Segregation in Schools

8th Grade Civil Rights Lesson

General Info

Created ByLauren Mercier
SchoolMiddle School
LocationMcComb, MS

About the Lesson

Subject Area, ,
Lesson/UnitCivil Rights

Using the QFT

Place in the Unit/LessonBeginning
Brief description of the unitStudying segregation and the civil rights movement in U.S. history.
Final QFocusWhen a law was passed that required schools to integrate, Melba Pattillo was one of the few volunteers to take the first step into what was once an all-white school.

Student Work

Student Questions

Priority questions in bold

Group 1

  • Why did she volunteer?

  • What was she feeling when she went into the school?

  • Why did they finally pass that law?

  • How many volunteers were there?

  • When was the law passed?

  • How was the 1st step throughout volunteering?

  • Who was Melba Patillo?

  • Who was the other volunteer?

  • Why was the school integrated?

  • Why was it an all white school?

  • Where is the school?

  • What was the exact number of volunteers?

  • When was the law passed?

  • Who passed the law?

  • How were the chosen?

  • Who chose them?

Group 2

  • Was she happy about integrating into an all white school?

  • Why did she go to integrate the school?

  • Who went to the school first?

  • Who were the 9 volunteers?

  • How did she feel when she entered the school?

  • What did they feel like when they were being bothered?

  • How did the white react?

Group 3

  • Why did they volunteer?

  • What year did integrate the school?

  • How was the law passed?

  • How old was she when she went to school?

  • What did Melba’s parents think about her volunteering?

  • Was she scared?

  • Was she pressured?

  • Did she have to wear uniforms?

  • What effect did she make?

  • Was she treated respectfully?

  • What was her other school like?

  • Was she as smart as the other students?

  • Were the students happy when she did it?

  • How did her community feel when she integrated?

  • What process did she have to go through?

Group 4

  • Was she brave?

  • Was she determined?

  • Why did they have people volunteer?

  • What made her volunteer first?

  • Was she happy about going to a better school?

  • Did feel like she was going into a better or new experience?

  • Did she start to get comfortable?

  • Did she make any friends?

  • Did she know the other people that decided to go too?

  • What was her outlook of the school?

Teacher Reflections

When brainstorming for my Q Focus Statement, I first thought of what I wanted my students to learn from the civil rights unit. Then I considered what type of questions the students would need to ask in order to be curious enough to find out what I wanted them to learn. It is at that time that I was able to produce the Q Focus Statement.  Originally, my statement was “At one time, segregation was the norm in schools in America.” Then I revised the statement to read: Segregation was the norm in schools in America until a law was passed requiring schools to integrate. Still not satisfied that my students would ask the questions I wanted them to ask about specific individuals in the civil rights movement, I made the final change to my Q Focus Statement. I used the following statement in my classroom: When a law was passed that required schools to integrate, Melba Pattillo was one of the few volunteers to take the first step into what was once an all-white school.

I teach literature, and I work hard to encourage my students to read closely and interact with the text by making comments and asking questions about what they read. I have gotten them comfortable with commenting about surprising moments and connections they make with the text, but I have seen a weakness in their question-asking skills. I was very excited to learn about QFT and what it could do for my students. When my students reflected on what they learned from the process, there was one statement that I heard repeatedly: I learned how to ask questions. Now, I fully believe that they have always been able to ask questions. In fact, I proved that to them at the beginning of my lesson when I told them to ask questions about a statement on Face-book that they might see stating “Jim is in a relationship with Jill.” However, they simply were not aware that they were capable of asking meaningful questions about a text, or a statement because they are used to the teachers asking the questions.  The students all considered QFT to be a positive experience in their reflection and hoped to be able to do it again in the future.

I have noticed that in the past couple of days since doing QFT the students have been much more engaged and interested in the novel we are reading. Also they have been much more comfortable and confident when they ask questions as they are close reading.