The Art and Times of William Edmondson

Length: 6 class periods (50-minutes each)

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this Social Studies Lesson, students will:

  • Students will be formatively assessed through discussion in whole group, small group, and pairs.
  • Students will complete facts on a graphic organizer as evidence of an understanding of two passages related to the life of William Edmondson.
  • Students will work in small groups to categorize facts that regarding the lives of free Blacks (William Edmondson) after the 13th Amendment.
  • Students will complete Venn Diagrams in small groups and as a class.
  • Students will write a letter to the Nashville Urban Planning Commission claiming how the land of the revitalized Edmondson Park should be used. 
  • Students will support their ideas for the land use with evidence from texts read in class and independent research.
  • As time permits, students will present various formative and summative assessments to the class.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a...
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior...
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and...
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact...
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts,...
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and...
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen...
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language...
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis...
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event...
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a...
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional...
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each...
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
GLE 0801.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with an introduction, developing paragraphs, conclusion, and appropriate transitions.
GLE 0801.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
GLE 0801.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
SPI 0801.2.4
Determine the most effective methods of engaging an audience during an oral presentation (e.g., making eye contact, adjusting speaking rate).
SPI 0801.3.11
Identify individual written selections as technical, narrative, persuasive, and/or descriptive in mode.
SPI 0801.3.5
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0801.3.8
Select vivid words to strengthen a description (adjective or adverb) within a writing sample or passage.
SPI 0801.3.9
Select illustrations, explanations, anecdotes, descriptions and/or facts to support key ideas.
SPI 0801.4.2
Identify levels of reliability among resources (e.g., eyewitness account, newspaper account, supermarket tabloid account, Internet source).
Present claims and findings in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence; sound, valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye...
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and...
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Content Standards:

  • 8.73 Describe the influence of industrialization and technological developments of the regions, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions.
  • 8.82 Explain the significance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 
  • 8.85 Explain the effects of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the restrictions placed on the rights and opportunities of freedmen, including racial segregation and Jim Crow laws.
  • 8.90 Describe the major developments in Tennessee during the  deconstruction Era.

Clear Learning Targets:

  • I can explain the significance of the 13th Amendment within the context of the life and times of William Edmondson.
  • I can explain the restrictions placed on the rights and opportunities of free Blacks after the Civil war, within the context of the life and times of William Edmondson.
  • I can cite evidence to support analysis of informational texts.
  • I can support a claim with evidence from my research.

Task Objectives (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets):

  • Students will complete graphic organizers.
  • Students will engage in meaningful discussion as a whole class.
  • Students will work to research facts to document evidence of the life experiences of free Blacks after the Civil War in Nashville, Tennessee using primary sources and secondary sources.
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking:
Assessing questions:

  • What do you know about William Edmondson, based on the information you read?
  • What is the main idea of the 13th Amendment?

Advancing questions:

  • How would Edmondson’s life have been different, had he lived in the 2000s? What evidence from your reading and research makes you think that?
  • How would the tone and/or format of your letter change if you were writing it to a different audience—such as a committee that could raise money for your cause?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding opportunities (to address learning challenges): 

  • PowerPoint to help scaffold background information
  • Activate Prior Knowledge (APK) techniques

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differntiating process, content, or product):

  • Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model strategies for English Language Learner (ELL) Marzano (2005) vocabulary strategies: write new word, define word in own words, illustrate definitions.
  • Individual pacing 

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources: 

  • Pictures of William Edmondson and tombstone sculptures
  • Maps of land during 1800’s- present (Google, Metro Arts Council)
  • Graphic organizers
  • Response cards
  • Computers
  • Handouts
  • Rubrics (letter, presentations)
  • Post It notes
  • Projector
  • Screen