Lesson: What Does It Mean To Have Courage?

Courage- mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

CCRL.6.9: Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

CCRL.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CC RI.6.3: Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (through examples)

EQ: What does it mean to have courage?

Today, my students will attempt to answer that question through the use of the text, Out of the Dust, and a letter written by a soldier to his sons back home.

  • Bellringer: Students will answer the prompt: What does it mean to have courage?
  • We will then discuss our answers which will lead us into the reading of Out of the Dust pages 65-85.
  • Billie Joe, the protagonist in the novel, Out of the Dust, faces the loss of her mother and baby brother due to severe burns. Billie Joe was partially responsible for the burns due to an accidental kitchen fire. She becomes severely depressed, but must find a way to be courageous. While Billie Joe, faces her problems at home, the country is also headed toward war. The depression is getting worse, and tensions are mounting across the country. Soon, the country will face another great war. Billie Joe is at a crossroads.

Following the reading…

  • Students will read about an another person who demonstrated courage, although this person was real, not fiction. Students will read a letter from a father and soldier who sent a Christmas letter home to his sons during World War II. In the letter, the father explains the reasons for war, and what it means to have courage.  
  • Students will compare and contrast both using a Venn Diagram the experiences of Billie Joe and the soldier. Students will write an essay using textual evidence to demonstrate how they both demonstrated courage and in what ways? How did their decisions affect their loved ones?

The Letter From The Soldier Comes From The Following Link:
Each student will read and annotate the letter individually.
http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-teachers/lesson-plans/pdfs/my-dear-little-boys.pdf

 

The following is a clip of FDR’s D Day Prayer. The students have become better acquainted with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the president during the times of the novel, Out of the Dust. I thought it might be good for them to hear his voice. It is a powerful message of courage as well.

                                                          http://youtu.be/_lxC9eLLz94

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One thought on “Lesson: What Does It Mean To Have Courage?

  1. I love this lesson! Yes, what a powerful message for young people today. The comparison between Billie Joe and the soldier was so striking. The video really hit the students deeply, too. When you think of Americans across our nation sitting by their radios listening being led in prayer by President Roosevelt. Would that ever happen today? I wonder….but this prayer united a country that was hurting. I am sure that many felt comforted by the President's words.

    The majority of my students had little difficulty writing an essay based off our discussion and readings. I think they do have a deeper understanding of what it means to have courage, and the sacrifice of our military. I also hope that they demonstrate courage in their own lives, and know how important it truly is.

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