Posted in 10th Grade, Honors, Social Justice

Charleston Syllabus

I’m not sure how I didn’t know this now existed in print form. After following #Charlestonsyllabus on Twitter since the Charleston massacre, I have been trying to put together a social justice unit in correlation to Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands. 


This morning on Twitter, I saw someone post that the University of Georgia is printing hardback and paperback copies, and I immediately ordered a paperback copy. Needless to say, I will be impatiently awaiting its arrival. 


Here is a great article from the African American Intellectual History Society on why we need the Charleston syllabus. 


If you teach the novel or anything related to social justice, I encourage you to order a copy. If you can’t, however, here’s a link to the list of readings included in the Charleston syllabus. 


As we work through the novel for the first time, I will be creating lesson plans that I will post on this blog. 

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Posted in Uncategorized, YouTube

Prince Ea: You are More than Your Labels–a rhetorical analysis

This video from Prince EA came across my Facebook feed, and I immediately clicked on it. I despise labels; labels are a social construct that has torn the world apart. As a teacher of fifteen and sixteen year old students, labels define who my students think they are, who they hang out with, who they think they can become. 


So, since we’ve been studying rhetoric, I wanted them to see this video (more for the message than anything else), but I wanted them to analyze how Prince Ea makes his message effective. 


I gave them each a sticky note because I didn’t want the analysis to be very long–that tends to lead to summarizing. While our focus is ethos, pathos, logos, I told them they could incorporate any rhetorical device in their response. We viewed the video twice, once for comprehension of the message and again for textual evidence. I gave them about five minutes (again, too long leads to summarizing) to write their response and post it on the board.


On the left is my first block, and on the right is my fourth block. After they posted their analysis, we went through and read each one. I also took this time to grade the first few (an A or B just to keep it simple), allowing them to listen to my thinking process in how I grade. Without calling out student names, I gave them the opportunity to do the same. Their rationale for the A or B was sometimes better than their analysis. 


Overall, I didn’t end up actually counting this in the gradebook because I didn’t want to “label” their attempt an A or B. I was more interested in their discussion of the video itself and of the correctness of their answers. 


Students were very quiet after the video because they realized the truth behind labels, whether it be grades, or race, or gender, republican or democrat, etc. Labels define you if let them. So don’t!

Posted in 10th Grade, Emmett Till, Uncategorized

Teaching Emmett Till

I have always taught the case of Emmett Till when covering Civil Rights/Justice System because this story represents one of the most tragic cases in history, and Emmett’s murder helped to direct the Civil Rights Movement in a way that led to progression and equality.

It doesn’t matter how many times I show The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till to my students, the reactions are always the same: shock, horror, disgust, anger, sadness. The fact that a boy their age could walk into a store and be kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and murdered ruthlessly the same day shocks them to their core. Seeing Emmett’s body in the unopened casket forces some to close their eyes and look away while others stare, mouth agape, pain on their faces.

As a teacher, this is the reaction that I want, to see that empathy as they watch Emmett’s mother as she describes her son’s body, that Emmett’s body could be smelled blocks away. “How could anyone do that to a kid?” “I don’t understand how the men weren’t charged.” These are the same confusions and questions that appear every year. Sadly, in 2016, we still don’t have many answers.

I recently came across an article from Upworthy, “More than 6 decades after his violent death, the story of Emmett Till Lives On,” and it reminded me of Emmett and how no matter how many years I teach, I will always share his story. The article goes beyond Emmett’s life and murder and discusses where we are today. Amidst current violence, race relations do not appear to have improved since Emmett’s time, but his death wasn’t in vain.

The article states that Keith Beauchamp, director of the documentary mentioned above, wants to direct a feature length film about Emmett Till–and I am so hopeful that he does. If you have time, check out some of the video diaries that Beauchamp received on Twitter for #MyTillMoment (@MyTillMoment). They are breathtaking, and they will become a part of my lesson plan.

Here is my outline for my Justice System/Civil Rights Unit. Honestly, this unit took several months with my college prep class because I wanted to be thorough and honest. Reading a novel and a play connected well together. You could also add in Monster if you wanted a YA book. We watched both the Emmett Till documentary and the Juvies documentary (both have guided questions to accompany the film). As far as breaking down the time, teaching Mockingbird took about a month, each of the documentaries took one ninety minute class period, the play took about a week, and the articles for Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, etc. were interspersed throughout the unit.

The Justice System

To Kill a Mockingbird

Deaths of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, and Freddie Gray

A Lesson Before Dying

Juvies

Based on the novel, current events, the play, and the documentaries, write a two page, double-spaced essay in which you discuss the justice system and your opinion of it, using the texts as credible evidence to support your assertions.

Questions to consider:

What do these four things have in common? (Racism, prejudice, police, murders, teens)

How was justice served? Lawfully or unlawfully?

What are some solutions? Cameras? Juries?

 

Posted in 10th Grade, Honors, Social Justice, Uncategorized

Teaching Social Justice: Part One

Teaching social justice is something I always do in my classes, regardless of what is happening in the news. Classic literature shows us that issues of equality and justice have always existed. From Huck Finn to To Kill a Mockingbird to 1984, issues of race, class, and technology teach us to be more self aware, to think about others, to show empathy.

With the current political climate and the seemingly endless killings

of innocent youth and police officers, it is impossible to ignore the tragedies around us. We have to find ways to reach our students and start conversations about what is happening in the real world, especially with our high school students who will take a college or career pathway very soon.

This year, I want to make sure my students have the opportunity to discuss issues that matter to them and issues they may not know a Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands as my core text, my honors and college prep students will read, write, and discuss issues of social justice as it relates to race, diversity, and equality.

lot about. Using

With about a week and a half left before school begins for teachers in my district, I am starting to plan this unit little by little, still trying to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation. As I plan the unit and add resources, I will share and hopefully receive some comments/ideas/feedback from colleagues and teachers around the world.

Here is my overall plan as it stands right now. Remember, that this is just a rough outline, and I will develop the resources and lesson plans in the coming days.

Discussing Social Justice

Fiction

Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands

Non-Fiction

Excerpts from Henrietta Lacks

What are Human Rights?

How Many People Have Been Shot in Your Neighborhood?

Children’s Literature

The Sneetches

Picture Books for Social Justice

Photography

Black Lives Matter Photo

Photographs to Teach Social Justice

Film/Video

Selma

I am Malala

Blackfish (?)

Emmett Till

Music

Social Justice Music

Sounds of BLM

Poetry

Social Justice Poetry

Final Assessment

(idea) Choose an area of social justice and write a persuasive essay where you convince your audience (government/president?) that they should create/pass a bill regarding your topic.

20 Time World Issues Research Project

Social Justice Projects

Service Learning Project

10 Activities

Supplemental for Teachers

Beyond Tolerance

Argumentative Writing Helps Students Become Participants in the Real World

The Evolution of Human Rights

Teaching Social Justice

A Lesson About Privilege

Social Justice Project

Social Justice Resources

10 CP Human Rights Worksheets

Teaching about Social Justice

The Long Term Effect of Social Justice Education

Teachingsocialjustice.com

NEA Justice

Ferguson

Creating Classrooms for Social Justice