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English Language Arts Blog

The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

September 19, 2018 CL Lesson Plans, ELA K-5, ELA Focus - Reading, ELA Resources - Activities, Core Literacy

Reading Lesson: Comparing & Contrasting Firsthand & Secondhand Texts, Grades 4–5

As a literacy specialist, I believe one of the most important things I can do for my students is to teach them a myriad of strategies to interpret texts independently. I want all my students to have what I call a reading strategy toolbox to be able to tackle any text in school or out. In this article, you'll access the Ruby Bridges lesson plan I used to help my 4th and 5th grade students compare firsthand and secondhand accounts.

firsthand-and-secondhand-accounts-ruby-bridges-lesson-plans

After giving my 4th and 5th grade students an assessment, I realized most of my students at both grade levels were struggling with integrating knowledge using multiple texts. They also had difficulty comparing firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event.

Having just finished reading Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges, I went to work creating this 4-day lesson plan. Over the years I have read many texts with my students about Ruby Bridges, but Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges was the first book I read that was written by Ruby Bridges, herself. Her voice and inner thoughts came to life! It was with this text that I finally started to grasp what it must have felt like to be a part of something so historical, so life changing and so frightening.

Ruby Bridges Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts Lesson

The lesson I created encourages students to compare and contrast firsthand and secondhand accounts of Ruby Bridges' experiences as the first African American to attend what was once an all-white school. Over the course of four days students analyze multiple texts using the format: "I do" (the teacher provides explicit instruction and/or modeling), "We do" (the teacher and the students practice together), and "You do" (the students independently practice the skill).

Download my free lesson plan to discover how I used each text with my students, details on activities we completed, tips for small group and independent work on comparing and contrasting, and discussion prompts.

In this article, you'll access the Ruby Bridges lesson plan I used to help my 4th and 5th grade students compare firsthand and secondhand accounts.

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Objectives

  • Students compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic.

  • Students integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

  • Students learn how to use a variety of mediums (books, articles, art, and drama) to better understand a topic.

My Ruby Bridges lesson plans begin with a very fact-based secondhand account about Ruby Bridges and her experience being the first African American to attend what was an all white school.

The following day we read excerpts from the book Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges, so students had a first person point of view to reference throughout the week.

The third day we read two articles that include the thoughts, and point of view of other individuals closely involved with Ruby's transition to William Frantz Elementary School.

On the final day of our lesson, we wrapped up comparing firsthand and secondhand accounts with book, The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole.

Spend a week comparing and contrasting five texts about Ruby Bridges! I've done the work for you and have a comprehensive lesson plan available for download.