MAJOR TAYLOR CURRICULUM GUIDE AVAILABLE
Teachers can download free materials
Contact: Lynne Tolman
Curriculum kits for lessons about
trailblazing black athlete Marshall W. "Major" Taylor,
1899 world cycling champion, are available free to schoolteachers
and youth group leaders through a collaboration of the Major Taylor
Association, the Educational Association of Worcester and the
Institute for International Sport.
Virginia Walsh, Grade 3 teacher at West
Tatnuck School in Worcester, wrote the teachers' guide for a weeklong
Major Taylor unit for children in Grades 3 and 4, based on a successful
character-education and community-service project that she led in her
school in February 2002. The unit includes five take-home worksheets
that provide information about "the Worcester Whirlwind,"
as Major Taylor was known, and related exercises and activities
employing language, math and other skills. The packet
also includes a reading and discussion exercise for older
students, focusing on the Jim Crow racial prejudices that
marked Major Taylor's athletic career, how the champion
reacted to the closed doors and open hostility he faced
on and off the bike, and how his experiences might guide
athletes and others today.
The materials are designed to be used during Black History Month
(February) or National Sportsmanship Day (first Tuesday in March)
in conjunction with an optional readathon to benefit the Major
Taylor Association's fund raising for a planned statue of Major
Taylor at the Worcester Public Library.
The curriculum kits, which include a Major Taylor poster and a
resource list for further reading, are available free from the
Educational Association of Worcester. Educators and youth group leaders anywhere may click here to download the
materials at no charge.
"Major Taylor's life is a powerful story that
really grips kids, opens their eyes to a significant period in history, and
teaches valuable lessons about character," Ms. Walsh said. "It's not
just about sports." She added that the Major Taylor unit fits the
curriculum frameworks of the Massachusetts Department of Education and
is approved for districtwide use by the administration of the Worcester
Public Schools. Major Taylor readathons in her school and others have raised money for
the Major Taylor statue, which will be Worcester's first monument to an
The Educational Association of Worcester
is pleased to offer teachers a supplement to textbook materials, especially
one that combines a compelling subject with a community project, said
Janet Dufault, president of the teachers' union.
The Major Taylor unit falls in line with
the goals of National Sportsmanship Day, which seeks to heighten
awareness of ethics and fair play in athletics and society, said Ruth
Wilson, director of the program.
"Part of the mission of the Major Taylor
Association is to teach young people about this forgotten hero, and
we're thrilled that professional educators in Worcester, where Taylor
lived most of his life, have taken the initiative to bring his legacy
to the next generation," said Lynne Tolman, a board member of the
Major Taylor Association.
"Major Taylor broke through 'the color
line' half a century before Jackie Robinson played baseball for the Brooklyn
Dodgers, and we can learn a lot by looking at the forces in society and
the personal qualities that played into that," Ms. Tolman said.
"These curriculum materials provide an excellent introduction
for youngsters, teachers, parents and communities."
For a free downloadable copy of the Major
Taylor curriculum guide, click here. For a classroom poster of Major Taylor, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Major Taylor, click here.