Migration normally happens out of necessity: work, natural resources, or safety for one’s life. The desire to migrate may be a solution for many but there are barriers that can prohibit the need for safety and prosperity. A large number of students’ families are renting or experiencing homelessness in many parts of the United States. They are entering secondary education ready to get jobs to help their families to gain or just maintain a stable home. Students are also preparing for their small individual migrations from their current schooling location and/or homes to a place of post-secondary education or occupation.
Who makes decisions about the environment? How do decisions about environmental issues affect a community’s health? Who is an activist? How do individuals inform and/or advocate for their communities?
Students will first investigate the global problem of plastics pollution. Through an exploration of maps and data, including from the Pulitzer Center Resource Plastic that Travels 8,000 Miles: The Global Crisis in Recycling, students will gain knowledge of issues pertaining to plastics, both on land and in our oceans. They will utilize the Pulitzer Center resource Joane: We Can End the Toxic Use and Burning of Plastics as one example of a clear community action taken by young people to help bring about awareness and change in their community. Through reading the article and watching the related video, students will identify character traits of Joane, the featured activist, as well as discuss the process of engaging in a civic action.
Next, students will examine environmental issues in communities across Chicago, engaging with locally-relevant themes such as the effects of lead in water and soil, microplastics, and air pollution. They will define the terms environmental justice and environmental racism and discuss how those ideas relate to issues locally and globally. During this part of the unit, students will continue to identify traits that exemplify activism in the leaders highlighted in the articles, as well as determine what traits they may share with activists.
Finally, students will create an infographic or other call-to-action highlighting an environmental issue of their choosing.
How do counter narratives in our communities demonstrate that the historic ideals of liberty and equality born in the Enlightenment have become increasingly accessible to more communities today through the efforts of individuals or organizations?
This unit will examine the traditional themes of the European Enlightenment such as liberty and justice. Students will then explore how the same thinkers who left a legacy of proposed freedoms also created systemic discrimination for many communities. After engaging with primary sources and examining the history of imperialism, students will review news stories funded by the Pulitzer Center that connect this legacy to current global events. Ultimately students will create their own projects highlighting a narrative in their own community that counters traditional Enlightenment legacies. The idea is to identify and report on the disruptors to the past stereotypes.
In this lesson students will read to understand how Black and Brown men are currently incarcerated in America at a much higher level than any other demographic. Students will evaluate the relationship between slavery and the current criminal-justice system. They will close read two anchor texts from the New York Times 's 1619 Project, i.e., an excerpt from the article “Slavery Gave America…” and an excerpt from the article "The Idea of America." Using these texts, other visuals, and a video as their background knowledge resource bank, students will write to make and support a claim about mass incarceration and the ways in which this practice, much like slavery, significantly conflicts with America’s foundational ideas such as “all men are created equal.”
In this unit of study, students will work with lawmakers or changemakers who are working towards a more equitable future through policy change and become their allies in the struggle. Students will work with leaders to enact change by creating photojournalism projects which illustrate how passing legislation will help them reach their dreams. They will be thanking them in advance for supporting a bill that will improve their lives and their communities. During this unit, students will develop an understanding of underreported stories and learn how to tell their story through the lens of photojournalism. They will sharpen their communication skills by learning effective interview techniques and speaking to changemakers. Students will foster a deeper understanding of the legislative process. They will examine assets and challenges in their communities and create a powerful, empathic educational community.
History has given us remarkable examples of cross-cultural solidarity within the context of social justice movements. These working relationships are the legacy on which today’s age of activism stands. By examining this historical/contemporary phenomenon through a diverse range of texts and media, students will hone analytical, writing, and social-emotional skills with an eye toward their collective role as a conscientious, global citizenry.
As part of this seven-lesson unit, which is designed to be facilitated over 10-15 days, students examine several underreported global news stories of human interest that focus upon the displacement of youth worldwide. They also evaluate how this displacement fosters both individual and collective empowerment for positive social change. Students process their analysis through the creation of original videos and scripts that capture personal connections they have made to themes in the articles they explored.
How are migrants portrayed in the news and media? Who gets to tell the story of migration, and what aspects of the story tend to go underreported? How do these stories, and the perspectives from which they’re told, impact our own perceptions of migration?
In this unit, students learn to identify underreported stories of migration, and what is missing from mainstream media representations of migrants’ experiences. They analyze nonfiction texts and images, practice identifying perspectives in media, and synthesize their learning to form a new understanding of migration. In their final project, students communicate how their perspective on migration has grown or changed through a creative project, original news story, or existing news story edited to provide a more holistic picture of migration.
In this six-lesson unit, students will explore stories from people who have migrated to Europe or North America from different countries in Africa in order to analyze the following essential questions:
This mini-unit follows an interdisciplinary unit where students read the novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. As part of the unit, students discussed the inherited trauma that the descendants of two half-sisters in the book, born during the 16th century in what is now present-day Ghana—one enslaved and the other married to a white enslaver—have been dealing with for several generations. Another major component of this novel is migration, as many of the characters move from one place to another in order to escape prejudice, violence, and unrest. While the characters from the novel who had been enslaved were forced to migrate, other characters chose to relocate for more opportunities, freedom, security, and safety.