ALEX Learning Activity

1963-Where Would I Be?

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: LaSheree Sanford-Davis
System:Birmingham City
School:Ramsay High School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2274
1963-Where Would I Be?
Digital Tool/Resource:
PBS-The Children's March
Web Address – URL:

This lesson activity focuses on Civil Rights movements in 1963 and should be used as a discussion topic for collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) in English Language Arts. The students will watch the video, PBS-The Children's March, followed by a collaborative discussion with diverse partners in which students will clearly and persuasively express their ideas about the video. This activity involves the use of cell phones, but a lesson variation is available.

This activity was created as a part of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 11
29 ) Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 11 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. [SL.11-12.1]

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas. [SL.11-12.1a]

b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed. [SL.11-12.1b]

c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives. [SL.11-12.1c]

d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task. [SL.11-12.1d]

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 11
United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
14 ) Trace events of the modern Civil Rights Movement from post-World War II to 1970 that resulted in social and economic changes, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the March on Washington, Freedom Rides, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. (Alabama) [A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.j., A.1.k.]

•  Tracing the federal government's involvement in the modern Civil Rights Movement, including the abolition of the poll tax, the nationalization of state militias, Brown versus Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
•  Explaining contributions of individuals and groups to the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; James Meredith; Medgar Evers; Thurgood Marshall; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and the civil rights foot soldiers
•  Appraising contributions of persons and events in Alabama that influenced the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Rosa Parks, Autherine Lucy, John Patterson, George C. Wallace, Vivian Malone Jones, Fred Shuttlesworth, the Children's March, and key local persons and events (Alabama)
•  Describing the development of a Black Power movement, including the change in focus of the SNCC, the rise of Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panther movement
•  Describing the economic impact of African-American entrepreneurs on the modern Civil Rights Movement, including S. B. Fuller and A. G. Gaston (Alabama)

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.11.14- Understand the purpose and goals of the civil rights movement from post-World War II to 1970; identify influential people, events, and outcomes of the civil rights movement.

Learning Objectives:

Students will initiate and participate effectively in collaborative discussions (one-to-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners to express their own ideas clearly and persuasively regarding the events of the modern Civil Rights Movement. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

The students will watch the video, PBS-The Children's March, in order to build on others' ideas so that they can express their own ideas clearly and persuasively. In order for this Learning Activity to be successful, there should not be ANY prior discussion of the contents of the PBS-The Children's March video. 

  • Preparation for the class should merely be an introduction that asks that the students be attentive and listen carefully. 
  • Show the PBS-The Children's March video to the class. (Do not stop the video for discussion while the video is playing.)
  • After the video has been completed, the students should initiate and participate effectively in collaborative discussions with diverse partners about the events in the video. 
  • Sample question: Do you think it was a good idea to involve the children in the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Next, the teacher should lead a whole group discussion about the events in the video so that the students will be able to express their own ideas clearly and persuasively.
  • Finally, the students should take out their phones and call or text their parents or any adult relative to present the following scenario and ask the prompted question:

The students will say to the parent or adult relative, "It is 1963 and the children are walking out of the schools in Birmingham to march for Civil Rights. Can I go march with the other students from my school?"

  • Allow the students to propel a discussion of the answers they received from their parents or relative.
  • End the discussion with the students writing a post discussion reflection.
Assessment Strategies:

The activity can be assessed using classroom participation or by having the students submit their post-discussion reflection. 

Advanced Preparation:

  1. View the video before showing it to the class to be aware of what type of questions may arise.    
  2. Have an interactive whiteboard or a projector to view the video. (Schools with one-to-one programs can give the link to each student and have them watch individually.)
  3. Students will need to be told to bring their cell phones to class.
  4. The students should be grouped diversely while watching the video.


Variation Tips (optional):

In situations where mobile devices are not allowed, use the activity as an end of class activity and have students go home to ask their parents the questions. The discussion and reflection can be completed during the next class meeting.

This activity can be used as a cross-curriculum activity in either U.S. History and English Language Arts. 


Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: Childrens March, Civil Right, Collaborative Discussion, Persuasive, Responding to questions