Uniform Blues
Teacher Notes

1. Grade Level:
This lesson has been designed for fourth grade Social Studies curriculum, with language arts integration
2. History/Social Science Standard 4.5 met:
Students understand structure, functions and powers of US local, state and federal governments as described in US Constitution, in terms of:

    1. What the US Constitution is and why it is important

    2. The purpose of the state constitution, its key principles, and its relationship to the US Constitution

    3. The similarities and differences among federal, state, and local governments

    4. The structure and function of state governments, including the roles and responsibilities of their elected officials

    5. The components of California's governance structure

3. Language Arts Standards met:
A. Each student will be expected to turn in one of the following:

    A short research paper on uniforms and their effect on grades, behavior, and how this affects your rights. (LA writing standards: 1.1 Select a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements, 1.5 Quote or paraphrase information sources, citing them appropriately, 2.3 Write information reports)

    An opinion paper addressed to the school board or newspaper with details on your position and why you feel the way you do. (LA writing standards: 1.1 Select a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements, 1.2 Create multiple-paragraph compositions, 1.3 Use traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., chronological order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a question)

    An effective and well made poster that could be presented to the school board stating your position and reasons. (LA listening and speaking standards: 1.5 Present effective introductions and conclusions that guide and inform the listener's understanding of important ideas and evidence, 1.6 Use traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a question), 1.7 Emphasize points in ways that help the listener or viewer to follow important ideas and concepts, 1.8 Use details, examples, anecdotes, or experiences to explain or clarify information, 1.9 Use volume, pitch, phrasing, pace, modulation, and gestures appropriately to enhance meaning.

    B. Each student will be expected the answer the questions at the end of the lesson.

    Language Arts writing standards: 1.0 Students write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions,. 1.1 Select a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements

    C. Each group will make a 5 minute presentation to the board using an overhead projector or a computer program such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio.

    Language Arts writing standards: 1.0 Students write clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions, 1.5 Quote or paraphrase information sources, citing them appropriately, 1.9 Demonstrate basic keyboarding skills and familiarity with computer terminology (e.g., cursor, software, memory, disk drive, hard drive), 1.5 Present effective introductions and conclusions that guide and inform the listener's understanding of important ideas and evidence, 1.8 Use details, examples, anecdotes, or experiences to explain or clarify information, 1.9 Use volume, pitch, phrasing, pace, modulation, and gestures appropriately to enhance meaning, 2.2 Make informational presentation

4. Suggested Assessment:
Embedded assessments are available throughout the project. These can in the form of :
  • Daily/weekly reports done during the research section describing their activities or difficulties they may be experiencing
  • Investigation of the validity of web sites
  • Answering questions about what the problem is that they are working on/why it is an issue
  • Giving a preliminary opinion before the project is done
  • Describing which argument they actually agreed with and why
5. Adapting to Special Needs
LEP Options:
  • Assign one LEP student to a group with a bilingual student
  • Have one group of predominately LEP students do research/conduct interviews focusing on the attitudes toward uniforms within their families and community
  • Have one group of predominately LEP students make a presentation in their language of choice to parents in the community or students within the school

Other Options:

  • Students who have difficulty with writing and/or reading can make the poster, do research with a partner, and conduct the presentation or design the project
  • Gifted students can extend the lesson with the research paper or the added extensions at the end of the lesson
  • Children who have difficulty getting along with others have ample opportunities to work alone on parts of the project (individual product requirement, researching on a computer station, designing/creating own card in HyperStudio, etc.)
6. Software:
You may order a copy of HyperStudio or PowerPoint from the California Instructional Technology Cl earinghouse (CITC)
7. Management
The teacher will want to keep track of the progress that individual students are making. Here are some ideas:
  • Have a raffle to determine which group of kids role plays the school board, parent group, etc.
  • Place a calendar on each student’s desk and have them write down what they have accomplished for each day of work
  • Use the embedded assessments to document individual work
  • Have a bulletin board that shows each group and a checklist with completed tasks
  • Either have a lab, sufficient classroom computers, or schedule computer times during the day/week that allow students to have enough time work successfully (remember that during journal writing, silent reading, etc., you can squeeze some time in if necessary)
  • Please Note: Students in the groups California Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court will be role playing lawyers for purposes of this debate
  • WARNING: It is advisable to use WebWhacker to download the ACLU links to your hard drive so that students do not wander through this very controversial site
8. Forms
Web Evaluation Form
This can be used in conjunction with the web site to determine if it is a viable resource or not
Group Argument Worksheet
This can be used to build their argument and to anticipate what others may say to challenge them
Student Expectations Worksheet
This form is an agreement with the student that makes him/her aware of the individual and group assignments in this project
MLA Reference
This will provide your students with MLA information if they are writing a research report