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Take Action for Social Good: Four End-of-Year Literacy Projects

 | Apr 12, 2017

TT-20170412_w200With required benchmarks reached and curricular lessons accomplished, the last months of the school year often bring opportunity for both explorations of new ideas and deeper investigations of previously covered topics. These final weeks offer ideal space and time for teachers to bring in projects that can harness student interests and passions and ignite classes to take action for social good. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, students can apply learned literacy skills and evidence understandings by researching and sharing with diverse audiences of our world.

Looking for ways to inspire your students to become instruments of positive change as global citizens? Here are programs of four literacy-based global education organizations complete with free lesson plans, alignment to standards, and connections to all areas of literacy that are ready for exploring.

Build a culture of respect with the My Name, My Identity Campaign

Photo Credit: My Name, My Identity

As our classrooms become increasingly diverse, teachers can serve as catalysts to model the great importance of properly pronouncing student names. With the My Name, My Identity Campaign, teachers can take the pledge and commit to saying student names correctly and join with a global group of passionate educators that value student cultures and heritages. Free resources and teacher guides on the website offer lessons and guided exercises for students to Investigate the World, Recognize Perspectives, Communicate Ideas, and Take Action.

Literacy activities invite and guide students to create multimedia presentations, poems, essays, and infographics to demonstrate beliefs and points-of-view. Through discussions and reflective practices, classrooms can further explore ways to recognize and appreciate perspectives of diverse audiences.

Students as creators of content to share messages through literacy

Offered as a free project-based curriculum for middle school and high school students, the Rock Your World organization highlights the importance of using creative media for students to take action on issues important in their lives. With an enter-where-you-wish curriculum, teachers and students can customize learning with standards-aligned lessons.

To begin, students can examine model advocacy campaigns, learn ways to effectively create brochures and visuals, and study presentation techniques. Based on individual interests, students can follow pathways to Make Films, Write Persuasively, or Write Songs. Each course provides modules that incorporate research, synthesis of ideas, and creation of a product for sharing. Multimodal artifacts for completion include the following:

  • Make Films: PSAs, documentaries, storyboarding
  • Write Persuasively: Craft persuasive letters, find balance between fact and opinion, commentaries
  • Write Songs: inspire with music, discover poetic devices in lyrics, listen to music as a Songwriter

Final student projects can be submitted for publication and then featured on the site. Students can also explore other student-created projects by searches based on cause, subject, medium, and grade level.

Positive change for people and the planet through the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Photo Credit: United Nations

In 2015, the United Nations dedicated to meeting the agenda for sustainable development by the year 2030 by carrying out work per 17 goals. These purposeful Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed to inspire positive change for people and the planet in areas ranging from climate change to poverty to peace and justice for all.

Inviting educators to join in this effort, the TeachSDGs Project offers ideas for classrooms to meet the call to action with students working to amplify the goals through advocacy and educational initiatives. Teachers can take the pledge to become a TeachSDGs educator and can find curated collections for each of the 17 SDGs for classroom projects that include related lessons, videos, and resources.

Simple ideas to get started in connecting students to the SDGs are shared with tips such as printing out the free SDG full-color poster in your classroom to prompt discussions. Teachers connected on Twitter can also follow and use the hashtag #TeachSDGs to see ideas shared by educators in classrooms from around the world.

Examine stories of our world and create your own global message

Photo Credit: Unni Raveendranathan
for Global Oneness Project

Through photo essays, film, articles, and interviews with people of our world, the Global Oneness Project explores cultural, social, and environmental issues within our global society. Capturing international stories through a humanistic lens, lessons provide opportunity for students to look into the lives of people in distant and not-so-distant lands. Teachers and students can select from Collections that range from topics centered on nature to climate change to inspiring people, or they can choose individual lessons that provide approaches to learning that incorporate critical thinking and active engagement.

Check out these beautiful, multicultural stories of people of our world: Flamenco: A Cross-Cultural Art Form, Marie’s Dictionary: Recording a Dying Language, Melting Away: Witnessing Icebergs, Cross Borders: A Refugee Story. Each lesson is organized for teachers with key ideas, themes, listings of materials, and directions for planning/preparation. Students can engage in personal ways with stories, offered in both English and Spanish, through various literacy activities that propel ideas forward and through discussion with accompanying conversation cards and in-depth study guides.

Dr. Jennifer Williams is a globally minded educator that works with classrooms of the world to connect learning and experience through meaningful uses of technology. She is a literacy specialist and professor and serves on the Board of Directors for the International Literacy Association. You can connect with Jennifer on Twitter at @JenWilliamsEdu.

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