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Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

All-American Diva, Ruby Bridges

Subject Area

English Language Arts
Social Studies


1, 2


In this lesson, students will discover the impact Ruby Bridges made in history when she became the first black child to attend a white school. Your students will be sure to fall in love with the story Ruby has to tell and how this child's courage changed life in the United States. 

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 1


    Identify contributions of diverse significant figures that influenced the local community and state in the past and present. (Alabama)

    Unpacked Content



    • understand
    • identify
    • distinguish
    • leaders
    • significant figures
    • contributions
    • contributor
    • state
    • past
    • present
    • roles


    Students know:
    • The important contributions citizens make in their local community and state.
    • Vocabulary: leaders, significant figures, contributions, contributor, state, past, present, roles


    Students are able to:
    • Read and comprehend the role of a contributor.
    • Understand how contributions affect the local community and state.


    Students understand that:
    • There were important contributions by significant figures, such as Admiral Raphael Semmes and Emma Sansom, who influence the local community and Alabama from the past and in the present.
    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 2


    Identify national historical figures and celebrations that exemplify fundamental democratic values, including equality, justice, and responsibility for the common good.

    Unpacked Content



    • historic figures (male and female)
    • celebrations
    • exemplify
    • democratic values
    • recognize
    • founding fathers
    • significance
    • national holidays
    • American symbols
    • monuments


    Students know:
    • Fundamental democratic values including equality, justice, and responsibility for the common good.
    • The names and significance of national historic figures, both male and female.
    • The significance of national holidays and the relationship of each to democratic values.
    • The history and significance of American symbols and monuments.
    • Vocabulary: democratic values, equality, justice, responsibility, common good, founding father, national holiday, American symbol, monument


    Students are able to:
    • Identify national historic figures and celebrations.
    • Identify the ways historic figures and celebrations exemplify fundamental democratic values.
    • Recognize our country's founding fathers and other historic male figures.
    • Recognize historic female figures.
    • Describe national holidays, including the significance of each and the democratic values associated with each.
    • Identify American symbols and monuments and describe the history and significance of each.


    Students understand that:
    • There is an importance and impact of national historic figures and celebrations.

    Primary Learning Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • identify the contributions of Ruby Bridges and how she influenced the state of Alabama in the past.
    • identify the author's purpose.



    1.  Turn and Talk (this practice should be established as a common classroom practice for speaking and listening standards). If not, students will need to be paired off with a partner for discussion throughout the lesson.

    • Turn and Talk Questions to Activate Prior Knowledge
    1. How would you feel if only the boys could have ice cream for snack today?
    2. How would you feel if only the girls could go to PE every day?

    2.  Before moving on to tell the objective for today's lesson, be sure to discuss responses from Turn and Talk questions. Make a connection from the responses to Ruby, our character for today's learning. Today, we will read a story about a special little girl. We will talk about why the author wrote this story. This is called the author's purpose for writing the words in a story. An author writes a story for three reasons, and we can think of a P.I.E. to remind us. The author writes to Persuade a reader of a topic, to Inform the reader of a topic, or to Entertain a reader.

    • Student Engagement (this should be completed after turning and talking to a partner)

    3.  During your partner talk, you stated that you would feel upset, angry, sad, or that it wasn't fair. Let's introduce a few words that will be important to know and remember as we read "Ruby Bridges."

    1. Segregation- when black and white children cannot go places together (have a text connection conversation using this vocabulary word...What other stories can you remember where children or people were not allowed to do things together?)

    2. Marshal- a policeman (ask students why would a marshal be a character in our story; show the cover of the trade book and ask the students to identify the marshal)

    3. Brave- not scared of anything (ask students to think of a time they had to be brave)


    Listen while students turn and talk 

    Listen during student engagement responses


    4.  Describing Character Chart (this chart can simply be a big sheet of butcher paper or a sheet of chart paper)

    • Student Engagement
    1. The teacher should read the selected trade book on Ruby Bridges aloud, pausing at appropriate times to discuss the author's purpose and characterization. During this read-aloud time, the facilitator should do an impromptu discussion of the literacy objective of this lesson- The author's purpose. The students should understand the author wrote this story to inform readers.
    2. Think Pair Share strategy will be used to complete the character chart of Ruby. This practice will be used as the teacher desires during each chunk of the text.
    3. Record words to describe Ruby or any part of the story that the class considers important on the class chart as the story is read aloud in chunks. This chart should be student-generated, but the teacher may need to model to get students to respond. (examples: All-American Hero; kind; brave)


    Observe student discussions

    Ensure accuracy during discussion and provide immediate feedback when necessary


    5.  Graphic Organizer

    • Student Engagement

    6.  Students will draw a picture of Ruby Bridges and write one reason the author wanted to inform us about her. Students' answers should come from adjectives used to complete the character chart posted in front of the room.


    Collect the graphic organizers

    Assess the author's purpose for writing the book


    Assessment Strategies

    Before- The teacher will

    • Listen to student sentences and provide immediate feedback as needed

    During- The teacher will

    • Observe student discussions
    • Ensure accuracy during student response

    After- The teacher will

    • Use completed graphic organizer to assess the author's purpose for writing the read-aloud


    Students can research other key figures that have influenced Alabama.


    Students needing additional support:

    Before: Take a picture walk of the book to use illustrations for oral comprehension development

    After: Small group instruction using the story to clarify confusing parts.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Background and Preparation


    Teacher should

    • be familiar with a student-friendly definition of segregation, Marshal, and Brave
    • Have a sense of knowledge of the civil rights movement
    • Author's Purpose should have already been introduced as a literacy skill
    • Can visit the following Scholastic website
    • Ruby Bridges Goes to School Video

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources