Social Justice Lesson Plan Template
Contextual information: Social Justice in Symbols
Grade level: 8th
Lesson time length: 80 Minutes
Characteristics of the class: (multi-age or grade level,
developmental level, etc.) The class is made up of 29 students, 15 girls and 14
boys. There are 5 students with IEPs and special modifications.
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.
X2. 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.
X5. 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
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
X 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.
X 10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural,
political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or
X 11. Students will recognize stereotypes and relate to
people as individuals rather than representatives of groups.
__X_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.
___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.
___20. Students will plan and carry out collective action
against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are
Empowered learner- Students
leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and
demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning
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.
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.
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
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
We see symbols every
day in all aspects of our lives. Symbols are used to convey ideas, qualities,
emotions, material objects/products, opinions and beliefs. Unfortunately,
symbols are also used to convey hate and bias. Lately, we have seen a lot of
hate symbol graffiti in public spaces and specifically the swastika, which in
most circumstances is understood as an expression of anti- Semitism. There has
reportedly been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, including the display of
swastikas on school and college campuses, sidewalks, places of worship, online,
on doors, buildings, dorm rooms, buses, school and public bathrooms, vehicles
and other places. The proliferation of other hate symbols is also of increasing
provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the importance of symbols in
our society, understand more about specific hate symbols, and identify
strategies for responding to and eliminating hate symbols.
and Technology Tools:’
will be able to analyze the history of different hate symbols by reading an
article and conducting research.
will be able to evaluate the use of hate symbols by creating their own podcast
and discuss solutions to the issue.
Procedures: (please remember to integrate
with a discussion about hate symbols- have students write down what a hate
symbol is to them and what it means. Have them then share with a partner. Then,
Show a variety of images of Symbols (positive, neutral and negative) and as you
show them—one at a time— ask students: What does this symbol mean or represent?
Elicit and define symbol as a
person or a concept that expresses, represents, stands for or suggests an idea,
quality, belief, action or material object. Explain that symbols take the form
of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other
ideas. Ask students to share other examples of visual images or symbols. As
examples are shared, explain that they can be (1) neutral like a logo for a
product or social media platform, (2) positive like an emoji or (3) negative
like a swastika. If students don’t share negative or hate symbols, ask: What
symbols of hate have you seen and/or heard about lately? Make three columns
on the board/smart board and put each of the symbols in each of the categories
as students share examples of symbols:
as many as possible and begin to focus in on the negative or hate symbols,
adding as many examples as possible. Explain to students that we are going to
focus on understanding the origins, meaning and current day usage of several
hate symbols. Explain to students that lately, we have seen a lot of hate
symbol graffiti in public spaces and specifically swastikas, which in most
circumstances are understood as an expression of anti-Semitism.? Explain
that since 1945, the swastika has served as the most significant and notorious
of hate symbols about anti-Semitism and white supremacy for most of the world
outside of Asia. Explain that we are going to discuss this hate symbol as well
1: (30 mins)
Explain that the class will be using a
“jigsaw” strategy to learn more about hate symbols. Divide students into six
small groups and explain that the jigsaw strategy provides an opportunity for
small groups of students to learn about different aspects of a topic and then
teach each other.
- To manage the jigsaw, have students
count off by 6s and assign each number one symbol from the Background
Reading on Hate Symbols to read (uploaded to Google Classroom on their
chromebooks). Allow ten minutes for them to read silently. Have students
in each group sit in groups to read their article.
Group #1: Swastika
Group #2: Burning Cross Group #3:
Confederate Flag Group #4: Noose
#5: SS Bolts
#6: Celtic Cross
- Divide students into new small
groups so that each group has someone who read a different article (i.e.
each group will have a person that read articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).
When the groups are formed, give each student 2–3 minutes to summarize
their assigned article and share information about the hate symbol they
learned about. They should address the following if it was included in
their reading or preliminary research: (1) the origin of the symbol, (2)
the group(s) targeted, and (3) how the symbol is used currently.
the small group sharing and discussion, reconvene the class and engage all
students in a class discussion by asking the following questions:
it easy or difficult to summarize the information in your article and share
new information did you learn by reading your article and hearing about other
makes each of these symbols unique? What do they all have in common?
people see these hate symbols in their everyday lives, how do you think they
feel when they see them? How do you think targeted group(s) feel when they see
do you think the impact of hate symbols are on individuals? Communities? And
society at large?
are some things we can do to prevent and stop hate symbols from being
2: (20-25 mins)
students work in their groups to create a podcast expressing how they feel
about these symbols and how they can be used. Students may conduct further
research if they wish, or as a group they can just discuss how they feel/
possible solutions for the problem. Each student must contribute in their
groups on the podcast. Each group must come up with a solution they feel can
contribute to solving this problem within their community. The podcast should
be AT LEAST 10 minutes long, and MAX of 20 mins long.
students think about a symbol they would like to create that expresses the
opposite of hate—for example: love, respect, diversity, inclusiveness or
friendship. Have students say aloud what those symbols would look like and if
time permits, give students a few minutes to draw those symbols and then share
with the class.
of Part 1 activity
from peers: (Located in Discussion) –Fix the title
to the context of the class
- What did you do to insure that you had met
your objectives in this lesson?
reviewed my objectives as I wrote each part of my lesson plan. I ensured that
my students will understand the difference between a symbol and a hate symbol,
and that my students understand where they come from. I then had my students
evaluate these symbols and what can be done in the community to prevent these
hate symbols from appearing within our community again.
- What were some of the strengths in the
I gave students a lot of leeway. I allow
students to go about their podcast freely- they can make it however they want.
I also think I scaffolded it well- presenting vital information that they will
need to form their own opinions on the topic and allowing them to talk about it
in a group setting and to brainstorm possible solutions to ending the problem.
- What are some things that could be improved
in this lesson?
If students struggle with creating a podcast,
I would include more structure- adding questions that as a group they should
discuss and answer. However, I would like to see how they do with little
structure first and more student centered.