Learning Activity


Birmingham was Bombed

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.
You may save this Learning Activity to your hard drive as an .html file by selecting “File”,then “Save As” from your browser’s pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.
This Learning Activity provided by:
Author: Meghan Everette
System:Mobile County
School:George Hall Elementary School
Birmingham was Bombed
Digital Tool/Resource:
Wonderopolis- Write a TV Script
Web Address – URL:
Digital Tool Description:

Wonderopolis is a tool for engaging students using wonder about the world around them. Daily "wonders" create exploratory learning. The "How Do You Write a TV Script" wonder will be used to help students as they prepare to write their own mock newscast based on the event of the Birmingham Sixteenth Street Church bombing in 1963, as read about in the novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963.

After reading the novel and exploring information about life in the 1960s, students will imagine what a news report from that day would have looked like. They will view this resource to understand the important components of a script before getting into small groups to write their own newscasts. The teacher will combine the scripts and students will create a short film either independently or with teacher assistance and present their newscast during Black History Month. 

Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (4)
3. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions). [RL.4.3]
ELA2015 (4)
10. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. [RI.4.1]
ELA2015 (4)
11. Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. [RI.4.2]
ELA2015 (4)
16. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears. [RI.4.7]
ELA2015 (4)
23. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. [W.4.2]
a. Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.4.2a]
b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic. [W.4.2b]
c. Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because). [W.4.2c]
d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. [W.4.2d]
e. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented. [W.4.2e]
ELA2015 (4)
25. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 22-24 above.) [W.4.4]
ELA2015 (4)
29. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. [W.4.8]
ELA2015 (4)
35. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. [SL.4.4]
SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
14. Analyze the modern Civil Rights Movement to determine the social, political, and economic impact on Alabama.
  • Recognizing important persons of the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; George C. Wallace; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis; Malcolm X; Thurgood Marshall; Hugo Black; and Ralph David Abernathy
  • Describing events of the modern Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, the Freedom Riders bus bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March
  • Explaining benefits of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Brown versus Board of Education Supreme Court case of 1954
  • Using vocabulary associated with the modern Civil Rights Movement, including discrimination, prejudice, segregation, integration, suffrage, and rights
  • Learning Objectives:

    The student will

    • evaluate the important components of a historical event set in historical fiction reading
    • understand the major parts of a script
    • write their own script
    • create their own filmed newscast
    Learning Activity Strategy 1
    Before, During

    • Students will read Watson's Go to Birmingham 1963 or learn about the 16th Street Church bombing through another resource.
    • Students will be told that they are going to create a mock newscast from that night in 1963. They will then view the resource video "Write a Script" to learn about the important parts of their script.
    • In small groups, students will each write their script for the newscast. The teacher will combine their efforts into a final script.
    • The final project will be recorded and edited to appear aged.
    Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy:
    Understand, Evaluate, Create
    Assessment Strategies:

    The teacher will use the written scripts and final product to determine if learner objectives were met. Contributions to the group, appropriate language and events, and ability to discuss the project can all determine evaluation.

    Advanced Preparation:

    • Students will have read The Watson's go to Birmingham, 1963 or similar Civil Rights Act history and have knowledge of the 16th Street Church Bombing
    • Decide on where to film. Filming can be done without reference to backgrounds, or can go so far as to have sets and costumes.
    • Access to and knowledge of how to use a flip camera, Microsoft Movie Maker, or similar tools is necessary if completing the film.
    Variation Tips (optional):

    Writing can be completely individual or group, as determined by the teacher. It is helpful to create a list of possible characters before writing. Student groups, depending on age, might be responsible for filming and editing completely on their own. Topics for filming could be based on any historical event and paired with any historical fiction text.

    Notes or Recommendations (optional):

    If you use this multiple years, it can be helpful for younger students to view previous work to have a better idea of the final outcome. Viewing newscasts from recent major stories can be useful to understand how throw-backs work. Additional film and photos can be pulled from various resources to add to the overall film. We use blank backgrounds and simple items already in the classroom space instead of elaborate sets.