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6-8 Core Literature Themes and Connections

House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
This story is about a contemporary black family that buys the house in Ohio which, a century earlier, Dies Drear and two slaves he had been hiding were murdered. The house was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

6th grade Core Literature

Key Concepts and Vocabulary Words
slavery, family, determination, architecture, tunnels

Themes
Underground Railroad, Slavery, Architecture

 

English/Language Arts

Theme Questions


Websites


Extensions/ Activities

What are some of the literary features Virginia Hamilton uses to emphasize or describe situations in the book?

Literature Unit on the House of Dies Drear
http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/activity/diesdrear/
This site by Michele Osinski that contains vocabulary activities, working with similes, and directed writing lessons.


NovelGuide on House of Dies Drear
http://www.ops.org/social-studies/novelguides/house.html
This site from Omaha Public Schools provides a synopsis of the book.

Review Literature unit and use different activities with students.


Have students write four journal entries as if they were slaves escaping to the North.


Additional literature and links:
Harriet Tubman
Freedom Train

Language Arts Content Standards
2,0 Writing Applications
2.4 Write responses to literature:
a. Develop an interpretation exhibiting careful reading, understanding, and insight.
b. Organize the interpretation around several clear ideas, premises, or images.
c. Develop and justify the interpretation through sustained use of examples and textual evidence.

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History/Social Science

Theme Questions


Websites


Extensions/ Activities

How does the Underground Railroad relate to other historical instances of people joining together to flea oppression?

The Underground Railroad
http://www.teacherhelp.com/your_classroom/lesson_plans/ lessonpln5.html
This site is published by the Wright Group and provides lesson plans, student activities and links to books and websites based on the Underground Railroad.

Research in groups of three to four the Underground Railroad and how effective it proved to be. What were some of the problems related to this brave endeavor?

6th Grade English/Language Arts
2.3 Write research reports:
a. Pose relevant questions with a scope narrow enough to be thoroughly covered.
b. Support the main idea or ideas with facts, details, examples, and explanations from multiple authoritative sources (e.g., speakers, periodicals, online information searches).
c. Include a bibliography.

8th Grade History/Social Science
8.6-4. Study the lives of black Americans who gained freedom in the North and founded schools and churches to advance their rights and communities.

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Art

Theme Questions


Websites


Extensions/ Activities

How can tunnels and passageways be hidden in the design of a house?

Historic House Architecture
http://www.ragtime.org/arch/
Guide to historic houses that a student can use as examples when they design their own house.

Design an architectural plan of the Dies Drear House complete with secret passageways and tunnels. Label the entire plan and be sure to identify the points of highest action from the novel.

6th Grade Visual and Performing Arts
3.0 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of the Visual Arts
Students analyze the role and development of the visual arts in past and present cultures throughout the world, noting human diversity as it relates to the visual arts and artists.
Role and Development of the Visual Arts
3.1 Research and discuss the role of the visual arts in selected periods of history, using a variety of resources (both print and electronic).

 

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