Or download our app "Guided Lessons by Education.com" on your device's app store.
No standards associated with this content.
Which set of standards are you looking for?
- Students will be able to use terminology related to the Underground Railroad correctly in context.
- Ask students if they have any knowledge of the Underground Railroad.
- Explain that the Underground Railroad was actually neither underground nor a railroad. It was a term used to describe the secret way that slaves escaped from slavery with the help of many people.
- Ask students, "Have you ever used or made up a secret code before?" Have some students share their experiences.
- Tell students that the Underground Railroad also had something like a secret code. To keep the Underground Railroad hidden from slave owners, special terms were used so slaves could talk about escaping on the Underground Railroad without slave owners knowing what they were talking about.
- Tell students that today, they will be learning some of the special language used to describe different aspects of the Underground Railroad.
- Provide student-friendly definitions for the following terms: "slavery," "secret code," "underground," "railroad," and "escaping."
- Show images related to the Underground Railroad to give more context and background knowledge to the ELs.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(5 minutes)
- Tell students that they will be reading a passage about the Underground Railroad.
- There are five bolded words in the passage. They will need to determine the meaning of each word by looking for context clues around the word.
- Model for students by reading the following sentence: "The goal was to get to a free state, a state where slavery was not legal." Highlight "a state where slavery was not legal" to show the definition of a free state.
- Break up the passage into smaller, more manageable chunks for students to read.
- Have students orally retell the strategy you modeled to decipher the meaning of the term "free state."
Guided Practice(5 minutes)
- Have students work in pairs to continue reading the passage and determining the meaning of the bolded words.
- Give each pair a highlighter. Students should highlight the meaning of each word in the text.
- Review answers as a class. Take clarifying questions from students if needed.
- Have students highlight the context clues for half of the bolded words.
- Provide the definitions of the bolded words before asking students to highlight the context clues that indicate its meaning.
Independent working time(30 minutes)
- Explain that now students will be writing as if they were slaves on the Underground Railroad.
- Students will need to write a diary entry about some aspect of their journey. In their diary entry, they must include all five terms from the passage.
- Ask students questions to get them thinking about what they will write. For example:
- What time of day did people travel on the Underground Railroad, and how would that make things challenging?
- What other challenges would passengers have faced?
- What emotions would they have felt as they traveled on the Underground Railroad?
- Remind students of the components of a diary entry (the date, as well as a salutation such as "Dear Diary").
- Give students ample time to write their diary entries, walking around the room to ensure that students are on the right track.
- Provide a word box with key terms and visuals for the writing portion.
- Provide ELs with a phrase bank and more resources (images, books or printed articles) to help them write the diary entry.
- Challenge advanced students to write an additional diary entry using several of the words from a different point of view: a conductor, stockholder, or even a slave owner.
- It may be helpful for struggling students to have a list of the terms and definitions to use while writing their diary entries. Additionally, students who have trouble with writing could integrate three or fewer terms in their diary entry rather than all five.
- Check students' journal entries to determine whether they used the terms correctly in context.
- Provide a simple rubric for students to self or peer assess their diary entries.
- Allow students to work in pairs for the writing portion of the lesson.
Review and closing(15 minutes)
- Have each student share his diary entry with a partner.
- Ask students the following:
- Would you rather be a passenger, conductor, or stockholder? Why? What challenges would each of those people face?
- Take several student responses.
- Give students a sentence frame to help them in the discussion: "I would rather be a ____ (passenger, conductor, or stockholder) because..."