Writing to change the world: Human and Civil Rights

What is this unit about?
This unit is designed to get students to think about problems that are occurring around the world that have to do with violence and violations of the basic rights of people. Events of this caliber go all the way back to ancient times and the building of the pyramids, and span all the way through to slavery in the U.S., the Holocaust, Darfur, Israel/Palestine conflict, problems in North Korea, and can even be connected to the current conflict in Libya., many students remain unaware of the importance of past and present events and the effects they can have on people who live even inthe farthest corners of the world. It is important for students to understand the rights and wrongs being done around the world so that they can have the opportunity tomake changes, even if they are at the smallest level.

Grades: 10-12

Unit Objectives:
-Studentswill be able to read and interpret literature in multiple genres.
- Students will be able to gather information and present it coherently to class members.
- Students will be able to assemble information in creative ways.
- Students will be able to identify issues in which human and civil rights play a role

-Picture books having to do with human rights
Including but not limited to:
Hilde and Eli: Children of the Holocaust
The Cats in Krasinski Square
Freedom's Fruit
Flowers on the wall
-Blog platform
- Students will be given the choice between 3 different blog sites for reflections. The class will hold a vote as to which one will be used for the unit.
- Wikispaces
- Weebly
- Blogspot

-Each student will have a lined notebook for journals and writing assignments. Sections will be marked according to the assignment.

Reading Activities:
In this unit I will be introducing to students the graphic novel "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, and multiple other short reading assignments.
Above: Panels from Persepolis

Throughout the class, I will be using picture books and news articles as means to further round out the students' understanding of human and civil rights.

Major Writing Assignments:

Inksheds: These will be done as a "fun" writing assignment, it is not required that they have to do with the unit, but it is encouraged. Every Friday, students will write on a small slip of paper about something that caught their attention, or interest and at the end of the class they will turn it in to the teacher. On Monday, they will be read aloud anonymously to the class. Profanity is not allowed, nor is a mean or negative comment regarding others in the classroom.

Daily Journals: These will be daily 10 minute writing exercises done at the beginning of every class. According to the reading accomplished in "Persepolis" the students will be asked a thought question on which they are to expand. They will be able to draw on their own knowledge of certain issues and knowledge that they have learned in order to fully answer the question with and develop understanding of its meaning.

Character Tea Party: In this assignment, students will be required to learn about the characters that play a significant role in the novel. Each table will be given a colored slip of paper with a name on it. Each character will be a different color. The table as a whole will be required to write a description of the character who they have been given. After the descriptions are written out, the students will then be given a sheet with a list of the names of all of the characters that are assigned in class. They will get up and begin talking to their classmates, gathering information about the characters on their lists. Once they have filled the sheet then the class will discuss what they have learned about the characters that they may not have known before the assignment.

Reaction Paper: Towards the last week of class, students will be assigned a short paper that will highlight what they have learned about the meaning of human and civil rights. They will highlight facts that they have learned throughout the unit and explain why they think those facts are important to the overall meaning of what they have learned.

Persuasive Essay: Students will be asked to argue whether or not they believe human rights are important. They will be asked to support their opinions with previous knowledge and facts from previous research. This essay is meant to be short but to the point, and help students develop their ability to write effectively by taking small steps.

Multi-Genre Project: This is the final project of the unit. It will allow students to show their creative side, while still showing their understanding of human and civil rights. The project will require that students do a bit of research of their own. They will be assigned the task of picking an event in the past or present that they believe is directly correlated with human and civil rights. Some ideas could be, The Bosnia genocide, Darfur, The Holocaust, etc... They will be required to research the topic that they have chosen and research it thoroughly. Once they have enough information on their project they will be given a handout with a rubric and expectations of the project. The project will consist of 7 different pages, each constructed using a different genre (this could be a song, story, letter home, etc...) Every page will be set apart with a repitend that will tie the whole thing together. Students will write an explanation of the way their project will be read to avoid any misinterpretations that might arise during the grading process.


Content Standards:
Standard 1.1: Understand and practice writing as a recursive process.
CE 1.1.1, CE 1.1.2, CE 1.1.4, CE 1.1.5,
Standard 1.2: Use writing, speaking, and visual expression for personal understanding and growth.
CE 1.2.1, CE 1.2.2, CE 1.2.3
Standard 1.3: Compose in speech, writing, and multimedia using content, form, voice, and style appropriate to the audience and purpose.
CE 1.3.1, CE 1.3.2, CE 1.3.4, CE 1.3.6, CE 1.3.7, CE 1.3.9
Standard 1.4: Develop and use the tools and practices of inquiry and research- generating, exploring, and refining important questions; creating a hypothesis or thesis; gathering and studying evidence; drawing conclusions; and composing a report.
CE 1.4.1, CE 1.4.2, CE 1.4.4, 1.4.7
Standard 1.5: Produce a variety of written, spoken, multigenre, and multimedia works, making conscious choices about language, form, style, and/or visual representation for each work.
CE 1.5.1, CE 1.5.2, CE 1.5.3, CE 1.5.4
Standard 2.1: Develop critical reading, thinking, and viewing strategies
CE 2.1.1, CE 2.1.3, CE 2.1.4, CE 2.1.7, CE 2.1.8,
Standard 2.3: Develop as a reader, listener, and viewer for personal, social, and political purposes, through independent and collaborative reading.
CE 2.3.1, CE 2.3.2, CE 2.3.4, CE 2.3.6
Standard 3.2: Read and respond to classic and contemporary fiction, literary nonfiction, and expository text, from a variety of genres representing many time periods and authors.
CE 3.2.1, CE 3.2.4, CE 3.2.5
Standard 3.4: Examine mass media, film, series fiction, and other texts from popular culture.
CE 3.4.1, CE 3.4.2, CE 3.4.4
Standard 4.1: Understand and use the English language effectively in a variety of contexts and settings.
CE 4.1.1, CE 4.1.4, CE 4.1.5
Standard 4.2: Understand how language variety reflects and shapes experience.
CE 4.2.1, CE 4.2.2, CE 4.2.3

Unit Outline:

WEEK 1 (Thought question- How many people do you think go without food?)

