This unit was created by Karen Sojourner, a high school English Language Arts teacher in Kansas City, MO, as part of the 2022-2023 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across six 90-minute class periods, with work outside of class.

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


Students will be able to…

  1. Recognize and define the three parts of trauma: Event, Experience, and Effect.
  2. Analyze various video and text resources to evaluate  the impact of violence and victimization on communities.
  3. Analyze the role of storytelling in supporting advocacy and healing.
  4. Interview local advocates to research strategies for healing and action in the face of harm in a community.
  5. Synthesize their learning into a guide for students their age that articulates tips for advocacy and healing in the face of harm.

Unit Overview:

Students engage with journalism, short films, local interviews, and self reflection to expand their definitions of advocacy, explore the causes and impacts of trauma, and ultimately compose a recipe book for healing.

Students start the unit by talking about advocacy and what advocacy looks like in a broad sense. Students then more closely examine what advocacy looks and feels like on a personal level through explorations of news stories and short films. They also reflect on what self-advocacy can look like while in the midst of traumatic circumstances.

Students interact with resources such as film shorts, documentaries and articles related to self advocacy and resilience. They then apply their analyses of these resources to the creation of a recipe book with tips for healing in their communities.

Essential Questions:

  1. How are communities navigating traumatic experiences and invoking community action/advocacy?
  2. What are the different emotions that emerge from loss, and what are healthy ways to engage with those emotions?   
  3. How are individuals  navigating these experiences and invoking  action/advocacy for themselves?
  4. What is the role of storytelling in supporting healing and inspiring informed action?
  5. Who is responsible for telling the story? Why does that make a difference?

Performance Task:

Students will create "trauma-informed recipe books" that will offer their own suggestions for guidelines to mitigating trauma. The suggestions will be informed by their analyses throughout the unit.


Daily lessons will be evaluated on participation and completion. The final project will be evaluated using the Design Rubric/Scoring Guide for Final Project [.pdf] [.docx]

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