Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Talk about Tubman: Taking Advantage of Current Events

The Common Core State Standards require students to "describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text" (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3: Informational Text).

There are many great ways to get students to understand historical events   in sequence and to see the connection between history and current events. One is to find relevant examples of historical figures being mentioned in current events and then present students with both a biography on the person and with information on the current event. 

This week's news of Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill provides a perfect opportunity for a lesson of this type.   You can use her biography to teach exactly why she is important enough in history to deserve a place on our currency.

You can get some ideas for your lesson from the free downloadable teacher's guide for our Harriet Tubman book ( CLICK HERE TO SEE THE BIOGRAPHY, GRL M ). It gives Common-Core-correlated ideas for learning goals and lesson plans. Here is an excerpt of the guide:

Social Studies Goals

  • Focus on time continuity and change to explore historical issues from Harriet Tubman’s era, for example, slavery, the Underground Railroad, and how Tubman made a difference for many slaves wanting to travel to the North to achieve freedom.
  • Focus on individual development and identity, for example, how Tubman was personally motivated to make a difference in her own life and the lives of many others. 
  • Focus on individuals, groups, and institutions, for example, how slavery was a practice in certain states and how conflicts that slavery produced in the nation led to civil war. (CCSS ELA-Literacy “National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies”: Chapter 2—The Themes of Social Studies; S&L 3.1)

You can download the teacher's guide in its entirety at the bottom of this page. Beside it, there is also a series highlights sheet with key features of the books outlined that you can download if you'd like more information on the entire Hameray Biography Series, or you can   click here to see all the titles available