- read and interpret a primary source document to learn about individual experiences of African Americans in the pre-Civil War era
- collaborate with peers to share their understandings and develop different perspectives on the reading
Time required for lesson
One to two days
Computer connected to a multimedia projector (optional)
- Life of a Slave Girl discussion handout
- Students complete this handout after reading an excerpt from a slave narrative.
- Open as PDF (50 KB, 1 page)
- The teacher will need to select the excerpt from Incidents in the Life of a Slave girl for the students to read during this lesson.
- Students should have learned about the importance of using primary documents to investigate historical events and eras to better understand history.
- Place students in groups of three to four students, depending on size of class. Have students sit with their groups.
- Give each student a copy of the excerpt from Harriet Jacobs’ narrative and a copy of the Life of a Slave Girl Discussion Handout.
- Allow time (depending on ability) for students to completely read the excerpt=(10–20 minutes).
- Have students first answer the questions on the handout independently.
- Next, have students discuss the reading with their small groups. Have the students add to their handouts the ideas and answers they discussed as a group.
- Have each group find another group to pair up with. Allow for collaboration between the groups (10–20 minutes).
- End the discussions and engage the whole class in a dialogue about their perspectives and what they discussed.
- Collect their completed Discussion Handouts.
Assessment can be based on student completion of Discussion Handout and contributions to discussions. You may choose to create their own quiz based on the reading.