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Social Studies Lesson Plan Links: Freedom Leaders (Ruby Bridges), Grades 2-3

Social Studies Lesson Plan Links: Freedom Leaders (Ruby Bridges), Grades 2-3


Research: Conduct research about the Civil Rights Movement and other leaders of freedom, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt. A timeline on page 55 of Through My Eyes puts the New Orleans school integration into perspective with other surrounding events.

Primary Sources: Explain that documents such as letters, journals, and newspapers are called primary sources, and that they tell us much about history. Explain the difference between primary sources and secondary sources, e.g., the quotes in Through My Eyes from newspapers (secondary), and the actual newspapers (primary). Linked at the bottom of this page are primary documents: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/ruby-bridges-simple-act-courage-lesson-plans-and-teaching-resources#collection-block-primary-sources-from-the-scholastic-archives

Geography/History: Research to learn more about the areas where Ruby Bridges was born and raised – Tylerton, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Discuss how the culture of the South was different from that of the North and other regions. Compare/contrast the North and the South, and life before and after the Civil War.

Vocabulary: Have students group words into categories (see sample vocabulary lists): proper nouns, civil rights/legal/protestor words, descriptive/action words, etc. Create word clouds and add to them. You may also include some words students used in their evidence-based answers, letters, or reports.

Writing: Have students write a short report about Ruby Bridges, or another leader of freedom from the Civil Rights era. Encourage them to include details about the person’s background, influences, experiences and/or accomplishments, and why this person is a leader who helped create positive change. Students may also respond to a writing prompt such as the following:

  • What do you think it was like to walk through an angry mob every day and spend the day alone in a classroom? Do you think you would have been able to persevere like Ruby? Why or why not?
  • Why was the Civil Rights Movement an important time in U.S. history? How do you think this country would be different today without leaders like Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others?
  • What makes a person a true leader, or what some would call an American hero?

Poetry: Read the jump-rope rhyme “Ruby B.” by Susan Salidor included at the back of Through My Eyes. Have students write their own short poems about Ruby or another leader of freedom.

Art: Show students the Norman Rockwell painting “The Problem We All Live With” (on p. 25 of Through My Eyes). You may also wish to show them a color version. Discuss the details and emotions in this famous painting based on the scene of Ruby Bridges being escorted into school by four federal marshals.

Music: Listen to the song “Ruby’s Shoes”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qeYBnQMnA

Movie: Watch the movie “Ruby’s Story.” Excerpts available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klj5fgaKzIk