Grades 9-12: The Little Rock Nine and the Children’s Movement


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College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading

CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

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

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking & Listening

CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


This Grades 9-12 lesson titled “The Little Rock Nine and the Children’s Movementfrom TEACHING TOLERANCE/ A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center is targeted for use in a Social Studies or Reading/Language Arts classroom. During lesson activities, students engage in close and critical reading of a variety of primary sources (audiotapes/transcripts/video) to examine the role of African-American children in the Civil Rights Movement. In small and large group settings, students examine the experiences of the Little Rock Nine and the impact the Little Rock crisis had on the American society. As a culminating activity, students independently write a one-page essay about the importance of children’s activism using text evidence from primary source material.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that it is unclear if there is explicit instruction for many of the standards listed for the lesson; additional support for students who are ELL, have disabilities and or read or write below grade level may be needed. The instructional time required for the lesson is unclear. While College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards are listed in the curriculum document, Common Core Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies could be substituted if used solely in a social studies classroom. The development of an aligned rubric to sufficiently interpret student performance for many of the standards listed is recommended.


The lesson is a useful example of how to facilitate rich text-based discussions and writing through specific questions about common texts. Lesson activities use technology and media to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. All materials needed for the lesson are included. Extension activities are provided.