Responding to Inequality: Ratifying the 19th Amendment | EL Education Curriculum

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Responding to Inequality: Ratifying the 19th Amendment

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This module uses literature and informational texts to introduce students to gender and racial inequality issues in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, and to recognize how the process of ratifying the 19th Amendment can teach us about how people were responding to gender and racial inequality at that time. In Unit 1, students begin reading The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach. As they read about events in The Hope Chest, they also read informational firsthand and secondhand accounts of real-life responses to inequality and compare and contrast the information in both. In Unit 2, students continue to read The Hope Chest, identifying themes in each chapter and summarizing events that show evidence of a theme. They also analyze the meaning of similes, metaphors, idioms, adages, and proverbs. In Unit 3, students connect their learning about the process of ratifying the 19th Amendment to their own lives as they focus on how students can make a difference and contribute to a better world. They research how students around the world have made a difference, before taking action as a class on an issue in their community. At the end of the unit, students write PSAs encouraging other students to make a difference, and they write a press release sharing with the local media what the class did to take action and the impact of their work. This performance task centers on CCSS ELA W.4.2 and W.4.4.

Guiding Questions and Big Ideas

  • What can we learn from the process of ratifying the 19th Amendment?
    • In 1920, the U.S. Constitution was amended to give women the right to vote; however, this did not allow African American women to vote.
    • When people take action against inequality, they can cause social change.
  • How can stories inspire us to take action to contribute to a better world?
    • Stories can build our awareness, empathy, and understanding of injustice and other problems in the world.
  • How and why can we encourage and support others to contribute to a better world?
    • We can encourage others to create a better world by raising awareness, offering ideas, and providing opportunities for them to help.

The Four Ts

  • Topic: Responding to Inequality: Ratifying the 19th Amendment
  • Task: Taking Action Project Press Release
  • Targets (standards explicitly taught and assessed): W.4.2 and W.4.4
  • Text: The Hope Chest

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block. But the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies content that may align to additional teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.

College, Career, and Civic Life C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards:

  • D2.Civ.2.3-5
  • D2.Civ.12.3-5
  • D2.Civ.14.3-5
  • D2.His.5.3-5
  • D2.His.10.3-5

Habits of Character / Social Emotional Learning Focus

In this module, students work to become ethical people by treating others well and standing up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion).


Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

Performance Task

Taking Action Project Press Release

In this performance task, students work as a class to share the results of their action plan by writing a press release. In the press release, students report on their plan, explaining what they did, when and where it occurred, the results, and the impact. This task addresses CCSS ELA W.4.2 and W.4.4.

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Hope Chest
by Karen Schwabach
One per student
ISBN: 9780375840968


Each module is approximately 6-8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

ALL Block

The Additional Language and Literacy (ALL) Block is 1 hour of instruction per day. It is designed to work in concert with and in addition to the 1-hour Grades 3-5 ELA "module lessons." Taken together, these 2 hours of instruction comprehensively address all the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.

The ALL Block has five components: Additional Work with Complex Text; Reading and Speaking Fluency/GUM (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics); Writing Practice; Word Study and Vocabulary; and Independent Reading.

The ALL Block has three 2-week units which parallel to the three units of the module.

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