Ideas for Writing
Tell students to imagine that they are newspaper reporters assigned to cover the Montgomery bus boycott. (Suggest that students decide whether they want to report on plans and preparations for the boycott, the boycott itself, or, as a follow-up article, what the boycott accomplished.) Remind students that a good newspaper article includes answers to the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions. Encourage them to keep their articles focused, to use lively, descriptive language, and to include a snappy headline that captures their readers' attention. You may wish to display some well-written newspaper articles for students to review for style. After the articles are written, allow time for volunteers to share their work with the rest of the class. Then collect the articles and use them to make a newspaper “Special Edition” about the event.
Suggest that students write an opinion paper on how Rosa Parks's role in the civil rights movement affected the civil rights of all Americans. You may wish to point out that the civil rights movement — which led to laws guaranteeing equality in housing, employment, education, and public accommodation; as well as promoting voting rights and equal protection under the law — affect everyone. Explain to students that in an opinion paper, the writer attempts to persuade others to adopt his or her point of view by using facts that support those points of view. After students have written their papers, have volunteers share them with the class.
Explain to students that in an autobiographical profile the writer gives a brief description of his or her life. Suggest that students write their own autobiographical profiles, focusing on events in their lives that they consider especially interesting and important. If necessary, remind students that an autobiographical profile not only includes descriptions of events and experiences, but also the author's personal impressions and reactions to them. When students have finished writing, call on volunteers to share their profiles with the class. Then have students collect the autobiographical profiles in a book.
Tell students to imagine that they have been asked to write a review of Rosa Parks: My Story for either the school or a local newspaper. Point out that a good book review, like a good book report, includes the title of the book, the name of the author, and some details that describe the contents of the book. It may also include excerpts from the book to give the reader a sense of the book's content and style. It concludes with the book reviewer's personal evaluation of the book, which generally includes a recommendation that others should either read the book or avoid it. After students have written their reviews, ask volunteers to share their work with the class. Involve all students in a discussion of whether or not they agree with each reviewer's opinions.
Ideas for Researching
Magazine Feature Article
Students may want to discover more about other African Americans mentioned in Rosa Parks: My Story who were participants in the civil rights movement. Suggest that students do additional research on one of these individuals and use what they learn to write feature articles for a magazine. Point out that the articles may be written as reports or as interviews. Students should include background information and facts of special significance that will make the articles interesting. In addition, they should give their articles titles that will attract the attention of readers. Ask volunteers to share completed articles with the class. Then suggest that the articles be put together in a “magazine” for display in the classroom or school library.
Legal and Legislative History
In Rosa Parks: My Story, Rosa Parks mentions several legal and legislative landmarks in the African American struggle for civil rights — for example, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Brown v. Board of Education. Suggest that interested students work together to research the legal and legislative history of the civil rights movement since World War I. Recommend that students select acts and cases that are especially consequential and far reaching. Then suggest that students use what they have learned to make a time line, bulletin board display, or mural for the classroom, and use the display to make an oral presentation to the class.
The term civil rights refers to the rights of everyone: minorities, women, children, the physically and mentally challenged, religious groups, and so on. Suggest that students work in small groups to research a civil rights topic that is currently being covered in newspapers and magazines and on public and commercial television. Challenge students to follow coverage of the issue for two or three weeks. Then have group members pool their research, noting any biases and factual discrepancies. Help groups prepare and participate in a panel discussion on the issue. Each group should act as a panel and hold a five-to-ten minute discussion for the class.
Civil Rights Milestones
Explain to students that a milestone is an important event — usually one that affects and changes the course of subsequent events. Suggest that students research the civil rights movement to identify at least six events that they consider milestones — for example, the Montgomery bus boycott, the Civil Rights Act of 1965, and Brown v. Board of Education. Have students use what they learn to make a multimedia presentation. Explain that multimedia presentations use several different techniques and tools to convey ideas to an audience. For example, students might consider using diagrams, time lines, photographs, flip charts, big books, and recordings. Allow time for students to prepare and make their presentations to the class, and for class discussion.