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We Declare

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Students will conduct a town hall meeting, create a survey, and interview fellow students regarding violence on campus.  Using the information obtained, students will write a Declaration of Non-violence (or whatever topic your group has selected) which will then be presented to the student body for ratification, then to the administration for possible implementation. 

“Let us all take more responsibility, not only for ourselves and our
families but for our communities and our country.” ~Bill Clinton

Lesson Rationale

Throughout history, people have declared their independence, their rights, and their demands.  These declarations have led to change.  The United States Declaration of Independence delineated our demands for representation, freedom and independence.  It became the guiding principle for our country.  Similar declarations have occurred around the world, having various impacts.  The goal of this lesson is to have students develop their own declaration around a social issue at school, to gather support as well as a vehicle to pursue change.  The topic of violence on campus is modeled here, used to develop this lesson, but any social issue that is relevant to your campus can be used. 

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Words Can Hurt

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Students will reflect on personal experiences and utilize them to create a poster campaign to make their classmates aware of the impact words can have on others.

“There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Lesson Rationale

Often, people make off-handed comments without realizing the impact of their words.  There are also instances when a statement is made with the intent of hurting another person.  How do we deal with both of those situations?  This lesson is intended to make students aware of the impact that words can have, as well as to generate meaningful discussion about how to address issues of language, hostility and (mis)communication. 

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Twittering Perspective

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Students will be able to write a concise opinion statement in response to an article on social change efforts.  Students will utilize others’ opinions to revise or confirm their own opinions.  Students will understand there are many points of view on any given topic.

“To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Lesson Rationale

Do other people’s opinions matter?  In today’s society, people are bombarded with information, which helps form opinions on a variety of topics.  New information or a differing perspective can serve to change our opinions or confirm how we feel.  As technology continues to become a growing part of our daily lives, students also need to be able to express themselves clearly using technology, in a written format that is quick, easy and accessible. 

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What is Normal?

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Students will create a collage of images of people, which will be used as the basis for an analysis of the difference between what the media portrays as “normal” versus what everyday people look like. Students will write letters to manufacturing companies requesting “truth in advertising”.

“Invest in the human soul.  Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

Lesson Rationale

Students are bombarded daily by different images of what they are “supposed” to look like, according to cultural standards and societal ideals.  Most people do not fit the images that the media presents.  Through this lesson students will explore the difference between what is portrayed in the media as “normal” and the reality of everyday people and their everyday looks. 

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Mapping Change

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”  —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Students will create an annotated map charting the development of a social issue over time.

Lesson Rationale

Social change movements have taken place all over the world throughout history.  People have constantly sought to improve the lives of others by bringing about changes in society that promote equality, freedom and security.  Through this activity, students will see that social change can happen anywhere at any time by anyone.  This activity is developed around the topic of women’s political leadership throughout history.  This topic, gender equality and women’s political power, is one example of a social change arena.  This activity can be adapted for any topic, such as voting rights, health care, environmental regulations, and so forth.

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Found Poem

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Through the creation of a Found poem, students will reconstruct information to express their perspective on the topic while summarizing the information.

“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ~Andy Warhol

Lesson Rationale

  • People organize information in unique and personal ways.  At times, we need to reorganize information that is presented to us in order to gain a more thorough understanding of the material.  As we go through this organizational process, we are interpreting the information and summarizing in our own perspective.  As people mature, they learn to organize and interpret more effectively.  For students, creating Found Poems helps develop that interpretive process. 
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extraOrdinary People

Lesson from Express Yourself Curriculum

Objectives

Students will identify the key attributes of extraOrdinary people, and through that ability to identify, will be able to recognize those attributes in themselves.

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” ~ Cesar Chavez

Lesson Rationale

Most of us don't think of ourselves as extraOrdinary – as a person who could be the one who makes a significant change in the world. The goal of this lesson is to demonstrate to students that extraOrdinary people come from all walks of life; each of us can be extraOrdinary.

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Express Yourself Curriculum

Overview: These lessons cover subject matter in Language Arts, US and World History, Government, Visual and Performing Arts, and Career Technology. Lessons may be deployed individually, as a unit on social change, or in conjunction with a visit to The UNITY Lab.

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