Student Voices Activist Institute Week 1: Community Essential Questions: What is community? What do we want our Activist Institute learning community to look like? Which conditions, choices, and actions impact our communities? How can we positively and negatively impact our communities? What does it mean to be an activist? Objectives: The learner(s) will be able to: Define community and activism. Recognize examples of how individual actions impact the community, for good or bad. Agree upon rules and procedures for our Activist Institute community. Materials: A marker board Chart paper Markers Activist Institute workbooks (Week 1) Instructional Procedure(s): Anticipatory Set-Individual (5 minutes): Direct students to the first page of their workbooks and ask them to write what they think community means. Think-Pair-Share and write responses on the board or chart paper. Together, come up with a definition. One possibility might be: Community: A group of people living in the same area and under the same government; a class or group having common interests and likes Have students write the agreed-upon definition in their workbooks Large Group (10 minutes): Ask students to name the community in which they live. Ask them to name other communities in which they are involved, i.e. the school community, a faith-based community, an athletic team, a club, an organization, etc. Write the name of these communities on the board as they are being offered, having reached consensus as a class, based on the definition of community, that they are, in fact, communities. Instruct the students to consider how communities develop and continue to function. Make it more specific by asking them to think about one of the communities they identified/are involved in and ask “what conditions, choices, or actions have an impact on that community?” Small Group (15 minutes): Put students in pairs or small groups of 3-4 and have them work together to complete the Community Ideals graphic organizer in their workbooks. This organizer asks students to identify what is good about their community and what they would change. It also allows them to consider what actions or choices have contributed to these positive and negative aspects of their community. Allow ten minutes for students to work in their groups. Spend about 5 minutes allowing each group to share what they came up with. Large Group (15 minutes): Tell students that they will be referring back to their graphic organizers shortly, but right now is time to think about what they want the Activist Institute learning community to look like and to set up some ground rules and procedures that will help everyone have a positive experience in this community. Tape chart paper on the wall. You’ll be referring to these classroom ground rules later, so it’s important to record them on paper. Ask people: What kind of environment do you need so you can learn well? Or: What does our classroom need to be like, so you can learn? Or: How would you like us to be, and treat each other, so you can learn? Phrase the question in a way that is comfortable to you. This is a brainstorm. Take people’s suggestions and write them verbatim on the chart. If, after some time, there are some people you have not heard from, ask them if they have anything to add, but make it clear that it is OK to “pass”. If there are considerations that are important to you as the teacher, remember: you are also part of this learning community, so also add your items. Usually, it is better if the teacher does not add their pieces until the class is done contributing. That way, the students are the first owners of the rules. An exception might be with a very silent group, where a teacher might write one or two ideas on the chart just to get the ball rolling. Rewrite the chart so that any negative suggestions (i.e. no talking when someone else is talking) are re-framed as positive suggestions (i.e. listen when others are talking). Try to have the students develop the re-phrasing, rather than the teacher. Ask whether there are any ground-rules on the brainstorm that people want to delete – that they really don’t agree with or can’t live with. Have some discussion before deleting. When the chart is finished, ask people if it does indeed describe an environment in which they think they can learn. Modify if necessary. If they agree, you are done. Keep the chart posted in the classroom at all times. Tell students that this is a living document, and if they think of something they want to add later, it can be added. Thank them for participating in designing their Activist Institute community! Later, if a student (or teacher) disrupts the learning environment, the ground-rules can be used as a touchstone for discussion about why the particular behavior is not helping everyone learn, and what can be done to return to the agreements. Short break~ If doing two 45 minute sessions this is where the first session would end. Be sure to review the ground rules next meeting. If you will be continuing, offer students a five-minute break. Anticipatory Set-Individual (5 minutes): Ask the students to return to their workbooks and spend a few minutes writing about what they know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the work that he did. (gave speeches, led marches, advocated for civil rights). ThinkPair-Share Tell students that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an activist. Based on what they know about Dr. King, ask students what they think activism means. Together, come up with a definition. One possibility might be: Activism: an intentional act to bring about social, political, environmental or economic change. Have students write the agreed-upon definition in their workbooks Small-Group Activity (15 minutes): Have students discuss the following (10 minutes): o What do you think this quote by King means?: "Everyone can be great because everyone can serve." o How can we spread his message of service and activism and continue the work he has done? o What are some ways you could "be great" through service or social action? Each group shares with the whole class (5 minutes). Large-group Activity (15 minutes): Tell students that When you drop a rock in a pool of water, small waves ripple out from where the rock hit the water. In a similar way, when you make a personal choice, the affect or consequences of that choice can ripple out to many other people. On a large sheet of paper or on the board, draw three concentric circles to mirror the Ripple Effect activity in the students’ workbooks. Ask students to name one action or choice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made that has a lasting impact. Write that choice or action in the center circle. Next, ask students to turn to their partner and brainstorm some possible impacts that action had on other people, communities, or the nation/world in general. Share ideas and choose one to write in the second circle. As a group, consider how the impact they identified might “ripple” out to have another effect. Remind students that impact can be both negative and positive. If they haven’t already identified an example, ask students what a possible negative effect of the choice might be. Ask students whether they believe the choice had an overall positive or negative impact and why? An example of the activity might look something like this: Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech Dr. King became a leading voice in the civil rights movement, inspiring others to get involved. Those who were against civil rights saw King as the leader of the movement and wanted to do him harm. Overall, King’s speech was a positive event because, though there were people against him who eventually assassinated him because of his beliefs, he has inspired generations of leaders and citizens to continue the fight for equal rights for all. Check-in-Ripple Effect (10 minutes): Ask students to turn to the Ripple Effect activity in their workbooks and complete it on their own. They should think of an action or choice they made and the impact (or potential impact) it had. Encourage students to pick significant decisions they made if they can think of them, but even small decisions like “I did my homework” will work for them to consider how their actions might have an impact on others and their community. If time, and if students would like, allow students to share their personal ripple effects.