Slater Jewell-Kemker - EXPRESS | Not in Our Town

Slater Jewell-Kemker - EXPRESS

Grade Level: 
Middle School (6-8)


Slater Jewell-Kemker is a 17-year-old filmmaker and reporter who celebrates the best of humanity, empowering young people to change the world with media and technology.

Through her work, Slater has empowered a global network of young environmentalists and met with important trendsetters and lawmakers. By using the tool of EXPRESS, Slater and the youth that join her are creating positive social change.

This lesson addresses the following Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies and you can have students look for these issues and examine them in themselves.

  • Self-awareness: Slater is confident in her own abilities and is therefore able to talk to all sorts of different people.

  • Self-management: Slater started filmmaking from an early age and realizes that although she is young and sometimes not taken seriously she doesn’t let it stop her from being a prominent voice of change for her generation.

  • Social awareness: Slater is aware that if the youth of this generation do not speak up, as is often the case, then no one will do so for them. Therefore, she not only speaks on behalf of those who will not speak but also encourages others to speak up as well.

  • Relationship skills: Slater actively reaches out and speaks to her generation about making a positive change in the world. She also meets and interviews various people, including some very prominent figures, from very different cultures and backgrounds.

1. Prior to showing the video, briefly explain the primary themes of the video. Use some or all of the following questions (include at least one writing prompt):

  • Do you believe that one person can make a difference? Think of someone you know, personally or otherwise (such as Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela), that has made a difference and explain how they have done so.
  • Do you believe that you have the power to make a difference in your own school? How about your community? How about on a global scale? What are some of the ways people express themselves as they work for change?
  • Have you ever faced a problem or an issue and taken action to address it? Or maybe you’ve seen a problem and seen someone else take action. Describe the problem and what you, or they, did to help out. Include whether the individual acted alone or if there was help from others.

2.  After watching the video, engage students in a dialogue about the film using some or all of the following questions (include at least one writing prompt):

  • Slater uses film-making as a way of reaching out and teaching others about various issues. What is the power of film to make change in the world? Can you think of any films that helped change your mind about an issue? Can you think of any films that helped many people change or impacted others?
  • Think of some other creative ways in addition to film that you can influence  positive social change and encourage others to do so as well. What might those be and how would they be used to reach large numbers of people?
  • Slater mentions that one of the obstacles she faces is not being taken seriously because of her age. What might be some obstacles that a young person may face while pursuing the change and how might you overcome it?
  • “We are the ones... who are going to be experiencing this rapidly changing world, so it’s important for us to stand up and get our voices heard” - Slater Jewell-Kemker. Any thoughts on this quote, do you agree or disagree? Is it easier said than done? Why or why not?
  • Think about your school or community, is it the type of school that you want to attend or a community you want to live in? As a class, brainstorm a list of problems that you may see in your school or community. What are some ideas for making a video or public service announcement to address one of these problems.

Extension Activities

1. Have students practice interviewing each other about their heroes.

2. Have students identify positive role models and leaders in their community who influence their community.  Interview either on video or audio.

3. Have students make their own videotaped public service announcements about issues in their community. Here is an example of a public service announcement about bullying with a lesson plan for making their own public service announcement.


By Geraldine Divina and Becki Cohn-Vargas

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