This particular unit and the four lessons make connections with the theme Equality and the Prohibition of Discrimination with an emphasis on the question: How can schools introduce and deepen students’ conceptual understanding of major terms–equity, diversity, and unity– related to American democracy and citizenship?
Fundamental to students being able to fully participate in a democratic society to bring about social and political equality and uphold the ideals expressed in national and international documents and movements— the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHD)--are common terms and themes they encounter again and again. Such words include equality, diversity, and unity, and it is important to not just deepen their understanding, but show relationships and connections with them so they become concrete, relevant, and meaningful to students.
In lesson one, we see a videotape of students engaged in a scavenger hunt with the cartoon Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner to find words associated with the American civic ideals and begin a discussion of them. Lesson two pre-teaches vocabulary (domain-specific words) from students’ scavenger hunt in lesson one.Then it draws on the work of Robert Marzano’s multiple representations of a word, both linguistic and non-linguistic as a way of deepening their understanding of basic terms in democracy and citizenship. Making connections between and amongst vocabulary words associated with American democracy is the focus of lesson three. Using Janet Allen’s research article (2006), this lesson introduces students to concept circles to understand the interrelatedness and connections with and among these civic ideals–equity, diversity, and unity–and some words they saw in the cartoon including: come one come all, free and equal, universal suffrage, and welcome. For the fourth and final lesson, students used a rubric as a guide in creating their own cartoons to represent their understanding of equity, diversity, and unity.