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This is the Rope: a Story from the Great Migration

By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by James Ransome
A rope, passed down from generation to generation, helps tell the story of ones family
Great Migration journey from South Carolina to Brooklyn.
Intended Audience:
K-5
Synopsis:
This story follows one family as it moves from the South looking for better
opportunities in the North. The book starts with a little girl jumping rope in North
Carolina. As time evolves and the little grows up in Brooklyn, the rope becomes a
clothesline and then a rope-tie. When the little girl gets married and has her own
little girl, the rope becomes a skipping rope again for her daughter. Beautiful oil
paintings complement the lyrical, repetitive, rhythmical text.
Author/Illustrator Websites:
www.jacquelinewoodson.com/
www.jamesransome.com
Curricular Connections:
African American History (1900-1970)
Great Migration
Family and Intergenerational Relationships
Human Migrations
Primary Sources
Lesson Ideas:
Primary Source Lesson Using Photographs to Examine History
o Before reading the book, students use the attached materials (photographs
and photo analysis worksheet) and examine primary source pictures to
make inferences and predictions.
o For younger grades, you may modify this lesson and complete this activity
as an oral lesson. Hand each team of students a photograph and have each
team discuss and answer the following questions and select a member of
the team to report back to the class.
1. What do you see in the picture? (3 minutes)
2. What do you think is going on? (3 minutes)
3. What questions do you have? (3 minutes)
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_migration.html
o This page provides a short informational article about the Great Migration.
A great piece of nonfiction writing to provide the background needed for
the story.

Read the story aloud and provide some background information for the students.
After the story, give each student a copy of Photograph D (see attached
materials). This photograph shows a family that has just loaded their most prized
possessions as they get ready to travel north. Have students make a list of what
they would bring from their home if they could only pack a small suitcase and
head north (see attached worksheet).

Primary Source Lessons with Materials from the Library of Congress


o http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam008.html
o The Library of Congress has an impressive collection of digital prints,
letters, maps, atlas pages, census graphs and photographs about the Great
Migration. Specific links on this page will direct you to three regions in
particular: Western Migration, Nicodemus (Kansas), and Chicago.
o Two letters written by Southerners looking for a chance to work in the
Northern states are of particular interest and fairly easy to decipher when
printed (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam011.html). Down load
the Document Analysis Worksheet prepared by the National Archives so
students can study the letters authentically.
http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/worksheets/document.html
Have students go home and ask family members if there is anything in their home
that has been passed down from generation to generation. Have students share this
information with their peers. This can be a pre or post reading assignment.

Common Core Standards:


Anchor Standard Key Ideas and Details
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact
over the course of a text.
Anchor Standard Craft and Structure
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.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.
o CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Suggested Companion Titles and Online Resources
The Great Migration: an American Story by Jacob Lawrence
The Great Migration: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield
The Great Migration by Deborah Lock
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam008.html
o The Library of Congress has an impressive collection of digital prints,
letters, maps, atlas pages, census graphs and photographs about the Great
Migration. Specific links on this page will direct you to three regions in

particular: Western Migration, Nicodemus (Kansas), and Chicago. Two


letters written by Southerners looking for a chance to work in the Northern
states are of particular interest and fairly easy to decipher when printed.
Down load the Document Analysis Worksheet prepared by the National
Archives.
http://www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name/themes/great-migration
o A series of short videos produced by PBS to enhance the understanding of
the Great Migration