Social Justice Lesson Plan (sorry apparently I didn’t post it with the tags)

Social Justice Lesson Plan

Contextual information: A picture is worth 1000 words.

Grade level: 8th

Subject: English or Social Studies

Lesson time length: 80 mins

Characteristics of the class: (multi-age or grade level, developmental level, etc.)

20 students


7 IEP/504

Social Justice Standards (Teaching Tolerance): (Check all that apply)


_X_1. Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.

_X__2. Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups.

___3. Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals.

___4. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.

_X__5. Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces.


_X__6. Students will express comfort with people who are both similar to and different from them and engage respectfully with all people.

_X__7. Students will develop language and knowledge to accurately and respectfully describe how people (including themselves) are both similar to and different from each other and others in their identity groups.

___ 8. Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.

_X__9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

___10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.


_X__11. Students will recognize stereotypes and relate to people as individuals rather than representatives of groups.

___12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

___13. Students will analyze the harmful impact of bias and injustice on the world, historically and today.

_X__14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

_X__15. Students will identify figures, groups, events and a variety of strategies and philosophies relevant to the history of social justice around the world.



_X__16. Students will express empathy when people are excluded or mistreated because of their identities and concern when they themselves experience bias.

_X__17. Students will recognize their own responsibility to stand up to exclusion, prejudice and injustice.

_X__18. Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.

_X__19. Students will make principled decisions about when and how to take a stand against bias and injustice in their everyday lives and will do so despite negative peer or group pressure.

_X__20. Students will plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective.


X Empowered learner- Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.   Computational thinker-  Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
  Digital citizen-  Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. X Creative communicator-  Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
  Knowledge constructor- Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.


X Global collaborator- Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.
X Innovative designer- Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.    

 ISTE Standards for Students (click all that apply)



Purpose/Rationale: Everyday life is filled with photos. From the news, to school textbooks, to social media we are always getting our fill of photos. Historically, there are photos that have gone down in history and have a whole story behind them. There are moments that get captured that can be hard to look at. There is hate and bias from classrooms to grocery stores.

The important thing for students is to look at a situation, try to empathize and understand the emotions of the photo, and decide other ways the situation could have been handled.


Materials and Technology Tools:

Worksheet, iPads, (costumes) if they want. Printer



Students will be able to analyze a photo for the emotions that are going on.

Students will be able to understand the history behind a photo and the time period to which it takes place.

Students will be able to create a new situation in order to replace the original.


Instructional Procedures: (please remember to integrate technology tools)

Introductory Activity: (20 mins)- We will begin by discussing emotions. Students will look through different emojis and try to guess what the emotion is. Then we will switch to photos and try to guess what the emotions are. The students will then work in a small group. One student will try to portray an emotion. Their group mates will try to guess what the emotion is and they will take turns.

Explain to students that emotions can be easy or hard to read based on body language. It is important for social situations to read an emotion and react/act accordingly. Explain the directions to the students:

They will work in a group of 4 students. They will analyze a photograph from history. They need to fill in the worksheet which asks them to try to explain the situation, explain the emotions of the people in the photo, and try to decipher what time period it is from.

Second, they need to discuss how they would change the situation. Empathize with the people in the photo and discuss how they could make it a positive experience.

Lastly, they will use their iPads to recreate the photo using their new situation. They will share the old and new photos with the class and explain.

Developing Activity: (40 mins)- We will go over an example of what their project should look like and how to go about it.


The students will discuss the emotion of this photo and how it could have been changed based on changing the behavior of the people in the photo.

The students will then break into their groups (premade) and be given their photo. They should then start their discussion. The students need to make sure they fill out their worksheet. I will have a timer on the board so they know how much time they have to have their final photo. Students will have access to clothing/ accessories they can use for their photos if they would like. They need to print out their photos when they are done.


Concluding Activity: (20 mins)- Students will come up one group at a time and explain and show their two photos.



The students will get a grade based on their worksheet and their photo. This will be a group grade.



Feedback from peers:

My peers stated that I should add in more detailed directions so that anyone could teach this lesson. I tried to add in as much as I could in order to allow the lesson to be taught by someone other than myself. Another feedback stated to include the characteristics of the class which I lacked the first time around. Also trying to find not only historical photos but photos of something local that may relate to them in order to draw them in and gain personalization in the projects.



Address the following:

  1. What did you do to insure that you had met your objectives in this lesson?

I reviewed the students’ photos and worksheets as well as gave them a grade for their work within their group. I monitored their group work by walking around and asking prompting questions in order to get the students to really think about the situation they are looking at.


  1. What were some of the strengths in the lesson?

The strengths of the lesson were truly in the communication aspect and in understanding empathy. The students needed to get their point across and collaborate with each other about a situation that may be uncomfortable. It lets them brainstorm about their own situations and how to handle them.


  1. What are some things that could be improved in this lesson?

I wish I would have found more recent photos. Most of the photos were from history and the students didn’t relate as well and I wish I would have found ones that reflected more of their current social lifestyles.

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