Teachers Workshop on Youth Activism through SNCC

January 31, 2009 0 comments

Register now for an upcoming workshop for educators entitled “Teaching Youth Activism through the History of SNCC" co-sponsored by Teachers for Social Justice and the Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council. The workshop will examine youth activism through the history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). By using stategies such as sit-ins and boycotts and launching campaigns like Freedom Rides and Freedom Summer, SNCC was a model for youth-led social change and one of the major organizational players in the Modern Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, February 6, 10am-4pm
Thursday, February 11, 9am-3pm
Saturday, March 6, 10am-4pm 

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CURRICULUM: Translating Poetry into Imagery through Collage

DESCRIPTION: This project was inspired by poetry and the illustrations from the book, “A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams” by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. The book is about the story of William Carlos and how he became a poet. Melissa took words from the poetry and created her illustrations. The purpose of this lesson is to give students skills for visually interpreting the worlds of others through poetry.

Curriculum Writer: Luthando M.
GRADE LEVEL: Secondary school

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CURRICULUM: Food Access & Food Justice

During the summer of 2009  thirty-five youth participated in a summer internship with the Umoja Community Builders (CB) Program.  CB is a rigorous, holistic program which engages youth in meaningful community change work while simultaneously developing their self awareness and professional skills.  Thirty-five students worked as interns, working 22.5 hours per week for 6 weeks.   

CB 2009 focused on the issue of food deserts and food justice in North Lawndale.  The trajectory of the CB curriculum was to begin by understanding food access as a problem, move from food access being a problem to an issue, research the issue of food access in North Lawndale and finally analyze and present research findings to stakeholders.   In the CB internship, a large focus was put on group work, critical thinking, and problem solving.  Once a week, CB interns worked with our partner, Free Spirit Media,  on creating a short film that documented their experience and work on food justice.

Each day of the internship consisted of multiple activities aimed at moving youth through the trajectory described above.  Attached are examples of two days of curriculum from the understanding food access as a problem unit of CB.  When teaching our interns about food access we engaged them through story telling and simulation activities, understanding that these methodologies were critical in making the issue of food access relevant and personalized for our interns.   Our curriculum is heavily based in dialogue, discussion, and reflection thereby creating a space for our interns to tell the stories of theirs and others’ communities. 

The attached curriculums are in draft form and pulled from the larger trajectory we were working within this summer. We have tried our best to pull out relevant activities that are adaptable to other settings.   It is our hope that the ideas and concepts behind these pieces of curriculum will both provide concrete activities you can do with your youth around food justice as well as inspire you to adapt and create new tools for teaching your youth about food justice.   We are happy to share other pieces of our curriculum with you. 

We also encourage you to take a look at our blog at www.umojacb.blogspot.com and our video on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM7t132j0Hg

Curriculum Writers: Zarah C.,  William W., and Ilana Z.
Level: High School
Area: Social Science, Social Research

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CURRICULUM: Fulfill the Dream and Cultivating Youth Voice

The Good Life Organization, working in partnership with The Firehouse and community arts center, and Social Justice High School has developed a curriculum entitled Fulfill The Dream that focuses on building bridges in communities for the purpose of aiding youth in the discover and cultivation of their “voices”. This program teaching youth to develop a critical media literacy and understanding of their world, while also giving them room to use the arts to dream and use their voices to dictate what changes are possible. This program, which was piloted in LA in 2008, helped to bring the community together in Wilmington and put together a Hip-hop Revival which created an atmosphere for gang leaders to dialogue and agree towards working for peace. This program has currently adapted so that youth and adults in Lawndale can begin to assess their assets and creatively problem solve some of their communal issues together.

This workshop is meant to get youth to critically think about what sacrifices have been
made to get them to where they are today, where they want to be, and how they will
overcome challenges to get to where they want to be. It will further develop the ideas from
the last session regarding what they believe about reality and fantasy. In addition, it will
help youth begin considering what kind of legacy they wish to leave. Encourage youth to
consider challenges in their lives, and in the world that they are concerned about and how
might they overcome challenges and help find solutions.

