Somewhere Over the Rainbow
After clicking ‘START’, students are introduced to Ella, a character that curates primary sources and guides the historical inquiry. Specifically, Ella instigates critical analysis of the primary sources (photographs) through the asking of questions, many of which promote a visible thinking framework of see, think, wonder. Ella begins by introducing Harvey Milk and stating the two inquiry questions.
The first activity for students involves observing four visual representations of past jobs that Harvey Milk had, before moving to California. Students are prompted to investigate the photos before matching the job title with the corresponding photograph. Along with fostering a sense of observation, this begins to build background knowledge and contextualization, a critical step in the analysis of primary sources.
As an extension activity to pair with the episode, teachers are encouraged to have students create a graphic organizer of these jobs. This organizer should have three columns, job title, benefits, and challenges. To formatively assess student engagement and understanding, teachers should instruct students to complete this task before proceeding with the episode.
From New York to San Francisco
Background knowledge and contextualization continue to be built with the next activity. Ella reveals a photograph of Harvey Milk outside his camera store, Castro Camera, and informs students that after leaving New York City, Harvey Milk traveled to San Francisco, California. Without sharing that he opened a camera store, she tells students that he started a business on “Castro Street, a known epicenter for the gay community,” before directing the investigation of the image.
At this time, teachers may want to halt the student progress of the episode and discuss the meaning of epicenter. Five clues are gradually revealed that will inform a decision that students must make about the nature of Harvey's business. Before making this decision (on the next slide), students will have the opportunity to zoom in on another collection of photographs. While historical photos can be complicated, this feature of the application streamlines student focus, promoting a deeper historical and critical analysis. Once the correct choice has been made—Ella will offer witty feedback for incorrect decisions—Ella says, "Opening this camera shop gave Harvey a chance to meet new people," and had a "major impact on his life." She then asks students to think about the effects of running a camera shop would have on Harvey Milk's life. While she does not explicitly refer to the location of the store, Ella informs students that operating Castro Camera presented Harvey with "a chance to interact with the community” before presenting another primary source that provokes student thinking about the community’s concerns.
Advocating for Gay Rights
In this photograph, students will find a group of men advocating for gay rights.
This information is revealed incrementally as students investigate the photograph while considering more questions from Ella. After discovering four clues in the image, a fifth is revealed and along with the knowledge that “Harvey Milk wanted to help the gay community.” The following three slides (images) are used to introduce students to the multiple campaigns Harvey ran to reach his goal of helping the gay community. In the last of the three, Ella curates a photograph of Harvey Milk celebrating his victory.
Words of Hope
Instead of telling the students the outcome, Ella asks the students to consider the mood of the image and Harvey Milk’s body language to help them determine what happened.
Next, Ella directs the students to choose between “win” or “lose”, which triggers the
playing of section of a speech made by Harvey Milk after his election. At this time, it is recommended for teachers to distribute a transcript of the speech and read it aloud. Students will then underline words from the speech that resonate with them.
The teacher may then construct a “found poem” with the class, by asking for volunteers to share one of their words and write on the board. This poem should be read aloud by the entire class, once completed.
A Tragic Headline
Following this information and photograph of Harvey Milk in a parade, students find a newspaper with several words redacted. The paper is from November 27th, 1978, the day that Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated. Ella asks students to wonder about what the headline is "trying to tell us," before directing the zooming in of a lower portion of the paper. Teachers may use this as a stopping point to elicit student responses.
Ella continues fostering a sense of wonder with students by asking them to wonder/consider why the man in the zoomed in section of the article may have had to turn himself in to police. This activity leads to a photograph of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone's funeral. Ella asks students to consider the mood of the image before directing them to explore the picture for clues as to what happened to both men.
The episode transitions from a full reveal of the newspaper, confirming/revealing events that tragically unfolded that day in November, to a new collection of photographs about how important people are memorialized in society.
Modes of Memorialization
In this final activity, students will draw upon new learnings about the life story of Harvey Milk to investigate examples of memorialization. Ella curates a new selection of photographs and instructs students to drag and drop the correct caption to the picture. After each right choice is made, Ella provides students with information pertaining specifically to Harvey Milk and the example of memorialization offered. After this activity is completed, to summatively assess student progress, teachers are encouraged to divide their class into small groups. Each group should be assigned a method of memorialization and be directed to formulate a claim and counterclaim about the overall effectiveness of each assigned way.
During this time, students may also brainstorm other methods not presented in the episode and discuss their prior experiences with such examples of memorialization. Once the memorialization tasks are complete, each group will be responsible for writing an obituary about Harvey Milk. Teachers should provide students with several examples (taken from current newspapers or the internet) and remind them to consider what they have learned about Harvey's life story from the KidCitizen episode.
The activity will conclude with a short presentation by each group, in which they share both their claims/counterclaims and read their obituaries.