Civil Rights is a six-week unit containing 18 core lessons devoted to the study of American history through the evolution of civil rights. Students are introduced to key periods of four social movements that have had great impact on the nation's history: the Women's Suffrage Movement (1848-1923), the Asian American Civil Rights Movement (1860-1988), the Children's Rights Movement (1870-1938) and the African American Civil Rights Movement (1945-1965).

Over the course of study, students choose one movement to research, investigating the associated injustices, strategies and achievements. After demonstrating their understanding of the past in the form of a case study, students apply what they have learned to current-day civil rights issues, raising public awareness and promoting action.

The Civil Rights unit meets the Common Core head-on. With its strong focus on research using multiple texts and primary sources, and its frequent opportunities for students to communicate through writing and speaking, the unit addresses standards in Literacy in History/Social Studies, Reading Informational Texts, Writing and Speaking and Listening. Civil Rights gives particular emphasis to the Reading Informational Texts Standard 1, Writing Standard 1, and Speaking/ Listening Standard 1 which are part of the New York City DOE Instructional Expectations for the 2012-2013 school year. Click for a full list of the Grade 8 CCSS standards addressed in this unit.

At the end of the unit, students independently complete rigorous performance tasks that measure how well the students have met the requirements of the the Common Core. These tasks immerse students in authentic situations and allow them to apply the skills they have learned in real-world contexts. Students thus demonstrate that they have not only learned the content of the unit, but are also more prepared to take their place as informed and active citizens of their democracy.

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