DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Joseph Gels

Individual Lesson Plan

Subject: US History

Grade Level: 11-12

Class Time: 3 days (45 minute periods)


Often when students think of civil rights they think of figures like Martin Luther King or Malcolm X. There are many groups who have had to fight for their rights as human beings. Students will hopefully be able to see the parallels between those civil rights movements of the past which they sympathize and those that are advocating for gay rights today.

I am seeking to portray gay people in the battle for their civil rights as being real human beings with their own cares in the world.

Big Idea/Pivotal Question:

- What have people historically discriminated against people for?

- Is the battle for gay rights on the same level as the battle for Black/Chicano/Women's rights?

- Are LGBT people human too?


-Explain what civil rights are.

-Differentiate between civil and natural rights.

-Compare Black civil rights movement with gay rights movement.

-Compare Women's rights movement with gay rights movement.

-Draw conclusions based on opinion and evidence

Massachusetss History and Social sciences Standards Met:

Unifying Concepts and Processes Standard

-USII.9 Analyze the post-Civil War struggles of African Americans and women to gain basic civil rights

-USII.17 Explain important domestic events that took place during WWII. Specifically more women entering the workforce and A. Philip Randolph and

attempts to end workplace discrimination.

-USII.25 Analyze the origins, goals, and key events of the Civil Rights movement.

-USII.27 Analyze the causes and course of the women’s rights movement in the 1960s and 1970's

Materials (Per student):

-Note book to take notes

-Selection from Laramie Project

-Prop 8 the musical (on digication)

-Inspiration or similar software

Prior Knowledge:

Students will have some prior knowledge of civil rights in America.


Day 1:

As students enter class there will be a Do-Now assignment asking them to write down a definition of civil rights in their notebooks. (5 minutes)

Inform students they will be discussing civil rights. Ask them to define civil rights. Then ask them what they associate with civil rights. Create a graphic organizer in Inspiration while they suggest things associated with civil rights. (10 minutes)

Present the definition of civil rights from the Lexicon of Historical and Political Terms by Robert R. Davis Jr. Discuss how this definition may be different from the definition they came up with. Discuss the difference between civil rights and natural rights (since they will have probably listed a number of characteristics of natural rights in their civil rights definition) emphasizing aspect like the role of the state. (15 minutes)

Look at who they included in their “things associated with civil rights” graphic organizer. If they did not list a group ask them why. Start with racial groups that they may have forgotten like Chicanos, Asians, or Middle Easterners. Then go to women. Then ask about (if they didn't include it) gay rights. Why didn't they associate gay rights with civil rights? Point out how the frameworks for US history in Massachusetts also don't include them. (15 minutes)

Day 2

Materials: selection from the Laramie Project. A copy of the 13, 14, and 15th amendments along with the ERA.

A look at black civil rights legislation. 13Th, 14th and 15th amendments. The civil rights act. (10 minutes)

Look at legislation for women's rights. Look at the ERA and discuss why it didn't pass. (10 minutes)

Then look at gay civil rights legislation. Hate crime laws. Discuss the case of Matthew Shepard. Have students read a selection from the Laramie Project and reflect on it in their notebook. Is this kind of action ever justified, whether the person is gay or not? (10 15 minutes)

Discuss their reflections. (10 minutes)

Day 3:

Reinforce that people are allowed to have their opinions but that they must be presented in a constructive and respectful way, appropriate to learning. (3 minutes)

Introduce the battle over gay marriage. Proposition 8 and similar amendments in other states. Discuss how at one point George Bush proposed an amendment to the US Constitution banning gay marriage. While for other civil rights, people gradually were gaining constitutional rights, it appears that the LGBT community is losing them. (20 minutes)

Show Prop 8- the musical (on digication) make clear beforehand that this is both a piece with a political message but also a piece of comedy. (5 minutes)

Field questions people had about it. (3 minutes)

General discussion of the video. (7 minutes)

Explain the nature of a persuasive essay and describe particular requirements of their assignment. (7 minutes)


Have the students write a persuasive essay in favor of/or against LGBT rights and legislation for them, particularly marriage. Tell the students they must use examples from other civil rights movements to prove their point. They will be graded on the structure of their essay, their persuasive argumentation, choice of examples from civil rights movements, and basic English grammar usage.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.