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Lesson Plan June 15, 2021

Better than "Normal": Amplifying Hope and Action in Our Community


This unit was created by Comfort Agboola, a 5th grade teacher at Edgar Allen Poe Elementary School  in Chicago, IL, as part of the Spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Journalism and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately six  60 minute class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives

Students will...

  • Engage in collaborative discussions about appropriate topics and texts, expressing their ideas clearly while building the ideas of their peers in a variety of group settings. 
  • Develop and strengthen writing by engaging in a recursive process that includes writing, drafting, revising editing, and publishing.
  • Comprehend, evaluate, and synthesize resources to acquire and refine knowledge from Pulitzer stories, interviews, and informational texts.

Unit Overview

The pandemic has highlighted major inequalities that existed before, in the "normal.” In the news, there is talk of a return to "normal", but for many in marginalized communities"normal" was not justice. This project outlines three areas of local and global opportunity in our community: education, racial equity, and climate change.Through investigation, students will examine multiple perspectives, ask critical questions, analyze information, and act on what they learn. Their project is not only about the end product, but also the process. 

Scope and Sequence

  • Lesson 1: Introduction to the project, community discussions, and outcomes. Vocabulary overview. It is important that students have a shared language as they talk about sensitive, underreported topics. 
  • Lesson 2: Movements and Protests. Although topics are different, movements and protests have stemmed from all (sometimes interconnected movements exist). Students can also view their project pieces (media) as protests and change agents. 
  • Lessons 3-5: Will look at the 3 main topics: Racial Equity, Education and Climate Change. Students will review Pulitzer stories with each lesson and record any new understandings that will help them research and build their own projects. 
  • Lesson 6: Student Selection: Teacher confers with students about their project topics and end product ideas. 
  • Lesson 7-8: Student project creation time provided in class and as homework

Performance Task

Students will create a print or non-print text product that highlights changes happening in their community during the pandemic.

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two cows


Bringing Stories Home

Bringing Stories Home


teal halftone illustration of a raised fist


Racial Justice

Racial Justice
teal halftone illustration of two children, one holding up a teddy bear


Children and Youth

Children and Youth
yellow halftone illustration of an elephant


Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change