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Ideas for Classroom Use

Notes from the Amistad Trial

Point of View Writing Assignment

Ask students to imagine that they are abolitionists living in Connecticut at the time of the Amistad trial.  Instruct them to write one of the following letters from the point of view of an abolitionist:

Students should use their knowledge about the Amistad trial, slavery, and the abolitionist movement to write their letters.

Common Core State Standards Connections

Reading for Informational Text, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 – Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Standard 3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Writing, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Standard 3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Standard 8 – Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

Standard 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Writing, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Standard 3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well structured event sequences.

Standard 8 – Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Reading for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 2 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Standard 8 – Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Point of View Writing Assignment

Ask students to imagine that they are Cinque (Singbe-pieh), the leader of the revolt on the Amistad, and that they need to defend their actions to the court.  Instruct students to write a short essay from Cinque's point of view, explaining why he was justified in fighting for his freedom.

Common Core State Standards Connections

Reading for Informational Text, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 – Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Standard 3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Writing, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Standard 3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Standard 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Writing, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Standard 3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well structured event sequences.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Reading for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 2 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Creative Writing Assignment

Working in groups, have students create newspapers that describe the story of the Amistad and the decision of Judge Judson.  What would have made the front page?  Students may include narratives, editorials, cartoons, and advertisements.

Common Core State Standards Connections

Reading for Informational Text, Grades 3-5

Standard 1Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Standard 2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

Standard 3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Writing, Grades 3-5

Standard 1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Standard 2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

Standard 3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

Standard 8 – Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

Standard 9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Reading for Information, Grades 6-12

Standard 7 – Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

Writing, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

Standard 2 – Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts and information through the selection, organization and analysis of relevant content.

Standard 3 – Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well structured event sequences.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Reading for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the evidence.

Standard 2 – Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Standard 3 – Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g. how a bill becomes a law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

Standard 7 – Integrate visual information (e.g. in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Writing for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Grades 6-12

Standard 1 – Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Standard 2 – Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical process.

Standard 9 – Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.