Me, You, Us!

Once students begin to understand their own identity (ME) and are curious about other students' identities (YOU), they can contribute to US.

Photo of Nicole Ayala
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This is a lesson that is good for students 9-12th grade.


Class can open with showing a Privilege Walk video: Students can then have an opportunity to participate in a Privilege Walk (see attachment from College Board) themselves. (I choose to have some of my classes close their eyes while participating then opening their eyes at the end for more honest responses).

Go over Discrimination Vocabulary (see attachment from College Board). Add define of micro aggressions: a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other non-dominant group that is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype.

Play OPB radio broadcast talking to High School students about micro aggressions they hear at school. /or show this video about micro aggressions 

What can students do?

This Ted Talk video by Mellody Hobson challenges students to be Color Brave vs. Color Blind.

What would you do if you saw someone being discriminated against? Show empathy vs sympathy video clip from Brene' Brown.

Show clips from ABC's What Would You Do?:
Interracial video :

Class discussion/feedback on videos and ask students what they would have done? Students can also talk or write about a time they stuck up for someone or choose to be a bystander. The class can brain storm ideas they can create a better learning environment/class/school/community.

You can end this lesson with a video about being more than just a label:

[Optional] Synthesize a little! What's one take away or insight to leave people with?

The more we know about ourselves and our ability and willingness to learn about others the more we can use our voice against discrimination in today's world. As educators we can empower our students to advocate for themselves and the causes that make them passionate. It all starts with an understanding of who we are and an empathic response to other people's experiences.

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Photo of Cathy Wolfe

So many powerful resources you've shared. What time frame would you recommend for this lesson?

Photo of Nicole Ayala

I do this lesson during the summer, 9th grade counts. It usually takes me 2, 60 minute periods.

Photo of Nicole Ayala

@Donna Teuber one of my projects that I as the Latino Student Union advisor was to create a video of students talking about their 1. How do they define themselves culturally 2. What they love about their culture 3. what his their experience as a Latino student on our campus and 4. what do they love about their school. It made an impact on a number of staff members. So I agree interviewing students would definitely add to the conversation!

Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Nicole, Thank you so much for sharing your lesson that helps students to empathize with other students and dig deep to understand the motivations of others. This is a great way to immerse students and I'm sure that it sparks some great conversations. If you have time, an interview with a student could reveal interesting insights. Check out the Hacktivities guide!

Photo of Garreth Heidt

A thorough and critical conversation you've posted here.  I like how you pose questions at the start of several of the different sections of the lesson.  Questions are so important as drivers of education...indeed, I'd posit they're the only reason we ever learn anything.  But anyway...

I'm looking at this as a doorway into larger texts and more lengthy classroom conversations (I'm a big proponent of seminar based/discussion centered education).  Ta Nehisi-Coates' Between the World and Me, Huck Finn and the issues of "The N Word"  to name just a few.  

I have a student I'll send this to, as well.  She used our Genius Hour/20 Time project space last year to  create her own dance troop focused on using dance as a medium to communicate about issues of discrimination, gender, labeling, etc that always get so twisted in the world of words.

I find this line from your synthesis most telling about the depth of what you intend:  "It all starts with an understanding of who we are and an empathic response to other people's experiences."