Racial Autobiography Curriculum Unit

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Products of Our Town: Using Theory to Create Racial Identity Autobiographies and Explore Social Justice

Danaé O’Bryan EDU 6051: Race & Ethnicity 21 October 2011 Final Action Plan Assignment

Products of Our Town: Using Theory to Create Racial Identity Autobiographies and Explore Social Justice

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Contents: Introduction to the Action Plan Project Stage 1 For Project/Unit Unit Outline Sample Lesson 1 & Handout(s) Sample Lesson 2 & Handout(s) Sample Lesson 3 & Handout(s) Sample Lesson 4 & Handout(s) Culminating Performance Task Resources

Page Number 3 4 6 7 9 13 18 23 25

Products of Our Town: Using Theory to Create Racial Identity Autobiographies and Explore Social Justice

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Introduction to the Action Plan: Welcome to my action plan! This curricular approach to creating an anti-racist classroom experience was designed for four ninth grade classes at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts. The lessons attached to this action plan are anchored in the Massachusetts Common Core Curriculum Frameworks (2010). Upon first glance at the demographics of Malden High School it is easy to assume that the school has successfully integrated various racial minority and majority groups into its system (African American or Black - 22.2%, Asian - 22.7, Hispanic or Latino - 17.6%, Multi-race, Non-Hispanic - 2.7%, Native American - 0.6%, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander - 0.1%, White - 34.2%). However, there is still a lack of knowledge among students regarding their own racial identity and the experiences of others of different race and ethnic groups. In Northeastern University’s Race & Ethnicity course the idea of “colorblindness” was discussed at length as being something as powerfully ineffective as racism itself. At Malden High School students of differing racial groups sort of “coexist,” which is something I hope this action plan will begin to change through students’ awareness of racial identity development. Fortunately, the 9th grade curriculum for English Language Arts has placed a heavy emphasis on the overarching theme of identity. Students read Our America over the summer for their summer reading, and write about their own identity in an essay upon entering school this year. This allowed for a more fluid transition into the introduction of racial identity development. After studying the various racial identity development theories in Northeastern University’s Race & Ethnicity course, it seemed essential to tie the importance of racial identity into a students discovery of his or herself. I have learned that the end goal of our recognition of identity is just as important as the developmental process it took to get there. If students reflect only on who they are today, without acknowledging the events and experiences that have shaped their racial identity, they are missing the key information needed in order to create change; And that is the motivation behind exploring our past to change our future through this antiracism action plan project. This action plan is centered around the Understanding by Design model, which allows for essential questions and understanding to be thoughtfully explored while working towards an end product. The end product, or, the culminating performance task, is one that challenges students to think critically about the experiences that shaped their racial identity. In turn, the students are asked to produce a racial identity autobiography. I hope you find this action plan useful and choose to incorporate some of the lessons into your own classrooms. Enjoy!

Products of Our Town: Using Theory to Create Racial Identity Autobiographies and Explore Social Justice

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Racial Identity Development Autobiography
Stage 1

Understandings Students will understand that… Racial identity plays a role in how he/she interacts in society and become involved with his/her community Different factors, including life experiences, shape his/her racial identity

Potential Essential...
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