What are human rights?
Introduction- Each table will be govern a different news article that features issues concerning human and civil rights. They will then be asked to draw similarities between each article and begin thinking about what these articles mean.
KWL- Students will go through what they know, want to know, and have learned about human and civil rights.
Book is assigned- After the introduction, students will be assigned readings from the novel Persepolis. They will be given an overview of the story and asked to keep in mind events they may find important.Students will be asked to read chapters 1-3
10 minute reflection journal- Students will be asked to reflect on the lesson in their journals.

Grammar warm-up- Students eill take the first few minutes in the beginning of class to read through a short passage. They will then identify the errors in the passage. After they have completed the teacher will go over the passage with students, ensuring that they have identified the correct errors.
Reading reflection- Students will reflect on the assigned reading through blog entries, They will highlight the main events in their assigned chapters and share their thoughts. (Students will choose blog platform today)
Comic creations- Students will begin creating their own comic strips. They will be given a set of guidelines for their work, and they will be asked to create a scene in which human or civil rights play an important role. This can be a fictional story, and it can also be inspired by events that have happened throughout the world. They will be given handouts with blank panels, they can draw their characters or cut out images from magazines to make it into a collage-like project.
Comic presentation- After the students have completed their comic strips, they will present their comics to the class,explaining the main events and if they had drawn from previous events, what the event was. The students in the audience will each get an index card on which they will write three things that they liked about the presenters' comic strip.
HW: Students will read chapters 3-4

Grammar Warm-up
Reaction paper introduction
Character Tea Party
Reading Reflection
HW: Students will read chapters 5-6

Grammar Warm-up
Daily Journal
Introduce Multi-genre writing- What is it, how can we make it work?
Multi-Genre idea brainstorm- The class will collectively come up with multi-genre ideas for their funnel project.
Multi-genre mini project
HW: Students will read chapters 7-8

Grammar Warm-up
Reading reaction blog
Introduce Inksheds
Work on reaction paper draft
Turn in first inksheds
HW: Students will bring in a news article they read over the weekend about human and/or civil rights.

WEEK 2 (Thought question - How many people do you think go without shelter or basic amenities?)

Read inksheds from Friday
Article groups- Students will be handed a number 1-5, the students who have corresponding numbers will be a group. They will explain to one another where they fund their articles and what they are about.
Reflection blog
Free read
HW: Students will read chapters 9-10

Grammar Warm-up
Reading reflection blog
Work on reaction paper drafts
Group editing
HW: Students will read chapters 11-12

Grammar Warm-up
Picture book activity-Each table will receive a different picture book with a theme of human and civil rights. It will be their job to read the book and present to the class the highlighting events and tell the story so their classmates will understand it. It may help for them to read the story to the class
I am poem
Daily journal
Free Read
HW: Students will read chapters 13-14

Grammar Warm-up
Reading reflection blog
Handout outline for multi-genre projects
Begin Multi-genre brainstorming
HW: Students will read chapters 15-16

Grammar Warm-up
Turn in reaction paper drafts
Reading reflection blog
Prompt poems

HW: Students will keep a list of things they encounter over the weekend having to do with human rights.

WEEK 3 (Thought question - How many people do you think go without clean water?)

Read inksheds
Grammar Warm-up
Picture book group poems
Begin reaction paper final draft
HW: Students will read chapters 17-18

Grammar Warm-up
Reading reflection blog
picture book poem presentations
Conferences on multi-genre ideas
HW: Students will finish Persepolis

Grammar Warm-up
Peer edit final draft of reaction paper
Conferences on Multi-genre ideas
Introduce persuasive essay - students will begin working on a short five paragraph essay that answers the question "are human rights important? Why or why not. support your answer with what you know."
HW: Students will write a conclusion reflection on the blog

Final draft of reaction paper is collected
Grammar Warm-up
Class discussion - thoughts on Persepolis
Daily Journal
HW: Work on Multi-genre project

Grammar Warm-Up
Multi-genre idea share
Work on multi-genre project outlines
Group essay edit
HW: Work on Multi-genre project

WEEK 4 ( Thought question - How many people do you think face discrimination because of who they are or where they come from?)

Grammar Warm-up
Daily Journal
in-class work on Multi-genre projects

Grammar Warm-up
Multi-genre reflection on blog.
Class discussion on Multi-genre project- How did it go? what did you think?
Persuasive essay due
HW: Students will write a short essay about their thoughts on this unit.

Grammar Warm-up
Unit reflection on blog- students will address what they have learned throughout this unit.
Group discussion on projects
Begin presenting Multi-genre projects
HW: Students will come up with ideas that could be used in future classes.

Grammar Warm-up
Daily Journal
Multi-genre project presentations

Grammar warm-up
Multi-genre project presentations
HW: Students will familiarize themselves with the novel for the next unit.

Websites worth visiting:

Human Rights Watch

United Nations

Save Darfur

Cambodian Genocide Group

Arab Spring

Human Rights Campaign

Children's Rights

Wordle: Untitled

Contact info:

Emily Pannecouk-
Western Michigan University