Doughnuts & Coffee: A Recipe for Hope, Perseverance and Equality
Many people would be surprised by the amount of information that a five year old can contain about history. When it comes to teaching African American history, teachers, parents and mentors alike should not be shy about moving beyond lessons on Dr. Martin Luther King, though having a deep understanding of the man and his work is vital.
Here’s an easy yet moving Civil Rights lesson that you can teach to a group of children in about 30 minutes, give or take. As today is the last day of Black History Month, remember, though, that the lesson does not have to be confined to the month of February.
History: Civil Rights, activism
Social skills: Patience, perseverance, fair treatment, support, community, speaking out against injustice, bullying and unfairness
Literacy/literature: listening to reading, reading signs, answering comprehension questions, spelling & writing
Math: Ordering/categorizing (recipe), geometrical shapes (doughnut crafts, tables, real doughnuts)
Art & Fine motor skills: Viewing and analyzing illustrations, cutting, writing, color, glue and glitter design
-The children’s book Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, by Caldecott Honor recipients and husband-and-wife team, Andrea and Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Book synopsis: “Courageously defying the WHITES ONLY edict of the era, four young black men took a stand against the injustice of segregation in America by sitting down at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s department store. Countless others of all races soon joined the cause following Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful words of peaceful protest. By sitting down together, they stood up for civil rights and created the perfect recipe for integration not only at the Woolworth’s counter, but on buses and in communities throughout the South.”
-Chocolate Milk (make-believe coffee)
-Medium-sized paper bowl
“We are all leaders”
Segregation (in circle with line drawn through it)
Integration (with smiley face or linked hands, etc.)
“Coffee & Doughnuts: 10 cents”
February 1, 1960
Greensboro, North Carolina
-A globe (optional)
-Child-sized tables and chairs
1. Read book several times for yourself, making note of specific points you want to make.
2. Use the paper bowl to make perfectly shaped circles on your construction paper, enough for each child. Or, if you have time, you can have the children do this, but make sure to make a model of the craft yourself first. It should be shaped like a circle with the two- to three-word steps of a recipe on it (i.e. 1. Cut out hate 2. Roll with fairness 3. Sprinkle with patience 4. Bake with love). These will serve as the “paper doughnuts.” If you’d like, you can use the rim of a small cup to make holes in the center of the “doughnut.”
3. Set the tables up like “counters” at an old-fashioned diner. Rectangle tables work best. In front of each child’s chair, place a doughnut and cup of chocolate milk. On side of the food, place the doughnut crafts.
When the children arrive, ask them what they see. Ask them what they smell. Tell them that they have just entered through the doors of Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina and that the date is February 1, 1960. Tell them that they may NOT eat the doughnuts or drink the “coffee.”
Read the title and subtitle. Ask them what they think it means to “stand up by sitting down.” Instruct them to try to do this. Instruct them to look at the cover pictures and predict what the story is about.
Read the story aloud with dramatic effect, stopping to ask questions and explain. Use your signs for segregation and integration, etc. as you come across those words. Use the globe to pinpoint places in the South. Ask the students what they notice about their world in relation to the story: Are we segregated or integrated? What is today’s date? Where do you live? How do you feel when you are ignored? How do you feel when you are hungry? Were the students being bullied? By whom? What are we to do if we see someone being bullied, or if we are bullied?
When you get to the passage “They had taken a bite out of segregation. Now it was time to savor equality. Now they were ready for a big sip of freedom,” tell the students: “Now, you may take ONE bite of your doughnut and ONE sip of your “coffee.”
Read rest of story.
Show students your doughnut craft. Instruct them to write their own recipes (1-4 steps) on their paper doughnuts. Use glitter glue or glue and loose glitter to make “sprinkles.”
When the crafts are done, the students may eat their doughnuts and drink their chocolate milk.