Teaching Frederick Douglass to 7th Graders

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Katie Rundzieher, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Katie Rundzieher

    Katie Rundzieher New Member

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    Dec 9, 2019

    This is my first year at this school and my first year teaching ever. I teach 7th grade ELA. After Christmas I am supposed to teach a three week unit on the Narrative of Frederick Douglass to my 7th graders. I read Frederick Douglass in high school and struggled with it as a 10th grader so I cannot imagine teaching it to my 7th graders, only a handful of whom are actually on grade level. Everywhere I've seen online says Frederick Douglass is a 9-12th grade level book. My instructional coach told me I am welcome to teach the scholastic version but that is at a 2nd grade level. Many of my students are low but they are not THAT low. I have been scouring the internet for another abridged version that may be more appropriate for middle schoolers. I cannot seem to find anything that itsn't the original higher lexile version or a 2nd grade version. Anyone know of any 5th-7th grade appropriate versions of Frederick Douglass? Anyone ever taught it at all to middle schoolers and have any other suggestions?

    Thank you!
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Dec 9, 2019

    Why not start with the Scholastic version and build on that version? You can assign reading that is closer to their grade level for portions that you feel they would be more apt to understand. You can get them to use the simpler version to generate questions they would like to know more about, make correlations to other historical writings that may share subject matter, and perhaps suggest how this would play out in this time and age. It would be ambitious, but you would have a lot of leeway in deciding what to build upon, and your students may surprise you in what they take away from even the lower level readings.

    https://www.engageny.org/resource/c...a-narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass
    https://www.uen.org/lessonplan/view/33355
    https://educators.brainpop.com/bp-topic/frederick-douglass/
    https://www.varsitytutors.com/englishteacher/douglass
    https://www.brighthubeducation.com/...lass-facts-and-project-ideas-for-third-grade/
    https://www.instructorweb.com/les/frederickdouglass.asp
    https://www.nps.gov/frdo/learn/education/upload/FRDO_marchForward.pdf
    https://americanhistoricfigures.weebly.com/ela-lesson-plan.html
    https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/frederick-douglass-fights-for-freedom/
    https://civics.sites.unc.edu/files/2012/04/FrederickDouglas.pdf
    http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/Byrnes-famous/douglass.html
    https://edsitement.neh.gov/curricula/courage-freedom-frederick-douglasss-1845-autobiography
    https://librarycompany.org/geniusoffreedom/lesson-plans/
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/lesson-plans/frederick-douglass/all
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/teache...douglass-an-american-slave-written-by-himself
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/teache...e-of-frederick-douglass-by-frederick-douglass
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/teachers/from-the-narrative-life-of-frederick-douglass
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/teachers/reading-comprehension-frederick-douglass
    https://www.lessonplanet.com/teachers/frederick-douglass-this-is-your-life-the-abolitionist
    https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/n...vies-kids-lesson-plan-field-trips/2246368001/
    https://www.ereadingworksheets.com/.../narrative-of-the-life-of-frederick-douglass/
    https://classroomlaw.org/resources/constitution_and_slavery/
    https://www.vermonthumanities.org/p.../douglass-faqs/more-about-frederick-douglass/
    https://docplayer.net/20874539-Narr...d-for-8-th-grade-social-studies-students.html
    Best of luck.
     
  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Dec 10, 2019

    I agree that the Narrative is way too high for 7th graders, not just reading level, but content-wise -- there is a lot of graphic description of violence and sexual assault that I would find problematic for that age level. I would go with the Scholastic version and build out from there, as Vickilyn suggested.
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Dec 10, 2019

    Ask your instructional coach to draft a letter to parents outlining the violence and sexual assault scenes in the book, so the parents will be aware. Put this request, along with your concerns, in writing to the instructional coach and document any verbal answers.

    Unless the instructional coach is willing to deal with any fall-out or parent issues regarding this, I would not do this particular book with 7th graders.

    There is a reason it is a high school level book. Even if a 7th grader can read it, it doesn't mean he/she should read it. As an elementary school teacher who used to teach 3rd grade gifted, I can tell you that just because a child reads on an 8th grade level, doesn't mean he or she should be reading any book at that level. They may be able to read the words and even comprehend most of it, but they aren't ready to deal with those mature issues at a young age.
     
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  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 10, 2019

    We teach an excerpt from the autobiography to 8th graders, and we talk about him more using texts from ReadWorks.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Dec 11, 2019

    Is this mandatory for all 7th graders? Have you asked other teachers what they use?
     
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