Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ethics and the Underground Railroad

We have been learning about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. I wanted to bring in a question using our Ethics concept from Depth and Complexity. I asked my students, knowing the risks (which for the purposes of 1st graders-they know as going to jail) if you get caught--would you have helped hide someone on the Underground Railroad? 

I love asking my kiddos questions like this because sometimes they really surprise me with their answers. Students say "no" where I would expect them to say "yes". But as always, I asked them to justify their answers with why.

                                    I'd rather not...because I am going to get caught.

Yes, because if I went alone I would feel sad fro the other people that have to stay and work.

I would help bceause I want to be treated right and I want to be nice to others.

Yes because if I get caught and go to jail. but I am doing the right thing.

Yes, if he or her was getting chased by someone or something
 I would help them and take them to the Underground Railroad.

I would not...if I got caught I would be a slave and the slave would still be a slave.

Yes-it is not fair that I am not a slave and they are.

Yes because maybe they don't have no friends and need help.

Yes because they are going to be safe because we have stations and they have signals
that we are safe.

Yes-I won't like people bossing me around and people might be mean to me.

Yes-I rather keep them safe than tell the truth.

Yes because if slaves were not free then they would do nothing fun and
I would do the stuff Frederick [Douglas] did.


  1. Goodness these are good! Do you know Henry Cole's book called Unspoken? Underground Railroad theme ... no words, only pictures ... a little mysterious and kind of spooky ...

    LOVE your kids writing samples!


  2. Thank you so much Barbara! I have not heard of that book, but have added it to my wish list! My kids this year love wordless books! :) I appreciate the suggestion.

  3. Have you seen the wordless picture book "Unspoken" by Henry Cole? The drawings are amazing. Check it out!
    P.S. Love you blog! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful things you do with children.

  4. Haha! I didn't read the comment above! I just read your post and thought of that book!

  5. Thanks Kelsey! Well, I broke down and ordered the book! :) It does look like a really good one for the students I have this year. Thank you for stopping by and for the compliment-it means a lot to me! :)