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Post-Work and Assessment Activities
After your students have explored Be the Change: Upstanders for Human Rights, there are many possible post-work activities you might try in your classroom. Below are just a few ideas.
Post-work activity idea #1: USING THE PRINTABLE CERTIFICATE.
If students have successfully completed the journey of the website by responding to at least one question for each of the five award winners, a “certificate” icon will appear on the right hand side. Clicking on the “Print certificate with your responses” button brings up a page the student can submit as proof he/she has completed the assignment. The page lists all responses the student has submitted.
There are a variety of ways to use this printable certificate. Here are just a few ideas:
- Have students exchange their printed responses page with a partner. After taking time to read each other’s responses, students should choose one of their partner’s responses to discuss with that partner:
- What about the response do you agree with?
- How would you add to the response?
- In groups of four or five, in silence, pass your responses page to the person to the left. Everyone takes time to read through the response page and then writes one comment. It could be a response to something written or it could be an entirely new thought. Then pass the page once again to the left. Repeat until the paper returns to the original owner. After everyone has read their page, now with additional comments, have a small group discussion.
- Was there something written on someone else’s page that really sticks with you?
- Are there any of your original responses you would now like to change? Why?
Similarly, you might tape all of the certificates up on walls around your classroom. In silence, have students take a "gallery walk" around the room, reading each others' responses and writing comments. In small groups, or as a full group, come back together for a discussion of the questions listed above.
Post-work activity idea #2: RESEARCHING AND NOMINATING A "STUDENT SPOTLIGHT."
This activity helps the student look at how their peers are making a difference.
Research a student or student group who has taken action on a specific issue dealing with human rights or social justice. After viewing the Student Spotlights area of Be the Change: Upstanders for Human Rights, click on the "Nominate a Student" link. Follow the specific instructions for submitting a nomination.
Post-work activity idea #3: RESEARCHING A LOCAL UPSTANDER.
This activity helps the student look at upstanders in her own community.
- Research a local upstander; someone who has taken action on behalf of others. This person might have started an organization dealing with human rights or social justice issues. Or, he or she might simply be the type of person who reaches out to others and tries to make a difference.
- After viewing Be the Change: Upstanders for Human Rights and seeing what questions were asked of each activist, interview the local upstander with the same questions.
- As a culminating piece to the project, students could create their own web or other representation of the person. This can be modeled after the site, including a profile, bio, photos, questions, etc. Students could also present the interviews through a digital storytelling project.
Post-work activity idea #4: HIGHLIGHT YOUR OWN STORY.
This activity helps the student to see herself as an upstander.
- After viewing the site, ask the students to imagine a page of the site that highlights their own story. This could highlight what they have done so far in life or what they hope to do in their future.
Things to include:
- Develop the "scene" -- what hotspot and background images would you choose and why?
- Collect photos, list things in your toolbox, explain your favorite music, write your bio.
- Have students interview each other with their five favorite questions asked on the site.
- Create a class gallery of “activists.” This could be on poster, with technology, or in a different artistic form.
Post-work activity idea #5: ESSAY ON PARTICIPATION.
This more traditional assessment tool allows students to deeply reflect on the questions and issues raised in the website.
To evaluate students’ sense of personal agency, you might ask students to write a personal essay focused on the following questions:
Students could present their essays in writing or as a speech to the class, to the school, or to the local community.
- To what extent do you think it is important for individuals to make a difference in their community and their world? How does this relate to your own role and responsibility? To your conception of your universe of obligation?
- Have you ever felt you could not make a difference? Why? What obstacles did you think were in your way? Looking back on this situation with the knowledge you have now, what might you have done differently?
- What change do you wish to see in the world? How might you participate in making this change happen? What tools might you use?
Post-work activity idea #6: GRANT WRITING.
This activity provides students the opportunity to see "behind the curtain" of human rights organizations. It teaches that getting funding through grant writing can be a key (and often time consuming) aspect of human rights and social justice work.
Have students write a grant application asking for money on behalf of one of the activists. You may want to research and find some sample grants on the Web to show your students.
Post-work activity idea #7: WRITING A SPEECH.
- Have your students write a five-minute introduction for one of the award winners, as if they were introducing the award winner to a crowd of people.
- Or, students could write the speech they think the awardee would deliver after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. (They could use Elie Wiesel's or other Nobel Peace Prize winners' speeches as models).
Post-work activity idea #8: “HOW TO BECOME AN ACTIVIST” PAMPHLET.
Individually, or in small groups, have students write a “How To Become an Activist” pamphlet based on all the activist’s responses. Include at least one answer from each person. The pamphlet could also be “Things You Should Know Before You Begin.” ;“Upstanding: The Insider Story”; “Being the Change: Things to Know.”
Make copies of the finished pamphlets to pass out to other students in the class or school!
Post-work activity idea #9: "BAROMETER" ACTIVITY.
A “Barometer” activity encourages thoughtful consideration of your own stance on issues. It may help complicate students’ thinking about upstander behavior, and will hopefully challenge any assumption that making a difference in the world requires unique skills, personality traits, and opportunities.
- First and foremost set a contract for this activity. Reiterate your class rules about courtesy, respect for the opinions and voices of others, and call for them to be honest, but not insulting. Re-address ways to constructively disagree with one another. Require that when offering their opinion or defense of their stance, that they speak from the "I" rather than from an accusatory "You" viewpoint.
- Place "Strongly Agree" and "Strongly Disagree" signs at opposite ends of a continuum in your room. After having students reflect upon a prompt that calls for agreement or disagreement (see prompts, below), have students align themselves along the spectrum, telling them that if they stand on either extreme they are absolute in their agreement or disagreement; they may also stand anywhere in between the two extremes, depending on how much they do or do not agree with the statement. Most important, although students may feel solid in their position, they do not have to stay there if their opinion changes during the course of the activity.
Prompts you might use for this activity include:
- "Upstanders are presented with unique opportunities for participation that the rest of us do not have."
- "Anyone can be an upstander.We all have the resources to make a difference in our world."
- "It is more important for people to try to make a difference in their own community, with people most like them, than outside their community."
- "Upstanders are just like us."
- "You can only make a difference with the help of others; you can’t do it on your own."
- Once the students have lined themselves up, ask the students to explain why they have chosen to stand where they are standing. They may use whatever knowledge or emotion they have at their disposal to defend their stance. It is probably best to alternate from one end to the middle to the other end, rather than allowing too many voices from one stance to dominate. After about three or four viewpoints are heard, ask if anyone wishes to move -- either further toward the end where they were standing or toward another end or somewhere in between. Run the activity until you feel most or all voices have been heard, making sure that no one person dominates. Constantly remind students to listen fully, rather than interrupt. It may be a good idea to have someone keep order of students who wish to speak.
- Have students write a reflection in their journals about the activity. Then talk with your students about what it was like for them to stand their ground, what it was like for them to consider another opinion and base their movement across the continuum on the arguments of others.