This unit was created by Larue Fitch, a middle school social studies teacher in Chicago, IL, as part of the 2021-2022 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across approximately ten 45-minute minute class periods.

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


Students will…

  • Describe different types of injustices
  • Analyze issues that impact their community
  • Make connections to global communities facing injustices

Practice solution-centered skills to combat injustices

Objective 1: To provide students with a deeper understanding of race and education. 
Objective 2: To increase students’ knowledge and sense of self-worth by having an identity in our curriculum which will transfer to our global society. Students will be able to understand and comprehend material more thoroughly, considering that they are able to see themselves in the curriculum.
Objective 3: To ensure students are aware of injustices and inequalities that occur across the globe. Students will be able to become social justice advocates towards the injustices and inequalities in our global society.

Unit Overview:

The unit addresses the impact that race and education have on global society and its disparities. The premise for this unit stems from my students' multitude of questions and fears when it comes to their identity and how they are seen in America. This is fueled by the events of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, to name a few. The unit offers a range of reading tasks which students will annotate and analyze. Students will connect around the readings in Socratic Seminar. Each selected reading will enable them to reflect on how these events may impact them as a student and community member. 

This unit offers a set of higher-order thinking questions and discussion techniques that explore questions regarding race and education that include factual, conceptual, and debatable topics.

Performance Task:

Argumentative Essay: Students will craft a five to six-paragraph argumentative response to the following question: Do injustices and inequalities affecting historically marginalized communities prevent their ability to develop an authentic identity in our nation?
Students will include notes from their collaborative discussions and cite the following texts in their essay:
* Our Deepest Fear
* “AP Road Trip: Racial Tensions in America's 'Sundown Towns'” by Tim Sullivan, Noreen Nasir, and May-E Wong for Associated Press
* The 1857 Project: Extracting the Poison of Racism From America’s Soul” by William Frievogel for Gateway Journalism Review
63106 & Me” by Sylvestor Brown for The St. Louis American
* “Better Angels: For One St. Louis Family the Long Road to Social Justice Began Generations Ago” by Richard Wiley and Richard Weiss for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

This composition will demonstrate students mastery from a combination of activities conducted throughout the unit, including:
* Socratic Seminar
* Discussion and Question (DOK Level 3-4)
* Pulitzer Articles
* Notes

Resources for Teaching Argumentative Essay:
* Outline of an Argumentative Essay - Classical Pattern
* How to Write a Good Argumentative Essay: Easy Step-by-Step Guide by Malcolm Gladwell
* Argumentative Performance Task Writing Rubric (Grades 6 – 11), Smarter Balanced

Argumentative essays are graded using the following rubric: Argumentative Performance Task Writing Rubric (Grades 6 – 11), Smarter Balanced

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Racial Justice

Racial Justice