The Parenting Center and Curriculum & Instruction department received a grant from the Achieve Foundation to fund a new initiative called, “One Book One Grade.” Since the start of January, 5th graders have been immersed in experiencing the memoir of Linda Blackmon Lowery, author of “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom.” In this journey of “One Book, One Grade,” our students have been exploring the civil rights era through the experience of a 14-year-old who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to change American history.
Elementary-school librarians developed a study guide that pre-teaches the concepts and events of the Selma March. Working with fifth-grade language arts teachers, they have been unpacking the rich language and imagery derived from the book; ideas and thoughts generated from this experience are being explored in classroom discussions throughout January.
As a supplement, parents/guardians have received periodic updates and students were sent home with flyers that provide a summary of topics, discussion questions, and activities that they have been experiencing in their classrooms so they are able to extend the discussion from the school to home.
To culminate the book’s activities, all 5th graders will participate in an assembly featuring Lynda Blackmon Lowery. The event will take place on Thursday, January 16, 2020, at South Orange Middle School. Students will hear her first-hand account of marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to secure the right to vote for African Americans.
Book Synopsis: As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults could be heroes. Jailed eleven times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she shows today’s young readers what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history. (Penguin Random House)