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Acting to Overcome Systems of Oppression

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Language Arts And English +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This collection is designed to extend students' thinking about acting to overcome systems of oppression after they read a memoir that focuses on social justice and activism. In our English program, students in 6th grade read I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousazai; in 7th grade, students read March: Book One by John Lewis; and in 8th grade, students read Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. All use the Project Zero thinking routine "Think, Feel, Care" to explore Malala's, John Lewis's, or Marjane's reaction to the system of oppression they face in their story. To engage with the thinking routine, we ask the following questions:

Think: How does the character understand the system and her/his role within it?

Feel: What is the character's emotional response to this system and her/his position within it?

Care: What are her/his values, priorities, and motivations with regard to this system? What is important to her/him?

From there, students analyze the question: How does the character act on what is important to her/him in response to this system?

We use this collection and the "Think, Feel, Care" routine to look at how others have responded to and acted against different systems of oppression. After spending time with this collection, we end with the "Circle of Action" thinking routine to help us think about the potential for our own action against systems of oppression.

This collection could be used in conjunction with any unit that focuses on social justice or activism. 

#GoGlobal

Photographic slide of the Poor People's Campaign

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Rosa Parks

National Portrait Gallery

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

National Portrait Gallery

Christopher Reeve

National Portrait Gallery

Marian Anderson

National Portrait Gallery

Fred T. Korematsu

National Portrait Gallery

Leonard Crow Dog

National Portrait Gallery

Martin Luther King, Jr.

National Portrait Gallery

The Return to Aztlan

National Portrait Gallery

Larry Kramer

National Portrait Gallery

Ellen DeGeneres

National Portrait Gallery

Circles of Action: Project Zero Global Thinking Routine

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access