This unit was created by Ruth-Terry Walden, a public high school teacher in Stamford, CT, as part of the spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Stories of Migration. It is designed for facilitation across approximately seven 75–90 minute live or virtual class periods.
For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.
Students will be able to…
- Familiarize themselves with, and identify, various terms relating to human displacement and movement (both voluntary and involuntary)
- Discuss cogently the following:
- Why various human groups migrate:
- The challenges youth face when migrating
- How migration impacts identity
- How migration influences the value students (particularly youth) place on their country of origin?
- Improve vocabulary in preparation for their reading in this unit and possible standardized assessment
- Complete several assessments designed to them understand the concept of human movement for safety and survival; contemporary geopolitical issues; youth empowerment and activism
- Demonstrate their ability to connect historical events and contemporary geopolitical crisis for deeper understanding of the global human condition
- Develop independent exploration skills as critical thinkers, readers, and writers as they progress academically.
As part of this seven-lesson unit, which is designed to be facilitated over 10-15 days, students examine several underreported global news stories of human interest that focus upon the displacement of youth worldwide. They also evaluate how this displacement fosters both individual and collective empowerment for positive social change. Students process their analysis through the creation of original videos and scripts that capture personal connections they have made to themes in the articles they explored.
Enduring Unit Understanding(s):
- Cultural memory begins at birth; place, space and time shape cultural identity. Displacement and human movement for safety and survival assumes that the resilience of children and youth in adapting to new surroundings is “an erroneous given.”
- Yet the testimonies of youth in exile demonstrate that this particular demographic faces tangible social trauma as a result of various forms of displacement and human movement.
- And it is through overcoming this cultural /social trauma that they empower themselves with agency and advocacy to find their individual and collective voices to effect positive social change.
- An individual is shaped by many experiences during the course of his/her/their life, and these experiences determine whether morality and social activism, or materialism, or a combination of both become the guiding force in their lives. Human Migration in many cases can place these dilemmas squarely in front of displaced youth and demand that they choose.
- Resistance through direct action and peaceful protest is the foundation of human liberation, as evidenced through the sustainability of global democracies.
Yearlong Essential Question:
Morality (Social Activism) vs. Materialism: How does each concept shape an individual’s path in life?
Unit-Specific Essential Questions:
- Does the American Dream exist for global youth born outside of the U.S. today and/or is the fight for global equity and gender equality actually that dream?
- How does agency (individual and collective) form identity?
- How does contemporary pop culture/American literature illustrate and reinforce that dream?
- Who are the global protest artists that provide the background music for youths’ motivations and actions?
- How does this global pop culture support the need for resistance through the reclamation of street space?
- How does human displacement foster youth empowerment and agency?
- How do the voices of youth who have been displaced from their countries of origin influence how adults make policies globally?
- What role does access to global information technology play in driving youth communication and empowerment?
Students prepare scripts for 90-second filmed reflections that capture their connections to the themes and stories explored in the unit. The script should include students’ reflections on the following questions:
- What has human movement meant to you thus far?
- What do you want the world to know about the importance of human movement? For safety, survival, identity, for uplift?
This is primarily a writing assessment, but students have the option of demonstrating their knowledge of the unit through the following modifications that engage the arts:
- Threads of Resistance: Students may prepare a protest (art) quilt on immigration and human movement. They must include a butterfly as the icon of human movement in their work.
- They may also prepare a protest art poster or visualization on immigration or human movement. Again the icon of human movement, a butterfly, must be incorporated in their finished work.
- Final projects are evaluated using this rubric.
Connecticut State Standards for ELA/ History:
Unit Standards Emphasized: Reading Informational Texts
RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text
RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text
RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
RI.11-12.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text
RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem
W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience
W.11-12.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
W.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation
W.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research
W.11-12.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.