Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Segregation Simulation

So we have transitioned from Dr. King and segregation into slavery gearing up for the Civil War next week.  Good times in third grade.

However, what I wanted to share with you was our segregation simulation from last week.  It was on Wednesday. 

Tuesday we read the book The Crayon Box that Talked. Before we started I had them each write their name on a piece of paper with their favorite color on the other side of the paper.  We read the book and related it to Dr. King and segregation.  Then I grouped students together based on their chosen favorite color.  The groups had to write a persuasive essay to tell me why their chosen color was the best.  I told them it was important they did a good job, because whichever group I chose would have special privileges the next day. (Social Studies/Science time is the last 40 minutes of the day.) They didn't have a lot of time, and only 2 of the 5 groups got done with their essays, which narrowed my choices down nicely.  I of course picked purple, because that was already my favorite color. (That's what my students told me I did ;) It had nothing to do with the fact that their essay was better than the other one.)

Wednesday started as most other days, except I gave the purple group, purple stickers on their hands.  I wasn't able to do a whole lot during math time, because my kids were being pulled out 7 at a time for their midyear DIBELS math assessment.  On the way to recess, was when I really started 'segregating' them. 
Here are some of the things I did, throughout the next hour, before I had anarchy and half my class decided they would walked out rather than be segregated any more, because I was being so unfair!
  • Only purple people could use the bathroom at the same time as other purple people.  Everyone else had to wait patiently.
  • purple people got to go at the front of all the lines, even though they weren't the line leader. 
  • purple people got to choose our new read aloud chapter book. (we usually vote)
  • purple people got to sit wherever they wanted
  • purple people could tell other people to move so they could sit where they wanted
  • purple people got less work then non purple people (you know, because purple people are smarter than non purple people)
  • Purple people got credit for right answers, even if they came from a non purple person
  • and the one that made my class the MOST upset, purple people got to use the drinking fountain first, and for as long as they wanted, while everyone else, barely got a drink as i told them to "Go" as soon as they touched the water. 
IT was powerful for my 17 third graders.  It gave them the schema they needed for Wednesday afternoon when we did our "just" and "unjust" activity.  By far one of the BEST most ingenious ideas I've ever had (last year we did something similar and on a shorter scale based on dimples or no dimples, this was even better).  

Now talking about slavery and having 0 freedoms, it's amazing to watch them and see how they are still relating things back to our simulation. 
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