Part of our sixth grade curriculum involves a study of the Underground Railroad. We read Virginia Hamilton's excellent mystery The House of Dies Drear in English class and in Social Studies they study the Underground Railroad and a brief history of slavery in the US. Our unit culminates with an overnight trip to the Joy Outdoor Education program in Clarksville, Ohio where we participate in their living history Underground Railroad simulation.
As a preface to beginning this unit, I have always done a brief research activity with the kids about some notable names related to the Underground Railroad and slavery debate. Each student is randomly given a person's name and they must find out biographical information and his or her view on slavery. This year, I redesigned the project to have my students create a glog about the person they were assigned. They were to imagine it was the year 1851 and a runaway slave appeared at the door. What would they do? In their glogs, they needed to include:
- Name of the person as a title
- A picture of the person
- A text box with a paragraph about who the person was and how they would react to a slave at the door (written in first person)
- The map of escape routes for the Underground Railroad and text indicating where the person lived.
- At least ONE other piece of media related to the person, slavery, or the Underground Railroad
- A citation text box listing all sources and images used on the glog.
The students did a great job with their Underground Railroad glogs! To help with their research, I created a Google Custom Search that included curated web resources from our school's subscription databases. I still found that because of the different project requirements, some of the personalities I assigned didn't have enough information available (like photographs) for this assignment and I'll need to change my list.
Feel free to explore some of the student glogs below! (To see glogs at full-size, click the Glogster EDU icon)
My Sample Glog on Frederick Douglass
National Geographic Underground Railroad website (great source for maps of routes)