Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
Illustrator: Dave Hoover and Bill Anderson
Grade Level: 1-3
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Resources for the Underground Railroad
Summary: This book is about Harriet Tubman's journey through slavery and becoming involved in the Underground Railroad. It is a graphic novel that is divided into four chapters: Growing Up A Slave, Heading For The Promised Land, The First Rescue, and Conductor On The Railroad. Each chapter describes a different part in Harriet's life. The story begins with being a slave, how she was unhappy with it, and the horrible things she saw happen to other slaves. It leads into Harriet wanting to run away to the Promised Land. Once Harriet gets out of the South, she finds a job and begins a new life for herself. But she hears rumors of her family members getting sold and traded as slaves and begins the journey to venture back into the South to save them. Harriet becomes a pivotal person in the Underground Railroad that eventually helps free many slaves.
Element 4: The book relates to Element four because it focuses on Harriet's movement for social justice for slavery. She and other people took it upon themselves to help free slaves that would have never been able to be freed if it weren't for the Underground Railroad. The book also recognizes that Harriet was not alone in this effort. People, of different races, all joined together to help these slaves escape the south. If it weren't for the conductors, people like Harriet, then there wouldn't have been a social movement to help free the slaves. The Underground Railroad was a social movement that believed in social justice for all.
Activity: An activity that could be done in a classroom pertaining to this story would be for the students to act out the Underground Railroad. One student will be able to dress up as Harriet Tubman and gather 3-4 other students. They will wait in the hallway as the teacher shuts off the lights and has the other students sit at their desk. Their mission is to go in the classroom, while the other students sit at their desk with their heads down, and make it from the door to the other side of the classroom without making a sound. If a student sitting at their desk can hear them, then they are caught and sent back to try again. Students can take turns being Harriet Tubman or one of her passengers. This will give the students an idea of what it was like to travel 500+ miles and try to not get caught.