African-American children lead sit-ins in Oklahoma during the late 1950s
Learning Objective: Students will read a play about the lesser-known sit-ins led by African-American children to protest segregation in Oklahoma City restaurants. As they read, students will identify the big idea: how an important act leads to major changes.
The play ends with Mrs. Luper telling Ayanna that the sit-in at Katz’s would be the first of many. Help students get a better understanding of the sit-in movement with this video about the 4 college men who led the famous Woolworth’s sit-in (which, you’ll want to remind your students, came 2 years after Ayanna’s sit-ins).
Hear more from Ayanna with this video where she explains more about the sit-in experience.
Introduce your students to a completely different kind of sit-in in our play The Woman Who Lived in a Tree, about Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived in a tree for more than 2 years to prevent it from being cut down.
More About the Article
Social studies: U.S. history, civil rights, geography
Social-emotional learning: Social awareness (appreciating diversity, respect for others); responsible decision-making (solving problems); relationship skills (teamwork)
big idea, key details, inference, main idea, summarizing, drawing conclusions
1. PREPARING TO READ
Set a Purpose for Reading, Explore Text Features (10 minutes)
Introduce Vocabulary (15 minutes)
2. FOCUS ON FLUENCY
Bridging Decoding and Comprehension
3. CLOSE READING
Reading and Unpacking the Text
Close-Reading Questions (30 minutes, activity sheet online)
Critical-Thinking Question (10 minutes, activity sheet online)
4. SKILL BUILDING
Exploring the Big Idea (30 minutes, activity sheet online)
Divide your class into groups and assign each group one scene from the play. Remind them to work on fluency by paying attention to punctuation marks. Each group will perform its scene in class. Afterward, ask how playing real-life kids who took part in these sit-ins helps students better understand how Ayanna and her friends felt.
Help students identify key events from the play that took place before, during, and after the kids’ 1958 Oklahoma City sit-ins. Write students’ answers under the correct heading and read them aloud.
Ask students to imagine a meeting today between Ayanna and a white customer who left Katz lunch counter during her 1958 sit-in. How do they feel about their experiences now? Have students write a scene about this.