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Resource February 3, 2022

My Place in the Movement for Change: A Unit for English Language Learners

Image created by Edith Duckett. United States, 2020.
Image created by Edith Duckett. United States, 2020.

This unit was created by Edith Duckett, an ESOL teacher at Joseph E. Soehl Middle School in Linden, NJ, as part of the fall 2020 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Arts, Journalism, and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately ten class periods. For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Essential Questions:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of communication and storytelling?
  • How do the stories we tell, the forms and methods we use to tell them, and the contexts in which we tell them influence our worldview and the worldview of others?
  • How can journalism empower and disempower people in different contexts, both global and local?
  • How do global issues connect to our lives?
  • How can art provide an opportunity for reflection and emotional connection?
  • How can you use the power of art and stories to engage people with an issue you care about?
  • What is my place in the movement for change?

Unit Overview:

This unit will utilize journalism to center the stories and voices of communities systematically neglected and currently fighting ethnocide and ecocide. The pieces of journalism selected are also intended to serve as a catalyst for reflecting on both the root causes and effects of injustice as well as how those affected can be empowered, engage in activism, and maintain a sense of agency.

Throughout the unit, students will consider both the intent behind and impact of the stories, along with the potential of journalism to either empower or disempower, as well as influence our worldview and the worldview of others. Students throughout will be encouraged to consider journalism as an art form and to consider how art, in all of its forms, can be used both to communicate important messages as well as bring about change.

Resources for Facilitating this Unit:

Click here for a PDF outlining lesson plans for this unit, including warm-ups, resources, discussion questions, and activities.

Performance Tasks:

For complete instructions for these performance task, see the full unit plan.

  1. After Day 1, students will create bar graphs and pie charts visualizing how students in their class get their news, and will write a paragraph that includes two advantages and two disadvantages of either television, social media, radio, websites, apps, or print newspapers as a news source.
    • Click here for examples of graphs and charts created by ESL students at Joseph E. Soehl Middle School in fall 2020.
    • Click here for examples of sentences expressing advantages and disadvantages of news sources written by ESL students at Joseph E. Soehl Middle School in fall 2020.
  2. After Day 2, students will write sentences making local/personal connections to news stories about injustices Indigenous people are facing in South America.
  3. After Day 3, students will write acrostic J-U-S-T-I-C-E poems related to the news stories they are exploring.
  4. After Day 4, students will draw a picture or take a photo representing tekohas, which is the place where we are what we are, and will write a paragraph explaining why that image represents tekohas to them.
  5. After Day 5, students will use comic panels to summarize/retell a news story they explored in class, and will write sentences predicting what might happen in the next section of the story.
  6. After Day 6, students will reflect on the issues of (in)justice they have discussed in class in order to create a picture of a tree. Across the trunk, students will write "injustice." Along the roots, they will write three causes of injustice. On the branches, they will write at least five effects of injustice.
  7. After Day 7, students will take a photo or draw a picture of themselves dressed as a superhero. They will select an injustice discussed in class and write a paragraph to explain who or what they will defend, and why.
  8. After Day 8, students will reflect on how visual art can be connected to empowerment and justice and will write sentences expressing their opinions.
  9. After Day 9, students will use the writing they have done throughout this unit to create a calligram in the shape of something connected to the discussions and readings from this unit.
  10. After Day 10, students will revise persausive essays about justice issues, which they have been working on in class, and will record an iMovie of themselves reading their essay aloud.


teal halftone illustration of a young indigenous person


Indigenous Rights

Indigenous Rights
yellow halftone illustration of two people standing back to back


Land Rights

Land Rights