Curriculum Writer: Roberto R.
Level: 7th - 12th grade
Area: Social Studies, English/Literature, Life Skills/ Social and Emotional Learning

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CURRICULUM: Exploring the Meaning of the Fist through Art

January 30, 2009 0 comments

DESCRIPTION: The everyday life of our urban high school students is often overlooked in the public school classroom.  These experiences are the very places where students are developing a sense of self and their own perspectives in relation to their cultural, social, and political environments.   Moreover, bringing the everyday into the classroom is a critical and necessary form of pedagogy.  In this lesson plan, students will utilize maps of Chicago while exploring the range of meanings that come along with the Fist, a hand gesture often associated with power and strength.  Inspired by local Little Village artist Antonio Martinez, the students will incorporate their own fists into a sculpture that will in turn become a collective installation.  During this process, students will interpret Martinez’s use of fists in his artwork and discuss how this hand form can communicate a range of things in various contexts. The students are also encouraged to explore what the fist means to them and relate this to their own life experience.  This is a great opportunity for students to reflect on and connect their own lives, culture, and urban environments to an art project.  
GRADE LEVEL:  high school (grades 9)
TIMELINE: one 55-minute period

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CURRICULUM: Investigating Sweatshops

Students Will Be Able To:
- Explain reasons why sweatshop labor exists.
- List some the problems associated with sweatshops in the U.S. and abroad.
- Contrast their own lives with the lives of sweatshop laborers.
- Suggest ways to help end sweatshop labor.

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CURRICULUM: Circle of Compassion, Food Justice

Students Will Be Able To:
1. Define the term factory farm.

2. Empathize with the feelings of factory farmed animals.

3. Identify some laws that protect companion animals (like dogs and cats) and endangered animals, but exclude farmed animals.

4. Identify some key differences in factory farms and family farms.

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CURRICULUM: Endangered Species & Environmental Issues

Students Will Be Able To:
  • List the causes, consequences, and ways to address the problems of endangered species, habitat destruction, global warming, and pollution.
  • Relate a specific example of the consequences of allowing trash to enter our oceans.
Curriculum Writer: HEART
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CURRICULUM: Heart - Understanding Stereotypes

Students Will Be Able To:

  • Recognize and discuss some stereotypes and prejudices that they may hold. 
  • Understand that stereotypes are often wrong and can be hurtful to others.

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CURRICULUM: Are You Sold? Understanding Advertising

Students Will Be Able To:
  • Recognize the ubiquity of advertising messages in their lives
  • Contrast wants and needs
  • Critically analyze about advertising messages
  • Understand the relationship between advertising and consumerism
Curriculum Writer: HEART
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Protest School Closings January 28

January 20, 2009

CPS is again ignoring community voice and public opinion and is proposing to close about 20 schools (or "turnaround" or consolidate or "phase out"). This is a continuation of the privatization/corporatization/destruction of public education in the city. R2010 is, and always was, a BUSINESS plan (linked to gentrification and the displacement of low-income people of color), it NEVER was an educational plan!

A strong coalition including many community organizations, school reform groups, the Chicago Teachers Union, the union rank and file caucus, and MANY teachers/parents/students from the affected schools are opposing and organizing on a city-wide basis.

The coalition is organizing a PROTEST at the next CPS Board meeting, January 28. There are two parts to the Board meeting...public testimony (starting at around 10:30, usually later), and the actual voting by the Board (later in the afternoon)

We are asking for people to come to 125 S. Clark St. (Board HQ) at 3:30 for a massive public protest. If enough people show up...we can make our voices heard!

We are also asking all CPS teachers to take a personal day and COME to the Board meeting. IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK, YOU NEED TO BE THERE VERY VERY EARLY (like 6AM) to sign up (first come, first served). And if you spoke there last month, you cannot this month.

Pack the Board Chambers! Come to the mass public protest at 3:30! The CTU is chartering buses from the affected schools, so our numbers should be large. Make your voice be heard too!!!

If you know anyone affected who would like to be involved, please contact us.

Organized by: Blocks Together, Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators, Chicago Teachers Union,
Chicago Youth Initiating Change, Designs for Change, Kenwood Oakland Community
Organization, Pilsen Alliance, Parents United for Responsible Education, Save Senn, Southside
United, Southwest Youth Collaborative, Substance, Teachers for Social Justice, and
teachers/parents/students from the affected schools. Read the Full Story

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CURRICULUM: Dismantling Disability Stereotypes With Political Cartoons

January 1, 2009 1 comments

Students will view political cartoons by Dave Lupton (“Crippen”) that address
stereotypes about people with disabilities. After discussing these stereotypes as well
as the visual qualities of a successful political cartoon, they will make their own car-
toons addressing disability stereotypes.

Download the Curriculum HERE

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CURRICULUM: Driving While Black/Driving While Brown: A Mathematics Project About Racial Profiling

The purpose of this project is to investigate racial profiling, or Driving While Black or Driving While Brown (DWB/DWB). African Americans and Latinos/as have complained, filed suit, and organized against what they believe are racist police practices—being stopped, searched, harassed, and arrested because they “fit” a racial profile—they are African American (Black) or Latino/a (Brown). But is this true? How do we know? And can mathematics be a useful tool in helping us answer this question?

Download the Full Curriculum HERE

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