I think one of my most favorite historical figures to learn about in second grade is Jackie Robinson.  I always found him to be such a fascinating man. Also, because he was a baseball player, he was pretty high interest for my students- especially some of my boys!

To set the stage for segregation, since for many of my students it was (thankfully) very hard to relate to, we watched a video clip of the Sneeches by Dr. Seuss. It is a great, child friendly example of segregation and discrimination (“They had no stars upon ‘thars!”).  

We watched it and then related it to the definitions for segregation and discrimination.  It was really the perfect, simple example!
You can watch the video on School Tube for free!  Click here for a direct link!
After watching this and establishing the definition of segregation, I read aloud the book Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles.
Now, before reading this book aloud to your class make sure to read it yourself first.  It is meant for slightly older children. While the content isn’t really inappropriate, it is a heavy topic.  I felt comfortable and read it to my students because I knew them well. 
It is a beautiful story about a friendship between two boys in a rural area during the Civil Rights movement.  One of the characters is white and the other is African American.  In the middle of the book, “a new law” will allow his best friend to come with him to the public pool.  Both boys are thrilled, until they realize that sometimes it takes more than a law for change…and they try to make a little change themselves.
It is a great, but deep story. I used it to set the stage for the feelings surrounding segregation during the Civil Rights movement. It is a complex story, but then again, this was a complex era.
A beautiful story to introduce Jackie Robinson is the book Teammates by  Peter Golenbock.
I love this book to teach Jackie Robinson.  It is a great way to show examples of sportsmanship (good and bad), patience, and dependability.  It DOES mention the KKK and death threats.  I am not comfortable discussion this with my second graders so I just skim over this part. This book has elements of a biography as well as narrative. It has both photographs and drawings.
I wanted a biography about Jackie Robinson with lots of text features.  I did find this one.
It is a GREAT book and has TONS of text features…but it is also really long. I felt it was too much as a read aloud for my class.  Instead, I decided to create my own.  If you can’t find it, you make it- right??!!
I created a 12 page interactive EBook. It is perfect for projecting on your Smart Board or Promethean Board.  I tried to include several text features so that this could also be used for student nonfiction features in a text. Some of the features are clickable so that it will link to another slide or a definition will pop up (for the bolded text). The following features are included:
•Table of contents (clickable)
•Bolded text (clickable)
•Glossary (clickable)
•Index (clickable)
Do you have any favorite books about Jackie Robinson?
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Published by Mandy Gregory

Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.

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