worksheet with the class (scaffolding according to need). Name the women in each generation. Discuss what each woman’s life was like. Discuss what life lessons they learned.
Step 5: Discuss the struggles for freedom and equality for each woman in the book. Not all the women were born slaves, but they still wanted to pass down maps, or paths to brighter futures. Ask the class: What does this mean? Why is family heritage important? What can you learn from previous generations?
Step 6: Have your students create a “show way” quilt for the author’s family. Direct them to fold their large piece of manila or white construction paper into eight sections. The students should label each section with a female character’s name. In each section, have your students draw pictures or symbols that represent that woman’s life. The students should leave room in the square for a written summary, as well.
Step 7: Direct your students to write a brief summary, two or three sentences long, about each woman’s life in the corresponding section.
Provide each student with 3 copies of the Show Way Family Interview Sheet printable and a piece of 9x12 construction paper or manila paper.
Step 1: Ask your students to think about their families. Ask them: Do you have family traditions? Do individuals in your family have important life stories? Have they learned life lessons? Have you? Have the students pick three family members, from any generation, to interview. Students should take home the interview sheet to complete for the following week.
Step 2: Students will interview three family members with the interview sheet.
Step 3: Using the interview sheet, students will create a “show way” based on their own family history. Have each student fold a 9x12 piece of construction paper or manila paper into four sections. Students should label each section with the name of a family member, adding their own name in the fourth square. Students should draw pictures and symbols of their family members’ lives and life lessons they’ve learned. The students should leave room in the square for a written summary, as well.
Step 4: Direct students to write a brief summary of 2 to 3 sentences, about each family member’s life and life lessons, in the corresponding section.
- Did the student put the generations in the correct order?
- Did the student correctly identify and illustrate each character’s life, and life lessons the character learned?
- Did the student include a brief summary correctly explaining each picture he or she drew?
- Was the student able to contribute to the class conversation?
Common Core State Standards