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The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles

Teacher Guide by Ashley Trudeau

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School Category!
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Student Activities for The Story of Ruby Bridges Include:

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles is a true story about one of the first African-American girls to attend an all-white school in New Orleans after desegregation. Through Coles’ words and George Ford’s illustrations, readers are enticed by Ruby’s courage and willingness to face adversity.


By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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Quick Synopsis of The Story of Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges’ family moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in 1957. Her family was very poor and her mother and father worked long hours to provide for their family. The family was very religious and went to church every Sunday. In New Orleans, black children and white children went to separate schools. This was not right and against the nation’s law. In 1960, a judge ordered Ruby and a few other black girls to attend white elementary schools. Ruby had to attend William Frantz Elementary School, alone. Large crowds of angry people gathered around Frantz Elementary on Ruby’s first day. They yelled names at her, held signs, and some even wanted to hurt her. She was ushered by federal marshals through the crowds and into the school.

The routine of walking through mobs to get to school lasted for months. Yet, Ruby never got discouraged. Even though she was the only student in the room, as white families did not want to send their children to school with black students, Ruby’s determination to learn never faltered. She walked into Franz Elementary and into the empty classrooms every day, ready to learn from her teacher, Mrs. Henry. Ruby would pray everyday for the angry protesters to change their views. One day she forgot to pray before she reached the angry mobs, so she stopped right in front of them and said a prayer.

Eventually white children started joining Ruby at school and the angry mobs disappeared. Children of all races began to attend schools in New Orleans, together.


Essential Questions for The Story of Ruby Bridges

  1. How did the actions of Ruby Bridges and her family shape the history of the United States?
  2. What can you do to make the world a better place?

The Story of Ruby Bridges Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Ruby Bridges Character Map


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As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties, which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets for your students to complete while reading is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

Here is a completed example for Ruby:


Ruby Bridges

Physical Appearance:

  • young
  • wears clean clothes and a bow

Character Traits:

  • courageous
  • brave
  • smart
  • a leader
  • polite

Evidence:

"Wearing a clean dress and a bow in her hair."

"She was polite and she worked well at her desk."

The Story of Ruby Bridges - Character Map

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in The Story of Ruby Bridges and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the book characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables for Physical Appearance, Character Traits, and Evidence.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


Blank Character Map

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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The Story of Ruby Bridges Vocabulary


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A great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that uses vocabulary from The Story of Ruby Bridges.

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using sentences and corresponding images. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text. The sentences and images validate both their understanding of the word and how it was used in context of the story.

Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the story and an example of a visual vocabulary board.

Example Vocabulary Words for The Story of Ruby Bridges

  • persuade
  • marshal
  • irritate
  • equal
  • equality
  • fair
  • separate
  • include
  • exclude
  • bravery
  • courage
  • civil rights
  • law
  • segregated
  • desegregate

The Story of Ruby Bridges - Vocabulary

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in The Story of Ruby Bridges by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



Vocabulary Template Blank

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Making Text Connections with Ruby Bridges


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Text Connections
Text to Text Connection that reminds you of something in another book or story
Text to Self Connection that reminds you of something in your life.
Text to World Connection that reminds you of something happening in the world.

Making connections is a very important skill to acquire and perfect. The Story of Ruby Bridges is a great story for students to connect to on many different levels. In this activity, students will be making text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. Students should choose which connection they want to make first and work to write a narrative for that. Once all three connections have been made, students can work on their illustrations.


TEXT TO TEXT

This story reminded me of another story I had read called, Rosa, by Nikki Giovanni. It tells the story of the brave Rosa Parks and how she would not give up her seat on the bus. Both these texts have strong female characters that stand up for what they believe in.


TEXT TO WORLD

The angry mobs in the story reminded me of a news broadcast where I saw the employees of a grocery store on strike.


TEXT TO SELF

Eventually Ruby's school was desegregated and she went to school with all different races. This reminds me of my school. There are many races present.


The Story of Ruby Bridge - Connections

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows connections you have made with The Story of Ruby Bridges. Include a connection for text to text, text to world, and text to self.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Create an image for each connection using scenes, characters, items, and text boxes.
  3. Write a description of how the text relates to another text, the world, and you.


Text Connections Template

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Ruby Bridges Theme


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Many themes are present in the novel. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is bravery. Ruby was a very brave young girl to be able to walk to school through the angry mobs everyday.


Bravery

Ruby walked every day into her school, even though there were mobs of people shouting at her. Her teacher was amazed at Ruby's bravery.

"‘Sometimes I'd look at her and wonder how she did it,’ said Mrs. Henry. ‘How she went by those mobs and sat here all by herself and yet seemed so relaxed and comfortable.’"


Some other themes present in this story are courage, faith, hope, compassion, and equality.


The Story of Ruby Bridges - Theme

Example

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in Ruby Bridges. Illustrate each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Ruby Bridges you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.



Template: Theme

Example

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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The Story of Ruby Bridges Sequence of Events

An exceptional way for your students to follow a story is for them to track the events from it. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot, but it also reinforces major events, which helps students develop better understanding of how the events fit together to provide the overall structure of the story.


Example The Story of Ruby Bridges Sequence of Events

MAIN EVENT 1

In 1957, Ruby's family moved to New Orleans. Her parents both got jobs and took their children to church every week.


MAIN EVENT 2

In 1960, a judge ordered four black children to go to an all-white elementary school. Ruby was one of the girls chosen, she had to go to a school all alone.


MAIN EVENT 3

Ruby would walk daily by mobs of angry white people to get to Frantz Elementary. She was guarded by the marshals. This went on for months.


MAIN EVENT 4

Every day Ruby went to school and was all alone. The white people would not send their children to school. Ruby didn't mind; she wanted to learn.


MAIN EVENT 5

One day, Ruby forgot to say her daily prayer before she got to school. She stopped in front of the angry mob and said her prayer, then went to school. Her teacher was impressed.


MAIN EVENT 6

Afterword: Some white families sent their children to school with Ruby. Soon more black children attended Frantz Elementary along with the white ones.

The Story of Ruby Bridges Timeline

Example

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•   (English) The Story of Ruby Bridges   •   (Español) La Historia de los Puentes de Ruby   •   (Français) L'histoire de Ruby Bridges   •   (Deutsch) Die Geschichte der Ruby Bridges   •   (Italiana) La Storia di Rubino Ponti   •   (Nederlands) Het Verhaal van Ruby Bridges   •   (Português) A História de Ruby Bridges   •   (עברית) סיפורו של רובי ברידג'ס   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) قصة روبي الجسور   •   (हिन्दी) रूबी ब्रिज की कहानी   •   (ру́сский язы́к) История Рубиновых Мостов   •   (Dansk) Historien om Ruby Bridges   •   (Svenska) The Story of Ruby Bridges   •   (Suomi) The Story of Ruby Bridges   •   (Norsk) Historien om Ruby Bridges