- Study the definition of what barriers are
- Discuss how values can be used to overcome barriers
- Read and discuss an informational text on the important milestones in the history of the Negro Leagues
- Discuss how Negro League players used values to overcome the barriers they faced
- About My Father Grades 4–5 printable or About My Father Grades 6–8 printable
- Values and Barriers printable
- About the Negro Leagues printable
- Optional: Breaking Barriers Poster and Teaching Guide (includes vocabulary lists, writing prompts, paired-text reading suggestions, and Common Core State Standards)
Make class sets of the My Father Grades 4–5 printable or the About My Father Grades 6–8 printable (depending on the grade you teach), plus the Values and Barriers printable and the About the Negro Leagues printable.
Step 1: Review the teaching points in the following lessons from the Breaking Barriers program: Learning About Barriers by Studying Jackie Robinson lesson and the Learning How Values Help Us Face Barriers lesson about the values Jackie Robinson used to face barriers in his life. Ask students if they’ve ever had to overcome some type of barrier. What values did they use to face the barrier?
Step 2: Distribute the About the Negro Leagues printable. Ask student volunteers to read the narrative aloud.
Step 3: After finishing the narrative, hold a classroom discussion using the following questions to reinforce key facts about the Negro Leagues:
- Why were the Negro Leagues formed?
- What was life like for players in the Negro Leagues?
- How good were the players and who were some of the great ones?
- What barriers did African-Americans have to overcome to play baseball?
Step 4: Ask volunteers to read aloud the values listed on the Values and Barriers printable. Review the definition of each value to make sure that students understand them.
Step 5: Divide students into small groups and ask them to discuss examples of barriers faced by members of the Negro Leagues and which values were important in facing these barriers.
- Have each student develop three trivia questions from the About the Negro Leagues printable on index cards. Organize students into teams and play a trivia game.
- Following the steps and links at the end of the About the Negro Leagues printable, have students conduct research into a Negro Leagues team, and write a report to share with the class.
- Have students create baseball cards of Negro League teams and players. The cards can include a picture of the team or the player and background information such as the team’s location and history or the player’s position, career stats, and honors.
Breaking Barriers Essay Contest
Encourage students to write essays about barriers they have faced in their own lives, and how they have used Jackie Robinson’s values to face those barriers. Students can enter their essays in the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest.
Distribute copies of the Breaking Barriers Essay Contest printable to students for contest guidelines.