Title: Who's Been Persecuted, and How Does it Feel?

Objectives:
1) Students will be able to write and act out role plays that depict groups of people from United States history that have been persecuted or treated unfairly in any way.
2) Students will be able to show empathy and understanding of another person's perspective

Materials
: Posters with questions at the top (see procedures), markers, reference books (
see book list)

Procedures:
1) As a pre-assessment, do a Carousel Brainstorming activity.

A. Place 5 posters around the room and write one of the following questions on each: "Name groups of people who at any time have been persecuted or treated unfairly in any way." "How does Grandpa's situation compare to that of other persecuted groups?" "How does it feel to be treated unfairly?" "How would you react if you were being forced to do something you felt wasn't fair or right?" "List any groups of people that may be being persecuted today."
B. Separate students into 5 groups, and give each group a marker of a different color so that it is easy to tell which group is writing which information. Each group goes to one of the posters. When the teacher says "GO" students may begin writing. Give students 1-2 minutes to come up with responses to the question on the poster. Don't give them too much time, otherwise following groups may have a difficult time coming up with new answers. Remind students that an answer may only be written down once, to avoid repetition.
C. Rotate groups until they are at the poster they started with. Have them star their 5 favorite responses and select a spokesperson. Spokespersons then share the "favorites."
2) Teacher directs a discussion, using the information from the posters and giving new information, about people that have been treated unfairly in the United States. Some possible groups to discuss include: American Indians (all tribes), African Americans, The mentally or physically disabled, Mormon Pioneers, and of course, the people of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (Grandpa).

3) Students will pretend to be a person from one of the groups discussed in class. To get more information on their group of people, let students go to media center to look for information. Be sure to make prior arrangements with the media center specialist. They can also use the reference books listed in the book list. They can choose to work alone or with a partner if teacher feels no student would be hurt by this. Students will write a role play from the perspective of the person from the persecuted group.
4) Directions teacher gives students for role play: "Each of you will choose one of the persecuted groups we have talked about. You will write a 2-3 minute role play, from the perspective of a person in that group. In your play, you need to show appropriate feelings. In other words, if you feel the people in your group were sad and hurt, you need to act like that. But it wouldn't be appropriate to show them laughing and playing all the time/ If it helps you, you may choose a specific incident your group was involved in, and write about that incident. If you have any questions, ask me, or use the books I have." 5) Students write plays. Be sure to give them an appropriate amount of time to research their group, and to write their script. After all scripts are written, students share their plays with class members.

Evaluation:
1) Observation of students performing their role play.

2) Evaluation of written scripts. Teacher checks for appropriate empathy shown and feelings described.
NOTE: If a student doesn't want to perform in front of the class, allow them to just turn in a script. However, it is good for them to learn to be comfortable in front of a group.

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