Cultural Pluralism in Young Adult Literature—Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Unit of 3 Lessons
Grade Levels: 
6
7
8
Subjects: 
Arts Education
Language Arts
Media / Technology
Philanthropy
Social Studies
Issue Area: 
Fairness
Focus Question 

Focus Question: What is a world citizen's responsibility to promote and advocate for justice and kindness? 

 

Photo Credit:  9 - Civil Rights Movement by U.S. Embassy The Hague is licensed under CC by 2.0

Unit Overview 

Students respond to literature and role-play scenarios around discrimination in 1933 Mississippi, through the Newberry winning novel by Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Students will determine the importance of family and community in socializing children and helping others through hard times. They analyze the effects of discrimination on community capital and self-worth.

Service Experience 
As a part of Lesson One: The Beginning of the Storm, students will go to a local senior citizens’ home and interview seniors about how the community has changed since they were teenagers. They will discuss the importance of family and its influence on beliefs today. They display insights from the interviews on a bulletin board in both the senior home and at school.   In Lesson Two: The Thunder Roles—Town Debate, students will be offered the opportunity to work with a neighboring school district on a Saturday project to“ Bridge the Gap” between two very different communities. Students will have the opportunity to draw and color what diversity looks like to them, and, working with local artists, transfer their work onto a sidewalk square on "the bridge" that separates the two communities. Students will write local businesses for donations, paint, and advertisements. Money would need to be raised for billboards in both communities advertising their project. There will be a dedication ceremony and room for future artwork. Getting the students to work together will be a first step toward bridging the gap between the communities.
Lessons in This Unit 
Unit: 
Cultural Pluralism in Young Adult Literature—Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Lesson 1 of 3
Grades: 
6
7
8

Using award winning literature, the learners will describe and analyze bigotry in Mississippi during the Great Depression. They will also define and give examples of community capital in the rural community where the story takes place and explain the importance of family. Learners will recognize the author's techniques that convey meaning and build empathy with readers.

Unit: 
Cultural Pluralism in Young Adult Literature—Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Lesson 2 of 3
Grades: 
6
7
8
This lesson will dramatize an imaginary town meeting using an event that occurred in the book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It will emphasize the need to respect the rights of every person in the community regardless of race, creed, gender, or socio-economic class.