The first African-American woman to own and publish a newspaper, The Eagle (later, The California Eagle), Charlotta Bass was a tireless advocate for social change and one of the most influential African-Americans of the 20th century. Based in Los Angeles, Bass utilized the newspaper as a platform to address issues of race and gender equality, police brutality, and media stereotyping in an era when women and African-Americans were largely being excluded from public discourse.
In 1995, Azim Khamisa's 20-year-old son, Tariq, was delivering a pizza when he was shot to death by a 14-year-old gang member. Experiencing the pain, grief, frustration, and anger that a parent would, Azim decided that the only way he could better the situation was to use the tool of FORGIVE to ensure that this type of tragedy happens less frequently in the future. After meeting with the father of the boy who shot Tariq, Azim decided that he would bring his message of forgiveness and mutual respect to groups of young people all over the country. The foundation in his son's memory, the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, raises awareness and engages youth to resist a culture of violence and learn to live in harmony with one another. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies and you can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
Palo Alto High School student Kevin Ward challenges the stereotype of African-Americans as "gangsters," and says that "smart is the new gangster." The 16-year-old is working to bridge the achievement gap for students of color, through the school's Unity Club and a program called Bridge, connecting students from affluent Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, a neighboring low-income community. This lesson addresses the following SEL strategies. You can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.
Each year, Facing History teacher Jane Wooster asks the students in her classes to take on a "social action" project of their own choosing. This year, several of the students have chosen to conduct a lunch-time demonstration to draw attention to the use of the word "illegal" to describe undocumented immigrants, and start a school-wide conversation about the way immigrants are perceived in their community.
Leaders of One Mississippi, a student group devoted to bridging racial and social barriers at the University of Mississippi, bring students together for a dialogue meeting about their hopes and fears for the organization. This is a DVD extra from the PBS program, Not In Our Town: Class Actions. For more information on the film, visit niot.org/ClassActions
Schools and college campuses are screening Not In Our Town: Class Actions across the country. Here we will compile ideas on how to use this PBS program in your classroom. Thanks to Newcomers High School (Long Island City, NY) teacher Julie Mann and Lakewood High School (Lakewood, OH) teacher Joe Lobozzo for preparing these comprehensive materials. Pre-Screening Activities Part 1: Mississippi Part 2: Indiana Part 3: California Post-Screening Activities How have you used Class Actions on your school or campus? Let us know and we'll share your lesson plan here at NotInOurSchool.org to share with other educators.
Find previews and information about Class Actions at niot.org/ClassActions Written by: Julie Mann, Newcomers High School teacher, and Joe Lobozzo, Lakewood High School teacher I. Role-playing: Put students into groups of 3. Give out the role-play scenarios. Explain to your students that they will be acting out these scenes. It is their job to create a positive ending, one in which the bullying is prevented. Have each group perform the scenario and have the class analyze the scene to see what positive solution they created. Write down all the positive solutions on a poster as possible antidotes to bullying. Role-play scenarios: One student is making fun of another classmate’s looks. A student “accidentally” bumps into someone in the hall. A student is calling someone names because of the color of his/her skin. A student is teasing someone about the clothes he/she wears. A group of kids won't let you sit with them at lunch even though there's room. One student is joking with another by putting him/her down. II. Anti-Bullying Poster Campaign: Have the same groups create anti-bullying posters. Hang these posters in the hallway outside your classroom door and in other popular locations in the school.
Find previews and information about Class Actions at niot.org/ClassActions Written by: Julie Mann, Newcomers High School teacher, and Joe Lobozzo, Lakewood High School teacher Vocabulary: Hate crime Anti-semitism Hanukah Menorah Rabbi Questions: How does one hate crime affect an entire community? What strategies did Bloomington United use to fight against the hate crime? When the rabbi was given a ball at the school basketball game, what message did that send to hate groups? What can we learn from Bloomington United? What risks do people in this part of the film take by acting? Why is it worth it for them to take those risks?
Find previews and information about Class Actions at niot.org/ClassActions Written by: Julie Mann, Newcomers High School teacher, and Joe Lobozzo, Lakewood High School teacher Vocabulary: KKK Confederacy Segregation African-American Dixie Questions: How would you feel as a student of color at Ole Miss while students chant “The South Will Rise Again”? How do you feel about the student group who met to fight against the discriminatory chanting? How do you feel about the chancellor’s decision to stop the discriminatory chant at the football games? Here are the words of the University of Mississippi Creed. What does it mean to you?
Find previews and information about Class Actions at niot.org/ClassActions Written by: Julie Mann, Newcomers High School teacher, and Joe Lobozzo, Lakewood High School teacher Journal 1: Your friend is in an empty hallway (no teachers) being verbally attacked by some older, tougher students because of his different style of dress. What would you do? How would you feel? Why? (Pair/share when finished)