We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball Project and Post-Reading Extension Ideas

We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson is a powerful, yet engaging and high-interest book for grades 3-5.  The following is a list of suggestions for projects that can be used during or after reading to engage your students and deepen students' understanding of the themes presented in the book. 

For more on We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, check out our Text Evidence, Inference, and Language Activities, Reading Comprehension Questions, our Image, Illustration & Graphics Analysis Activities, or our Final Reading Quiz.

    • Have students research the Jim Crow Laws, answering the following questions:
      • Who was Jim Crow?
      • What were the Jim Crow Laws?
      • How did they affect the life of black Americans after the Civil War?
      • How might the Jim Crow Laws have made white people feel powerful?
      • Why were the Jim Crow Laws created?
      • When did the Jim Crow Laws finally “go away”?
    Have students (or groups) create some type of visual presentation to teach what they have learned to the rest of the class.  
    we are the ship extension ideas
      • Break the book up into chapters by assigning small groups of students a chapter to read.  After everyone has read their chapter, have students break out into groups and work together to create a summary of their reading to share aloud with the rest of the class.  Remind students to be sure to mention all important points made by the author, so all students will be as informed as those in your group.  For grading purposes, keep track of who did which parts of the presentations.
      • Have students learn more about Abner Doubleday.  Did he invent baseball or was it someone else?  If not, how did he contribute to its popularity?  Have students present their findings to the class by creating a PowerPoint or Prezi, a website, a written report, or other media.
      • Create a giant timeline of events from the book as a class, then display as a bulletin board of events. Include all main points made by the author.  
      • Have students research the life of a famous Negro baseball player or athlete. Students present their findings on poster board, in some sort of graphic format such as a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, on a blog or website they create themselves, or in some other interesting way.
      • Have students find out about the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Visit http://www.jackierobinson.org/ to find out what the foundation does, and to research some ways to volunteer.  
      • Have students write an online article or create a newspaper front page about one of the significant events in the book (and other important news events of the time). Create related pages with articles that emphasize its importance, and be sure to make it look authentic.  Work should be thoroughly researched, and appropriate to the newspapers of the time period that you read about.
      • Have students create questions for a mock interview of a baseball player or manager mentioned in the book. Have students pretend they are actually interviewing their person, and take notes on their “answers” to the questions.  Be sure to ask the why and how questions, in particular.  Special attention should be paid to the time in history in which the novel takes place.  Questions and answers should fit the way people would have responded at the time.
      • As a class, small groups, or individually, have students read another book about the Negro Leagues or a player mentioned in the novel who became famous after he was allowed to join Major League baseball.  In some creative manner, have students present what they learned through their reading so the class can also learn more about the topic or person.


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